Today, as we celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa and my family celebrates our eldest daughter Savannah’s 22nd birthday, this guest post is a touching tribute to sisterhood, the value of relationships and love in its purest forms. It was a great reminder to me about simply accepting life for what it is. About living in the moment and to appreciate that my daughters are much braver than I could have hoped for.
Talisa my second daughter wrote an essay for a school assessment. Yesterday when she received her score she was thrilled and as soon as I arrived home from work, she asked me to read it. I was blown away. Not only by my daughter’s writing but by the depth of her content and her bravery to share an emotional and personal story.
For Women’s Day 2018, I honour my daughters by sharing their story as written by Talisa Pillay: I Can Only Imagine.
“My worst fear is to be trapped. To be stuck with no way of escaping. To know that no matter how many times I try to break down the walls, I just end up being pushed down again: like an unwanted toy, shoved into the darkness of a cupboard. When my voice becomes one with the stale air around me.
My sullen thoughts are suddenly interrupted by a strange sound. I frown, creating creases on my forehead, as I try to riddle out where exactly the sound is coming from. I stride over to my window to hear if the sound is coming from outside. As I gaze out onto the brown, lifeless grass; I realise that the strange sound is music. It is not coming from outside but from the room next door.
A wide grin stretches across my face like the sun’s bright rays on the earth. I close my eyes and let the jumble of music dance in my ears and sail through my memories. It starts off with Whitney Houston’s ” My love is your love”, jumps to “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift, slides to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and ends with a bang to “Desi Girl” a beloved Bollywood song.
I’m smiling now because not only do I know all the songs from the top of my head, but I also know who is playing the songs and why. Sometimes when words fail her, music is the only way of expressing her most inner, intimate feelings. Music is entwined with her soul. Marvelous isn’t she? My older sister Savannah, my Savannah. That’s who she is.
As I open my eyes back to reality, I turn to my ancient wooden desk and see my forgotten cup of tea begging to be drunk. I let my black leather chair engulf me as I sip my now iced tea. There is a bouquet of soft white, purple and pink flowers that I catch myself staring at as though I might spot an ant on the dainty petals.
Savannah picked them out for me. She’s honestly the most humble, thoughtful human on this wide wide planet. In all fairness she shouldn’t have to be. Do you know why? Because although she has a smile that will melt ice and a laugh that will drive away your misery and a brave, precious, enduring soul; she also has a body that works against her. Yes, she is a person with complex disabilities.
Please don’t pity her or shower with bland, meaningless “You are such an angel” or “You are a special girl” but pity us people who get so annoyed for not being able to understand her slurred speech when it’s not her fault. And through all of this she still loves unconditionally and gives when we don’t deserve it.
She is the real warrior in this upside down world. I don’t know how she does it and I guess I never will. As the last drop of tea knocks against my lips, all I know is that…..I can only imagine.”
Posted with the permission of Talisa Pillay and Savannah Pillay
Happy Women’s Day to WOMEN everywhere!