Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Carcinogenic complexities...

I am not in practice of sharing the intimate details of my family, but today I had a tremendously different day. I called my tayyee ji (great aunt) and was welcomed with a very weak voice and she told me that she hadn't been feeling that well that morning. So I told her I would make arrangements to stop by. Right after I finished talking with her I called my chachi Gul (my aunt) and asked her what was going on. She explained to me that tayyee ji had cancer and that because of her age that she would not likely be a candidate for chemotherapy. This came to me as a complete shock. I had no idea of any such illness. I began discussing it with Inam (her son) and he pretty much told me that they keep her out of the loop as to the severity of her illness and that it's in God's hands. I was floored.

First of all, it's hard to take in that her own sons are that protective of her and won't allow her to know the condition of her conditions. Secondly, I just got to Pakistan and just meeting everyone, I don't want to lose any of them just yet. There are so many cups of chai to be had and laughs to be shared. My mother tongue is coming along and the frustration and reservations of calling people is slowly dissipating. It's only a little more time and my conversational skills will be top notch. What I'm trying to say is that it took me thirty years to have these members of my family truly enter my life. To see children grow, learn and pick up silly habits from me or just the fact that I can just go and visit cousins and aunts and uncles, oh my...

I went to the house to visit tayyee ji with the energy and mood in the house being quite sullen. It immediately hit me like a ton of bricks. Seeing her in such a fragile and weak state transported me back to my experiences with my father in the hospital. I was off with memories of illness. It was happening again. This time to a woman whom I can call my mother, she has that much motherly love in her to give and to see the love that is returned to her is astounding. Family is constantly passing through the door to pay her love and dua (prayers). It's almost as if she is the queen of the royal blood and all come to pay respect and hail to the queen.

The ride back to Islamabad is about 35 minutes and the whole way I wandered off in some other realm of thought. I was so saddened that it took me this long to find what I've been looking for and it had to be set in motion by such a series of unfortunate events. I am so much richer and wiser for it now and can't tell you how much it means to be able to physically hug and share in my family's company. Which made me realize that I talk to family here more than I do my own brothers. I've been imposed with the way in which everyone exists with family and have no other ability than to impose it upon mine now ;)

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