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…and just like that, 2 years have passed

Dear Mom,

It was two years ago today; two years.

Two years since you took you last breath…though, you had bid your farewell 4 days prior to that. You knew you only had four days left; the last time you were able to clearly communicate, you told us…individually..we weren’t allowed all in the room…you said your goodbyes…but I didn’t say it back…I still believed you will win this battle again…till two days after that day…it was two years and two days ago it dawned on me you are not going to win this time…how did I know? Well, one thing you learn after living in a cancer ward for 9 months is when someone’s soul is about to leave..it’s in their eyes mostly…and their hands…cold hands…hollow eyes…I came in your room, I knew you felt my presence but didn’t open you eyes, I took your hands to massage it…they were cold, i dropped your hands, I opened you eyes…it was empty…that’s when I knew, you had two days…I phoned Afshin and Arash, and told them..two days! That’s how long it took…two days…and you knew…you had told us so.

 

I still have the last piece of writing you wrote on that 4th day;

I still have your mobile;

I still have the shoes you wore when we transfered you from Kuwait’s hospital to Iran

I still have the slippers you wore in the hospital

…and I still have those little spiral blue notebooks you bought 2 dozens of because you loved writing down notes

 

The only thing I haven’t been able to touch in the past two years, is the last note you wrote

I will, soon…the thing is, everytime I think I am ready, I …

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Dad and sisters called today…they had just come from visiting you…I haven’t been since we last bid farewell…to me you are not there…you are not…you can’t be…

Happy Birthday Mom :D

Dear Mom,

It’s been 332 days since your body no longer joins us in our outings.

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People say you are not really gone…that your ‘real’ self is still with me…your soul is real…and it’s here…BUT…on this day…just on this day…i wish your body was here too…I just ache for a hug…just one more hug

 

Happy Re-Birthday Mom

 

Knowing you, you are probably celebrating in ______ by gathering everyone around and making them dance to an Indian song 😀 😀 😀 😀

 

Tavalode-dobarat Mobarak,

Noushin

Smell of Ramadan

Dear Mom,

I can’t believe how I never realized how much of my world was colored in by you. 262 days have passed since you have left and since then colors seem to have faded from my world. I refused to acknowledge Nowrooz this year but that was understandable since I still in a confused state—only 116 days had passed since your departure when Nowrooz arrived. But my birthday was going to be different; I was determined to celebrate my it with you. I went to the same restaurant you took me to last year. Remember when you had arranged for permission to leave the hospital for 4 hours. You told the doctor it was your daughter’s birthday and you had no intention of celebrating it in the hospital. You were in your wheelchair and all dressed up by the time I got to the hospital.

…But what am I doing? I was going to talk about Ramadan. … though I’m not sure what Ramadan? This is not Ramadan. Not the Ramadan I am used; I’m used to your Ramadan. Your Ramadan is:

  1. Hearing you wake up Shahram for sahary
  2. Hearing Iranian radio doa during sahary
  3. Coming home 2 hours before iftar and seeing you watching Kuwaiti dramas
  4. Hearing you summarize the episode even though the summary usually took longer to tell than the actual episode itself 😀
  5. Seeing you get all teary eyed and emotional over the dramas
  6. Seeing you laugh with all your heart over the Kuwaiti comedies and translating each line for me 🙂
  7. Seeing you warm up milk just before iftar
  8. The dates, cheese, walnuts, sabzy (parsely and other green vegetables) and freshly baked bread
  9. Getting all of us non-fasting people to breakfast with Shahram so he won’t feel lonely J
  10. Seeing the colorful table you had set for dinner even though only two people usual fasted during Ramadan
  11. Setting with you and watching Iranian dramas together
  12. Laughing and crying together over the storylines

Now I come home and I hear no sound of Kuwaiti drama from behind the door. I turn the key, come in and stare at the silent dark tv screen. No color. I look at the dinning table. No sabzy, no walnut, no warm milk. No color. No sound of doa during Sahar. No color. Watching Iranian dramas but no crying. No color. Watching Iranian comedies but not laughing. No color.

Ramadan has no color without you.

UPDATE: (21st Aug)

1. I saw cream caramel yesterday in the supermarket. That’s another smell of Ramadan I will never feel again–the smell of freshly made cream carmel for iftar

A year ago

Dear Mom,

Last week was the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing away. I clearly remember the day I found out. You told me. You were in the hospital. It always amazed me how you always knew what was going on in our world. I was out, with access to the internet, radio, newspaper and I hadn’t heard the breaking news. You were hospitalized and had heard.

These past few days had been tough for me. Memories of last year keep hunting me. It was in June that your doctor told me for the first time that you had six months to one year left…and I choose to have high hopes, I choose to prove him wrong, I choose to believe in miracles, I choose to alter reality, I choose to push back negative thoughts….but you knew, didn’t you?

I just came home from a long walk on the beach. Was talking to you. I had a lot to tell you…not about cancer or my regrets, or my loneliness, no, we talked like we have always talked. I updated you on the world cup, teased you on England being outed, told you about this great new restaurant we should try, job offers, leaving Kuwait,  Shahrukh Khan’s latest film, sale at Home Center, politics, and at one stage I heard you laugh out loud.

That’s when I realized, this is what I miss–just hanging out with you.

So, I’m gonna quit…I’m gonna quit all posts on reminiscing on where I went wrong on your treatment, on being mad at your doctors, on needing to know WHY you,…I’ll never find my answers.

Instead, we’ll just hang out like we used to.

Day 210

Dear Mom,

210 days since you’ve been gone,

210 days since my source of blessing is gone

210 days since NOTHING good has happened to me

210 days since everything I touch turns to dust

210 days since I haven’t heard a single good piece of news

210 days since I keep tripping over at every step I take

210 days since anything good has happened to me

Mom, I had no idea that you were my good luck charm…

I am trying to get my life back together; but without you, I keep failing at everything I try to do

Day 159

Dear Mom,

Well mom, I got your message. I resigned.

Azi wants me to go to Tehran. I am not sure I would. You know how much I despise Tehran right now…it was the city that ‘took’ you.

But I guess I must eventually face it…I have to relive the scenes of heading towards Kuwait airport, of escorting you while they took you out of the ambulance and into the plane on a stretcher, of getting your oxygen capsule prepared for you on the plane, of landing in Tehran airport, of getting you on a stretcher and onto the ambulance, of heading straight into the city and hospital. Remember how when Roya apologized for not bringing flowers you smiled and said, “No need, you yourself are a flower.”?

I guess Azi is right…I have to go back to Tehran…I would never find my peace till I do come to terms with it.

sigh

I wasn’t sure I would go till I started writing this to you…thanks for helping me decide…again

I’ll come

I’ll re-live those scenes once more

Day 156

Hi Mom,

It’s been 156 days since your departure. I’ve finally found a way to deal with my new reality. I Talk…i talk to you…like we used to…I went shopping last week…first time I walked into our favorite shop…but you didn’t like anything I picked so I didn’t get anything…usually you would go and get me something off a rack somewhere I didn’t even notice and say, here try this…and I would…and it would be perfect…I waited for you to do the same this time…

Yeah, I know you are mad at me for the other day…hehehe…I sometimes do things on purpose just to hear you scream at me like old days…remember how the first you always do when you get into my car is check the gas gauge to see if i need to refuel or not…well I let it go empty on purpose, just to hear you scream at me again 😀 😀 :D…and would you believe it…I actually DID hear you again….it worked

By the mom, I found that Essa Health Store in Salmiya finally…

And don’t worry, we are taking good care of your car; though I myself am not ready to sit in it, but I make sure Shahram switches it on every once in a while so the batteries don’t die. The insurance needs renewing though

Hey, don’t worry about Shahram; I am taking good care of him, I know, I know, I always did complain that you’re spoiling him rotten but I was wrong…he’s your little baby but proving to be a strong man

Mom, I need your advice…work related…I am not happy at work…remember the last thing we talked about your last night in Kuwait? Well, same issue…this time I think it was the last straw…what should I do?

Oh, am really sorry for not putting up your picture any where in the house yet…am still not ready…but I am getting there

Love you,

Noushin

WHY???

Dear Mom,

This is the first time I talk to you directly since you…well…I am not even sure what to call your departure…first time I had to inform Afshin, I said you had gone to be with God…first time I informed my work in Kuwait, I said, you had found your eternal peace… First time I had to inform anyone…was Azi and Nazy…they had came running outside and were starring at me, mouth open…I just plainly said, “You are gone.”

Are you? Gone?

Why?

Why are you gone?

It was all a mistake. It shouldn’t have had happened. Somewhere something went wrong…I am sure it wasn’t your time…why did you have to…have to go?

It’s been 96 days as of today….I am not sure which stage I am at now…the anger is still with me, the denial, the pain, the whys, the illusions, the joking around with friends hoping my laughter  wud change reality…I go through all the stages in the same day…every day…everyday for the past 96 days

The only constant question I have is…why?

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Why did I refuse to believe the doctors when they told me you have 6 to 1 year left back in July?

If I had believed them, maybe you would have…

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Why didn’t I encourage you more to stick to your green diet?

If I had maybe you would have been cured

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Why did I change the topic every time you wanted to talk about the end?

If I hadn’t, maybe you would have gotten a lot of things off your chest…maybe that would have cured you.

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Why did I not believe the doctors when they told me in October that you had already outlived their expectation?

If I had, maybe I could have…

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Why did I have so much hope?

If I had accepted reality maybe I would have said all the things I c

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Why did I take you out on that chilly night?

If I hadn’t, maybe you wouldn’t have caught that cold, which made you spectrum worse.

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Why did I take you to Tehran?

If I hadn’t, maybe the doctors here could have tried a different treatment.

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Why did I give you that glass of water?

I f I hadn’t maybe you cough wouldn’t have gotten worse.

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I am so sorry mom…there were a million things I could have done differently and any one of those could have altered your departure.

I ran into that colleague of mine yesterday whose mom was in the same room as you. Remember? He asked me how you were doing. My heart literally shrunk sending out a succession of pain throughout my whole being…and again my only thought was why.

He too was surprised. He said he thought you were doing well. And I smiled…and I said, yes you were…you were laughing a lot…I took you out in your wheelchair…the one you had the nurse, the one with the neat handwriting, write your name on it…remember how we ran into one of your doctors one day at True Value…you wanted me to wheel you over to him…I said, let him have his privacy, he’s out with his family, but you were determined…you rolled yourself over to him and proudly announced, “See, doctor, I am all well. I am out”…that was precisely 3 weeks before your departure….WHY????

I hate it when people say you have found your eternal peace…mom you were a fighter…you wanted your peace right here…

Sexy Crazy Cancer

“I’ll never say cancer is a gift because I’ll never give it to you. But cancer can be a catalyst, a teacher”-Kris Carr

A cursed blessing…that’s what my boss called it…called cancer.

I…now…agree with her…it is a curse…and a blessing.

I know in my last posts I kept saying that the reality I choose to believe in was that mom was not sick. That’s what I keep repeating into her ears over and over again.

When she says, “I am so tired I can’t even move leg.”

I say, “So what? Everyone feels that way once in a while. You will feel fine tomorrow.”

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When she says, “She over heard the doctor saying her disease is incurable.”

I say, “Incurable means it is always going to be there. It doesn’t mean it’s fatal.”

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When she says, “She knows she won’t ever be able to walk again.”

I say, “So what? Wheelchairs are fun!”

I said it, but I acted it, and she believe me, she felt it…but I didn’t.

As soon as I left the hospital room, tears poured down. I guess deep down I didn’t believe my own words. The words and thoughts of the articles I kept reading online were more powerful. Deep down that was the reality I was beginning to accept…that’s why I kept taking mental pictures of my mom…I was afraid I won’t get any more chances.

Thankfully Reza (friend/reader) entered my life.

I always believe every single person who enters your life does so for a reason–they are God sent. He messaged me, he talked about his own personal experience, he answered my question, and he introduced me to Kris Carr and her Documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer”

It’s about a witty, vibrant, intelligent thirty something actress living in New York who documents her attitude towards coming to terms with cancer over a course of 3 years…till she can start to call herself a survivor.

Here’s a trailer to the documentary:

Here’s a segment when she appeared on Oprah:

Here’s her giving tips on Crazy Sexy Cancer:

and of course her website and links to her video and books: http://www.crazysexycancer.com

and my favorite quotes from her documentary:

“Cancer wasn’t killing me, it was pushing me to live”

“Maybe my lesson was about patience and acceptance. If I could learn to make peace with my disease, even if it didn’t go away, then i could do anything.”

“Like Alice in Cancerland, I felt like I was falling down a New Age rabbit hole.”

“I’ll never say cancer is a gift because I’ll never give it to you. But cancer can be a catalyst, a teacher”

“When there are no answers, you have to find your own”

“Life is messy and brilliant, gorgeous and staggering, sexy and crazy…just like cancer.

Thank you Reza