I come from a culture rich in superstition and ancestory whorship. We honour and worship the deities and ancestors by laying out food and burning paper money on special occasions. Red is the colour of luck and prosperity. I learn most of this and all things Chinese from my mother. She is a great storyteller.
A few days ago Sheba and I stopped in for a visit with her on our walk. I shared Sheba’s anxiety attacks with her. I was wise enough not to tell her that Sheba probably absorbed them from me. She in turn told me of an episode when she was a little girl in China. She was sent out to fetch her brother for supper. It was dusk. She came across a crippled man. His appearance and the strange way he walked gave her a great fright. She ran home crying, I’m so scared! I’m so scared!
She fell quite ill with fright and could not recover. The family searched for remedies and learned that she has to get it from the man who made her ill. It was said that if she ate a certain kind of cookie the man had bit into, she would recover. My relatives went to the man but he would not cooperate. He did not understand that my mother was just a child and easily frightened. She was gravely ill. There was no disrespect. Still he was angry and not moved until he was admonished by his wife.
He followed my relatives back to their house. They gave him the cookie. He bit into it and then gave it to my mother. She ate it and was able to recover. My uncle, my mother’s older brother said she had great chi to have survived.
Her advice for Sheba is to give her something to wear to anchor her – to give her heart. So now Sheba is sporting a purple magnetic necklace I found in my jewellry box. She is less nervous but still on guard, looking over her shoulders while she eats. And someone has to stand by her while she is eating out of her bowl. It’s not like her at all. She loves to eat and needed no coaxing or guarding before. I hope she snaps out of it soon. If she could only talk! It would be a story.