It is currently raining. Just like it rained that night. Precipitation pitter-pattered on the pavement in tune with the beeps of the four blood pressure machines that failed to pick up a heart rate. I looked on as several nurses and doctors attempted to find ways to pick up her heart rate.
I can’t sleep. Just like how I couldn’t sleep that night. I fitfully slept in that uncomfortable chair, not leaving her side. She wasn’t the same woman I’d known throughout my life. They had to place a surface drip on her chest as they were unable to find a vein that would allow the intravenous needle to provide her with sustenance.
“Saraiya, I just want to go home. Take me home.”
Those were the last words that my grandmother uttered to me on her birthday. That was the last request that I was unable to fulfill. Early hours of that morning I left and it was raining. As the day progressed, the sun came out but my heart was heavy. Heavy as it is now as I struggle to articulate how I felt that day. Within 10 hours, I was told my grandmother had passed away at my desk. The emotions and the pretense that I had kept pent up for two years broke the levies and engulfed me in a pain I had never experienced before.
I am crying. Just like how I cried when I had to explain to my 17 year old sister over the phone that she’d finally lost her battle to cancer. Just like how I cried and my legs gave way when I saw her lifeless yet peaceful body on the hospital bed I had visited again and again on numerous occasions that year.
I know she’s gone, but I haven’t come to terms with my grandmother’s death. I haven’t mourned. At times I feel haunted, because she was such a vivacious and charismatic woman who exuded love and generosity. How can such qualities just go? Then I feel guilty because I know she was in a lot of pain. Remaining alive in the state that she was in wasn’t a mercy to her. And Allah is most merciful.
Today would have been her 65th birthday, and I find myself wondering what would be a good way to mark it. A colleague of mine said it would be great to do what she enjoyed doing. Well, my grandmother was a legendary party animal so this weekend I did just that – I had fun. But I feel her life should be celebrated every single day. Which I already do.
I looked within myself and thought: “Which of her qualities do I possess?”
I am vivacious and have a big heart.
“How can I channel these qualities into my life?”
By loving whole heartedly. Laughing until you’re gasping for much needed oxygen only to then use it to laugh some more. Rejoice in happiness – your own and others. Cry if you need to. Constructively vent your emotions. Be the good human being you were created to be. Use your skills to create a change in the world and inspire others.