Yesterday I served mom a cup of hot tea. It wasn’t exactly oversweet, but it had more sugar than she usually takes.
“You’ve put too much sugar,” she told me, in between sips.
“I know,” I smiled. “Just thought today you should have a sweet cup of tea.” I didn’t tell her, but I didn’t do it intentionally. Sometimes she craves lots of sugar and sometimes she could take her tea sugarless; I just put what I thought was her preferred amount. Turns out I was wrong.
“You do know I don’t take much sugar, don’t you?” She looked at me, setting the cup back on the table.
“Yeah, I know. I don’t either.” She didn’t say anything, but she focused her gaze on me, urging me to continue. “Nowadays I don’t like my tea with too much sugar.” I didn’t believe I was the one uttering those words. It took me years back; when I was a kid, sugar was my best sin. If I had to confess to something, it would be for taking spoonfuls of sugar without mom’s permission. If I found myself alone in the kitchen, without any adult supervision, I would indulge in my forbidden pastime-eating sugar.
Once, mom and dad took my small sister for a dentist’s appointment. I was left in the house alone with my big sister. With the cats away, I decided to do what I did best in my parent’s absence; eating sugar or whatever sweet thing I could get my hands on. That Saturday I was still seated at the table having my breakfast. Without a second thought I reached for the honey jar, helping myself to a generous amount.
The next day I woke up with very painful tonsillitis. That was the last day I ate plain honey.
“People start craving sweet things when they start aging,” mom said, pulling me out of my musings. “Don’t you remember how my mom used to like sweet things?”
“I do remember.”
“She always wanted to have lots of sugar in her tea.” I looked at her. There was a forlorn look on her face; her mind had drifted off to the past; back to when her mom was still with us. It has been a few months since grams passed away and mom is still trying to come to terms with it. It hasn’t been the easiest thing for her. “I wish I’d let her take all the sugar she wanted.”
I realized she was saying that in remorse. At the time she wouldn’t let grams eat anything unhealthy, but now that she was gone, she regretted not allowing her to indulge in the things she craved, however minute; things that would have made her happy. It’s like in a way she felt that would have made grams’ life better during the time she was alive; it would have made her days pleasant.
“That wouldn’t have worked,” I comforted her, “because then she would have contracted some other illness and that would have killed her still.” She only nodded in agreement.
That short conversation gave me lots to think about. Mom felt guilty for not letting grams have the small things she desired-sugar to be precise. Now that grams was already gone, she imagined allowing her to satiate some of her cravings would have made her happier.
That’s how it is with us humans; we regret things we did/n’t do for the people we love when they aren’t with us anymore; a person realizes they could have treated their partner better when the relationship is no more…
It reminded me of one thing; to cherish those people in our lives. To remember they will not always be with us; because if we keep that in mind we will know what to do to make them happy. It may be something silly or unimportant, but whatever it is, if it makes them happy, give it to them, provided it doesn’t send them to an early grave.