Friday, June 20, 2014

A Painful Loss

As a blogger, I usually turn to writing to get things out of my system. Writing has helped me in the healing process in many of my most painful moments. But lately, l was hurting to the point that I just couldn't get myself to sit down and write. It is only now that I was finally able to write these words.

The last time my mother hugged and kissed me was a year ago, in April, at the departure terminal of Cairo International Airport. I had left the kids with my husband during the spring break, and travelled to spend quality time with my mother for a week. That was the last time I saw her standing and talking. Had I known it was going to be the last time she would kiss and hug me, I would have held on to that dear embrace for much longer.

It has been nearly four weeks since I lost my dear mother (May God have mercy on her soul). It is a very painful loss that I am still struggling with today, although I am very familiar with the pain of loosing a parent. Twenty years ago I lost my dear father to Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. My father was diagnosed in Cleveland Ohio and was told he had 4-7 years to live but he fortunately survived for 11 years. Although we knew he had a terminal illness, and suffered a lot towards the end of his life, it was nevertheless extremely painful to loose him. I was young then, and it felt like the ground I was standing on was suddenly taken away from me. My father was a strong man, yet a very affectionate and loving parent and twenty years later, it still hurts and I still miss him very much.

My mother’s loss was caused by a sudden and massive brain stroke, something I had hoped she would recover from. Friends told me stories of their parents getting their life back after a stroke and I was hoping and praying that would be the case with my mother too. It was an extremely painful and stressful three months which she spent most of in the intensive care unit of three different hospitals. She survived several operations and procedures that were necessary to save her life. I was beside my mother throughout her struggle and saw how strong she was enduring it all. With each hospital visit, I felt a drill was digging through my heart as I watched her suffer. My mother was gentle, kind hearted and a very devoted parent. I used to think I got my strength from my father, but I only realised then that I had learned all the patience and strength from her.

I prayed hard to God to have mercy on her, grant her recovery and put an end to her suffering. I had so much hope she would pull through, or perhaps I was in denial that I would loose her too. My husband and sister kept advising me to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I certainly did hope for the best, but I wasn’t able to prepare for the worst. I admit, the child in me wasn't ready to let go of the only parent I had left. As a Muslim, I accept and believe that death is the ultimate truth and that this life is just a journey and short one too, yet my heart would skip a beat, the few times when I was back home, every time my sisters called, dreading to hear the sad news. It would have been extremely devastating had I been away and got to know of my mothers loss through a long distance call, but luckily I was there by her side too when the moment came. God had answered my prayers and I got to give her the last wash, wrap her in her shroud and give her the last kiss before we prayed for her and put her to her final resting place. I was blessed and that gave me great comfort and peace.

No matter how old or young you are, there is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of a parent nor the pain that follows. It is a pain that you have to learn to live with. I pray that God has mercy on both my parents and hope my hurting eases with time...until I am reunited with them again.

"I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake, with which I'll never part.
God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart, forever and always"

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