One of the most heart wrenching realizations for me is when I start telling stories about my Mother but then cut myself short because I don’t know many of the details.
My Mother was an activist and an academic who made real strides in both the women’s movement in Pakistan and in the TESOL world. I was much too young and self-absorbed to understand the work she did or ask questions about her past.
Now, I work at a women’s rights organization and read/hear in my daily work about influential women’s activists and wish I knew enough to tell her story. Someone recently sent me an article about a new project in Pakistan that sheds lights on its feminist past. Yet again, I want to write about Mom, because she was one of the founding members of the major Women’s group that is still in existence in Pakistan.
But I can’t, because I don’t know the facts.
It fills me with sadness that those undoubtedly incredible accomplishments and likely dozens of untold stories died with her. I find myself making stories up in my head about what she must have been like, how her life was, what she enjoyed before giving birth to us.
There’s a huge part of her that I never knew and will never know and that fills me with both wonder and severe heartache.