Last day

I still remember it vividly, as if it were yesterday. There I was, overlooking everything in a out-of-body realm experience. The smells. The sounds. The emotions. The sunlight pouring into the room. And the serenity. Amongst all the commotion happening, everything felt peaceful. And I remember feeling tired to my soul, as if my heart and mind could tolerate no more. I called out to Him, in desperation.

“Dear God, please no more. My patience has worn thin.”

There she was, sitting next to him, for hours. Just the two of them. The scurrying of nurses coming into say goodbye told her one thing: the months of agony were close to an end.

Just a little more…just a little more.

She was parched, desperate for a tall glass of icy water to cool the lump in her throat. But as she moved for the jug just a few feet away, he grabbed her hands, his fingers magnetized to her tips. And so she sat, waiting for another nurse to walk in, asking to be of any assistance.

The room had a constant flow of people–family, nurses, doctors, friends. They came with moral support, more than anything. And to say their final goodbyes. At one point, she leaned over and whispered something in his ear. He smiled and nodded.

And then came the silence. Slowly, everyone left the room. She sat next to him, with a smile. An overwhelming sense of calm overtook her mind and she relaxed. She looked at him, and his eyes shot open. He looked up and his eyes began fluttering. She grabbed his hand and started praying, with affirmation in her voice.

La illaha illallah. (There is no one worthy of worship but Him). La illaha illallah. La illaha illallah.

And then he was gone. Gone with a small smile on his face. Gone with the name of God being the last thing he heard. Gone from the world that he was desperate to leave and into a world he longed for.

As his soul left his body, the tiredness I had felt earlier left mine. For the first time in a long time, I felt relaxed, not having to worry about the next bad news from the doctor or the potential side effects of the next round of chemo.

That day, Allah (SWT) showed me one thing. He knows how much I can handle, before reaching my breaking point. And He knows exactly when I’m about to fall. And every time, He has caught me, gently placing me back on the path that I walk.

Loving the unmarried life

I’ll admit it. I thought marriage was everything.  When I had it, I didn’t appreciate it enough. And when I no longer did, I couldn’t imagine a life unmarried.  But here I am, 2.5 years later, still unmarried but with a different mindset about it.

You see, in place of marriage,  I have so many other wonderful things. Things come to us at the right time, regardless of how we feel about their appearance. And while we wait for the one thing that we must absolutely have, other wonderful things pass us by before we realize that they are what we need in our lives.

So I just want to take a step back and really thank Allah (swt) for everything He has given me in place of marriage.

Like the whole-hearted love of my daughter.  And the ability to stay at home with my parents.  To be able to see my sister grow into the amazing woman that she is. To be able to work and go to school so that I can give Safiyah a well-deserved life. I have wonderful friends that are just as crazy about me as I am about them.

I have learned that marriage isn’t everything.  I have learned to love myself and more importantly, to love everything I have in my life right now. One day, there will be another man in my life and the last thing I want to do is regret not appreciate the unmarried life while I had the chance.

Dear friend.

Dear friend.
How I wish I could take away your pain and replace it with hugs and smiles. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through and yet, you reach out to me, telling me I inspire you. But I am nothing to be inspired by.

Dear friend.
I wish I knew the right words to say that would bring you comfort and make you forget of all the trials that you have had to face. But there’s only so much one can do from continents away.

Dear friend.
When Safi cries, I find myself annoyed at times.But then I remember you and what you have to go through for your child. And it calms me, making me realize that my daughter is a customized gift to me. The thought of not having her in my life burns my soul but yet, I can’t even imagine understanding how shattered you must feel, seeing your gift slowly slip away.

Dear friend.
I have tears rolling down my face for you. If every drop resembled a dua’a, I’d keep crying, begging for every drop to be answered.

Dear friend.
How I love you. Hang on tight to your Love for Allah(SWT). He’s testing you with this and surely, He will get you through this. Never forget that this duniya is just a dream. You’ll wake up, relieved for that you’ve had endure. Allah(SWT)’s mercy has no end.

There was a time

There was a time when I couldn’t hear too well
but then, I was blessed with the ability to do so.
There was a time when I hadn’t a child
but then, I was blessed to be called mama.
There was a time where I didn’t work
but  then, I was blessed with the energy to be a working mom.
There was a time when I hadn’t the money
but then, I was blessed with the ability to spend freely.

There was a time where I was once a wife,
but now that word has become foreign to me.
There was a time where I was once had more time
but now, the days seem to end before they even start.
There was a time where I was once able to stay at home
But then, work became a must.

And there’ll be a time, 
when I may not be a daughter.
There may be a time 
when I may not be a mom.
There may be a time
where the need to stay home
beats the need to work.
There may be a time
where money may not come so freely.
But there will always be a time
for me to be grateful for what I have at hand.

Yesterdays are bygones, 
to come no more.
The future is promised but
so unsure.
There’s no time like the present
to enjoy what I have.
For tomorrow, they may be bygones
to come no more.

Finding the perks

A while ago, I attended a wedding party, sans baby, and of course, everyone asked me about her whereabouts.

“I left her at home with my mom”, I told someone. “There are perks to being a single mom.” I was laughing when I said the last remark.

And in exchange for that light remark, I received a very confused stare. I couldn’t tell if this person was bothered by my comment or if they were trying to see if I was hiding my agony with my jokes. But I wasn’t joking and I most definitely wasn’t hiding any agony. 

Over the  past few years, I’ve come to realize that there are hidden perks behind being a single parent, especially in a South Asian household. 

I can attend a wedding and leave my daughter at home with my parents. They love to watch her and actually insist I leave her home. Or we can all attend together and I know that I won’t have to be glued to her side.

I can eat in peace, because there is always someone around for Safiyah to play with and talk to. 

When I visit NYC, I can explore the city while being 150% certain that Safiyah is perfectly dandy at her paternal grandparent’s place, even though she rarely sees them.

I can afford to pay for graduate school, all on my own, because I live with my parents. Bye bye, rent money. Hello, home-cooked meals and long showers.

And because so many people within our community have a soft spot for my daughter, there is always an abundance of babysitters. All I have to do is pick up the phone and ask. (But 99% of the time, I don’t have to, alhamdulillah.)

Here’s the thing. I didn’t choose my situation. But I can choose how I react to it. And I can choose how I handle it. Life won’t always go your way but if you learn how to make the best of things, things may become easier to handle. 

My friend and I were having lunch one day, mesmerized by how some people seem to have it all. 
But then, we realized something. There we were, two adult women, with a life full of responsibilities, sitting outside a restaurant on a Sunday, without having to worry about whether or not our kids were being taken care of. To an outsider, we may seem to be ones that have it all.

And quite honestly, we do have it all. Life is what you make of it and if you can make the best of it, then you do have it all. 

 

Closure

Closure is such an intricate thing. After 6+ years,  I think I finally achieved it today. As I sat with a good friend I just recently met, I relieved moments I had kept hidden for so long. And the tears began to flow, causing me to choke back on my words. But I continued to speak. And as I spoke, it felt like those enclosed pieces finally found their way out. I didn’t even know how powerful those pieces were until I talked about them.

6 years is a long time. I was an immature 22-year-old back when it all began. And it took 6 years to mold me into who I am today. Today, I feel like a butterfly, ready to come out of the cocoon and flutter my wings. It is such a bittersweet feeling, letting go of memories so intensely beautiful and vivid. But it has been a long time coming and I am excited to see where life will take me.

Today, I am ready to utter the words that would’ve destroyed me before. Today, I’m finally okay with letting go. Today, I can finally say…

…good-bye Rube. Loving you was so easy, baby. And letting go has been so hard. But I’m ready. I’m finally ready to let you go…

The Downside to Working

It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy working and learning how to financially stand on my own two feet, for lack of a better cliche’. It could have to do with my feminist streak but I do believe that women are more than just moms and wives–there’s so much more to them than just that. And so I try to take on a dual-role, being the breadwinner and the bread-maker.

For any mom that wants to work (without having to), think about the benefits of it. Does it outweigh the cost of leaving your kids at home? Will it make you a better person? Will it make you a more well-rounded person? And mostly, can you let go of the guilt of not being home with your children all the time? For me, work is therapy. It heals me and helps me work on characteristics, such as patience, that are hard to maintain. But there are downsides to it, as there is with almost anything.

1) By the time  I get home, I’m too tired to focus on her 100%. Alhamdulillah, I live with my parents for now and she has a lot of love around her, but as her mom, I should be doing more. I should be the one potty-training, feeding, showering and reading bedtime stories. But with school and work, time is of the essence and I have yet to learn how to manage my time. 

2) Some mornings, Safiyah asks me to stay home. “Momma”, she cries. “You don’t have to work. Stay home.”  You can’t really find an answer to this one, except “I’m sorry baby. I love you.”

3) I always dreamed of being the mom who bakes, cooks and sweeps, simultaneously. Letting go of that dream to fulfill other dreams was pretty difficult.

4) There are times when she’s sick or suffering from asthma that I have to leave her. It hurts me to my core.

5) And the hardest part is that she is okay without me. It is such a blessing that Safiyah is able to stay with anyone and be absolutely okay. A lot of moms wish that they could catch a break and I, for one, can. But it still hurts.

But in spite of all the things I just listed, the fact that Safiyah runs to the door when I come home with a smile as big as her heart soothes my soul. The fact that she calls me her best friend and tells me she loves me every day soothes my soul. And the fact that she snuggles up next to me every night and tells me to sing her “huss little baby” makes me giggle. I may miss out on a lot but there are some experiences that only a mom gets to experience. Alhamdulillah.