My mother was active in raising social issues and helped her friends in Russia in the Soviet Union era by bringing them Western clothes and food from Finland. She also made sure that her daughters knew about world-wide problems, such as social inequalities, animal farming, and the dangers of processed food and alcohol.
My mother passed away from a serious long-term illness three weeks ago. It’s very hard to put into a few words how someone who gave birth to you, raised you, and taught you your values impacted your life. A mother is a mother, always puts her children’s needs before her own, never appreciated enough, always protecting you, yet always gets blamed. My mother told me “hullu ei huomaakkaan, viisas ei virka mittään” (direct translation: “a fool won’t even notice, a wise man won’t utter a word”) when I always pointed out my flaws to her. She told me that beauty fades so it’s better to educate yourself and feed your mind with good music and books and travel the world and experience life instead of buying material things. She loved classical literature, such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and everything about Russian culture including the food and churches. So much so that she studied in Moscow and learned the language and then later on visited for holidays almost every year. Her favourite song was Pomp and Circumstance by Edward Elgar. She loved cooking, baking, and gardening. Her favourite animal of all time was a cat and she made me love cats to the moon and back.
My mother was an educated woman, believed in feminist values, yet loved traditional family values and having a long-lasting marriage with kids. Her dreams came true as she married a loving loyal Indian man and raised two educated daughters despite all the ups and downs our family went through. She loved her pregnancies under the California sun where she gave birth to both me and sister.