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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…

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The problem with having an open mind…

“The problem with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and putting things in it.”
Terry Pratchett

Except for the nine years I lived in Iran, I have always lived/studied and worked in a multicultural environment. Though none were as diverse as London. Not only there are more diversity in nationalities and ethnic groups, there are more diversity in the social class within the same ethnic group. Yeah, there were loads of [enter ANY nationality here] in Kuwait, but they were more or less from a similar background…not so much so here in London. You’ll encounter the whole range of spectrum of human thoughts and ideology here.

Now, having grew up with people from various backgrounds I had thought I had seen it all. I mean when it comes to religious views, politics, philosophy, etc, I thought I had had debates from every possible angle…never thought I would hear a perceptive that would LITERALLY make my jaw drop!

So I was on a bus having a casual conversation with a fellow student. And here’s how it went:

HIM: By the way Noushin, have you been to the Natural History Museum

ME: Yeah, but not worth going more than once, the best thing about it is the building itself, the architecture is amazing, I have probably taken more than …

HIM: But I heard there are dinosaur bones there

ME: [Thinking he is a bit too old to get excited about dinosaurs] …oh, yeah there are…several in fact

HIM: So it’s real!

ME: [Wondering if is asking or just surprised]..eeeeeh, yeah! [Now wondering if I should be asking or be surprised that he is surprised]

HIM: But, but, so what Darwin said is true?

Now, a little explanation…this classmate I was talking to was …or still is…i’m a little cloudy on the details.. well, a priest. I had totally forgotten, I mean it’s not everyday one of your classmates turns out to be a priest. And I certainly didn’t want to get into a religious debate, so I said:

ME: Well, dinosaurs don’t necessary prove or disapprove Darwin theory.

HIM: But it does show that such animals existed

ME: You mean dinosaurs?

HIM: yeah

ME: [Okay does he doubt the theory of evolution or the existence of dinosaurs?] eeh, I don’t follow.

HIM: Well, how do you know that dinosaurs really did exist?

ME: You think the existence of dinosaurs is a hoax?

HIM: YES!

ME: [Trying my best not to look shock] Oh, …eeeh, well, ….eeeeh…maybe…oh, look my stop!

Honestly, as I said, I always try to keep an open mind, hey if people have theories different from mine, it’s coz of their upbringing, their experience, their religion, culture, etc…but i have NEVER thought there are people out there who think dinosaurs are a hoax.

So a couple of days later I was telling this little anecdote to another acquaintance. And here’s how it went:

ME: So the guy actually doubts the existence of dinosaurs!!

HER: Well, you know, he is right.

ME: [My jaw fell down so hard and far I still haven’t been able to close my mouth since then]..but, but, there are fossils and bones, and..

HER: But how do you know they are not fake?

ME: [jaw drops further] But why would anyone pull a hoax like this?

HER: For money. It has attracted a attention, hasn’t it. Think of all the movies, toys, exhibitions…people pay a lot to see something like that. But how do you know really know they actually existed

Yes, there are all kinds of people in this world, with all sorts of ideas, and just when you thought you had heard them all, in comes TWO people who doubt the existence of dinosaurs! …oh, and these two people were from different nationalities, religion, continent, social class, and age group.

So, did dinosaurs really exist?

No Expectations

I don’t know why for the past few days I wake up with a smile…a deep, light, sincere smile.

I don’t know why for the past few weeks all my dreams of mom are as if she never left. As if 2009 never happened.

I don’t know why my soul started decluttering without discussing it with me first.

I don’t know why my logical side no longer seeks answers.

I don’t know why I no longer feel angry; I hold no resentment against anyone; I no longer loath any thing or anyone.

I don’t know why I am calm; I am light.

I don’t know why I no longer want things, nor need things.

I don’t know why I no longer have any expectations from myself, from others, from god, from life, from destiny.

I don’t know what took over my soul; all I know is I like it.

How or why it happened, I don’t know

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

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…

.

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

To Tell or Not to Tell

To Tell or Not to Tell

It’s 3:00 am and I can’t sleep…can’t control my train of thoughts…it’s going all over the place, back in time, to the future, present…the numerous versions of the present…the numerous realities

If a fairy ever decides to grant me a wish, I would wish that the power to jinx myself be stripped away from me.

I caused it. I cause this painful reality I am in…I uttered a careless though back in March and it was granted a couple of weeks later. Damn me!!!

Back in March, I was having numbly blowing sheesha, a friend sat across the table, and I mummbled these words: 2008 was the without a doubt the best year of my life; it was a year of awakening; a year of inner voyage, inner discovery, inner love, total body, soul and mind satisfaction, it was a year of bliss, a year of so many ‘firsts’…but I feel there’s more…I have mastered the lessons nature intended, now i want to move to the next stage. When will the next stage begin?

When will the next stage begin? If I had know what the next stage is, I would have….

The next stage….the next stage began with this sentence:

“Your mom has 6 months to 1 year left to live”

That was 5 months ago.

Her doctor said it.

Only a year after we celebrated her truimpt over cancer

What went through my head at that time? Nothing…whatever thought wanted to emerged I pushed it back into darkness…couldn’t fight back the tears though…they just poured out uncontrollably…but there was no thought

The thoughts came later on

First denial—the doctor is an idiot…he doesn’t know what he is talking about…so I googled….hated the language used: incurable, average 3 years, maximum 5 years, painful treatment, etc

Tears and sobbing over took my thoughts again

I had no thoughts

My boss was the first person to talk to me. She had lost her father to cancer only a couple of months prior.

Her words were encouraging

There was hope

I shouldn’t allow negative thoughts to alter her reality

Mom’s reality is that she is fine and she will win this battle like the last one

Should I tell?

Should I tell my siblings?

NO!!

Their negative thoughts will change reality…reality is that she is NOT sick…if i tell them, she will get worse

So I didn’t tell anyone in my family.

Friends?

Only my boss and two friends knew.

And it was because of them I survived.

Did mom’s reality change?

Yes
No
Yes
No

She was in full spirit 1 day and weak for 3 days.

“They have the right to know”

That’s what a friend kept reminding me

I knew she was right…i had to tell my siblings…but I couldn’t…telling them meant…verbalizing those same words the doctor said…i couldn’t have my ears hear them again, let alone from my own tongue…I just couldn’t…call me coward, call me selfish…but i just couldn’t

They only thing I did was ask my siblings to come to Kuwait.

I needed time to heal.

But healing was slow

Healing required acceptance

Acceptance required support

I had no support

I was refusing support

I didn’t want to talk about it with my boss, or 2 friends.

Bless all 3 of them, they understood…they gave me my space…but they made sure they were there for me if i needed to talk.

It took me 2 months

And i finally talked.

I got their emotional support.

I started healing

I told my siblings what the doctor had said…without telling them when i found out of course

Now the question is: Should I tell mom?