Friday, January 15, 2010

Reality Check

So here I was thinking I had my life completely set and in order. Knowing exactly where I want to go and what I want to do with my life.

Until today.

I have family friend, 'Aunty' we call her, known her for about ten years. You know the usual, Salam, Duaa, how are you's and meeting up at family friend davwats/get-togethers. Totally normal. Until cancer struck her.

It's been a year now, year and a half, I really don't know. It's been on and off, she's been gone to pakistan a few times for some herbal remedy and I hear from my parents she's doing well. Had a function of our own on Dec.24th - she was there. Yes, she was weak and slightly pale, but other than that you couldn't tell she had this devastating disease.

The next week things got worse. She was taken to the hospital and after fifteen days she returned home a few days back. Mum said she was still ill, but was doing better.

Next thing you know, the day later, she's rushed back to the hospital - serious condition.

I prayed full hearted-ly and I believe she will be cured. InshaAllah

Today, being Friday, mum and dad planned to go to the hospital again. The aunty's kids and my sisters are very good friends (the kids are aged about 11(girl), 9 (boy) and 7 (girl)). They were over at our place so after Isha Namaz (around 8:30pm) we all headed to East York Hospital.

I hadn't seen Aunty in ages, so I was quite eagar to visit her. Mum told me she was asking about me and my sisters when she had been home, so it was a nice feeling.

We (mum, me, sisters, and aunty's kids - dad had went to go park the car and would be coming up later) made our way up the elevator, the halls were quite deserted as most visitors had left. We walked past the waiting area where Uncle (aunty's husband) and some of his friends were sitting.

We turned and then entered the room of where Aunty was laying. There were a few other ladies there by her bed.

I was petrified.

She was always a thin woman, but laying on that bed, her lips trembling, her eyes barely opened - was unbareable to see.
And to add to that, when her daughters went up to her bedside, "Assalamoalaikum Mama", she tired to open her eyes and tired to reply to the salam. And that shattered me.

I ran out of the room, and stood outside it. My tears were uncontrollable and I couldn't get Aunty's face out of head. It was a clear, vivid image.

Rafu came out to comfort me, I sent her back in; Mum came out, told me that aunty was acutally a lot better than yesterday, handed me a tissue and asked me to come back in after telling me that I shouldn't cry because then aunty's kids will get worried. I wiped my tears and went back in.. though I stood near the door, my mum and sisters around me.

I continued to watch as Shanin and Ayesha (Aunty's two daughers) spoke to their mum. It was quite the emotional moment, but I kept the water works closed .. until mum says to me, "aisay raho gi to doctor kaisay bano gi?" (how are you going to become a doctor like this?) ..And I welled up again - because I was thinking of the same thing.

I rushed to the other side of the hall.. started pacing, because I just couldn't help but cry. Then one of the ladies (also a family friend) came up to, held me and said, "you have to be strong, shanin and aaysha look up to you, if you cry, so will they". I nodded, and then ran to the other corridor.. where thank GOD I found daddy sitting there talking to another uncle.

I ran to him and put my head on his arm. He consoled me, telling me that it's good that I'm crying and it's good that I came here to see her because it just gives you a new appreciation of life. He told me how once when he was in University he say saw a small girl getting stitches and he couldn't bare it(thus he didn't pursue a career as a doctor). After sitting with him for a while, I went to take a walk.

I walked the halls of those patient rooms - peeking into the rooms of the patients. I thought to myself, "do I really want to be in this sort of my enviroment for the rest of my life?" I thought to myself, if I really wanted to become a doctor and deal with people this way. I thought, yes. As long as it was someone who didn't have sentimental values for me. I continued to pace the halls, and basically evalulated my life. Part of wanted to pursue medicine, to find cures and treatments. Part of me wanted to become a doctor so I could make treatments myself. Because at that moment, I felt so sad and so helpless. All I could do was pray.

I went to go back and sit in the waiting area. Daddy came and sat next to me. He told me not to worry and that everything will be okay. He told me that aunty was doing a lot better than before. He said, "the doctor had said she may not even survive the night, that's why they brought her to the closest hospital, but look, she's better today than yesterday". This again got to me, and thus began the infamous water works.. and then I heard aaysha coming with one of my sisters so I told daddy not to let them follow me and I made my way to the hallways I'd paced for about 20 times now.

After a while I just stood there, alone, thinking about everyone in my life and how'd they react if I were on a hospital bed (God forbid). Then I heard someone crying, I turned to my right and say Uncle bringing his daughter to the washroom. Then it hit me.

My tears, my saddness was nothing. Nothing at all.
Here was this woman's husband and child. I couldn't even begin to imagine what they were going through. Yeah I know aunty, but she's their wife and mother. I stopped crying then. Because it hit me, that there was uncle, who had to be strong for not only kids, but also his wife.

After a while I went back to the waiting room. The older daughter came there a while later and said to me, "you're eyes are not as red anymore..it's so funny you cried because you saw my mom".
I didn't know what to say, "I have allergies," I lied lamely and changed the topic.

After a while, we were all getting ready to leave, I wanted to go see aunty again, but I knew I wouldn't be able to. Shanin, the older daugher says later, "haha see you didn't see my mom, 'cause you'd start crying".. I really don't know how to interpret that remark, I really don't.

We got home about an hour ago. Daddy also made a similar remark as mum about how in world I would be able to become a doctor. His exacts were something like, "ghalti se hufsa doctor banbhi gai, to kya hoga" (if by mistake hufsa becomes a doctor, what'll happen?). It was light humor, I laughed.

I'm glad I went to the hospital. I had a lot of time on my own to think things through. Evalute myself and where I am at this point in my life (Dear God, I sound like I'm 30 or 40!).

Life really is so precious. And I can't stress enough, how important it is to enjoy it and be greatful for what you have, and most importantly, who you have. Live, Laugh, Love.. is a slogan of something I don't know what - but it's true.

All I can say now, if you're reading this, please pray for aunty.