“The word Kaur means strength to me. In truth, I didn’t realize the power of this name until I started to draw connections in my life, especially with my mother.
In my opinion, being a Kaur is no different than being a Singh. We are just as, if not stronger, than our male counterparts. I don’t think there is anything that can stop a Kaur from life. We have this immense fire in our hearts and that is what drives us, especially during challenging times. I would say being Kaur has an element of sacrifice, especially to ourselves because of the greater good. Sikh women have sacrificed a lot for our communities. Kaurs are more compassionate, I just think we have a few extra ounces of compassion
My mom was born in India and because she was the eldest of seven daughters, she was treated no different than a boy. My grandfather, put all his eggs into one basket, with my mother. She was the hope of the family and she was sent to school.
Growing up first generation Canadian and having an older brother and sister, I was lucky to have my brother open up many doors for me. He was the only son, so automatically he was perceived as a golden child, but he used his place in life to open doors for me and ensure I had experiences that didn’t make me feel trapped.
My mom was a well known field hockey player in Punjab. She sacrificed all that to marry my dad and move to Canada. Things were unsettled growing up, it was a rough childhood because of challenges adjusting to Canada, alcohol, and abuse.
My mom endured the abuse for the sake of her children and would say God helps those who help themselves. She worked two jobs and she took my siblings and I to sporting activities. She would encourage us, cheer from the sidelines and take steps to create connections with other kid’s parents. I followed my mom’s footsteps with sports and attained top records in discus, hammer throw and played varsity volleyball. Until recently, I didn’t realize she was probably thinking of her own past from the sidelines, seeing herself in me, all her hopes, dreams and everything she gave up for us.
I had a hard time in high school, but I was able to turn it around. After high school ended, I visited India for six months. This is where I understood the restrictions on women. I had to be accompanied by a male everywhere I went. My cousin and I connected, he guided me every where I went. I in turn, taught him about being a female in Canada. We went to religious places like Gurudwaras and that helped me to connect with myself and who I was in this world.
Ten years ago, my mom passed away from cancer. I was with her when she had her last breath.
Its been a decade of mourning, that I think will never get easier. My siblings and I have felt lost. I was in limbo for a long time.The first two years, I couldn’t even speak about it.
I became the glue that helped to put back everyone and keep the family connected on some level. Now as the time has gone by, I don’t tear up as easily having a conversation about my mom.
On my 33rd birthday, last September, I decided to host a charity. My mom had never cut her hair, until she had chemotherapy. I am a hairdresser by trade, so I decided to shave my head. The event raised $11,000 and funds were given to three different charities focused on women and cancer.
The event made me feel connected to her. The biggest honour of the event was after shaving my hair, people started to connect my features with my mom’s features. I was told I looked like her when she was my age. That was the biggest compliment ever! My goal in life is to be like her, even 10% of her goodness. She was able to put little dents in peoples hearts. She made them feel and made them better people.
There are lots of moment you don’t notice at the time, but now they mean everything. I still cry and that is okay too. Being emotional does not make you weak. I am human and I can feel these things. There is no shame in seeking professionals for help. People, my clients, and extended family helped ease the pain.
Who will be at my funeral? That’s a question I pose to myself. Did I do enough? That’s another one. Will I too be surrounded by people I’ve made an impact upon? What memories will they have of me? Life is short. Don’t waste days. Like her, I want to carry everyone with me.”