The Karmic Construction of a Carer

It seems I have been caring for my mother
All  –  my  –  life
Conceived and born for this express purpose

A past-life karmic pact
Lived out unconsciously until this moment
Her talisman in a strange and hostile land
Cold, grey, loveless, post-war Britain

I was her comfort blanket
Bringing warmth and distraction
– A raison d’être –

When memories of tropical homeland
Her privileged comfortable life
Her first-born left behind
Threatened to overwhelm with dark despair

As a young child…
Dressed and groomed for the Caribbean
Hair in tight bunches
Tied with broad, bright satin ribbons

Skin polished with olive oil
Clothes bright and stylish
Arriving in parcels smelling of moth balls
Sunshine and exotic places

In this way I also served my mother
Preserving echoes of a familiar and safe life…

And as I grew…
She relived aspects of her abandoned life
Her mothering like small foot prints
Laid down inside of those
Now faded but perfectly preserved

Groomed for caring…

Kept close by –  “where is Joan?”
A familiar oft heard refrain
No friends – mother didn’t know the provenance
Of those I begged to be allowed to play with

Errands run to shops with notes
Requesting intimate items
Disguised in brown paper bags
Or wrapped in newspaper

And later in adolescence…
First one in from school
Paraffin heaters to fill and light in winter
Tables to be laid for tea
Rooms needing tidying

Post ‘A’ levels…
A brief escape
A year in Switzerland as au pair
An opportunity to hone my caring skills
But in reality to expose their flaws and holes

How I have struggled with my karmic inheritance!

Like a rock in turbulent waters
I have been shaped by the ebb and flow
Of caring

Officially recognised by the state for this role
Still caring for my mother
Paying my karmic dues
Wondering what comes next
Once the debt has been paid in full with love…