This post is dedicated to the wonderful batchmates of Syed Fasihuddin who call themselves G-85 group. I am very well aware how you all have been going through a huge trauma since Fasih’s loss. Although not many have said this to me directly, but I am well aware of the relationship you all had.
Dr. Afzal Memon bhai had been with him till his last moments, talking to doctors about his management. Saadat Dr. SA Abbasi you were the first one I came to know when Fasih came to Delhi first time in 1984. He asked me to help him buy a nice Indian cotton dress for a good friend. And I took him to Connaught Place to buy one. I remember Dr. Aslam bhai, Dr. Razzak bhai and Dr. Afzal bhai for their extra efforts to come to attend our wedding to Delhi in Jan 1990. Travelling to India across the border, with all visa and NOC formalities was not an easy task. And then how Fasih ignored you guys after the shaadi.
I am extremely touched by the affection and respect I have received from Dr. Farnaz Sindhu, Dr. Saadat, Dr. Sattar Bhai, Dr. Tunio and Dr. Rukhsana Bajwa during our brief meetings and otherwise. My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Imran Sharif who donated a Pucca Well in Fasih’s memory in Thar soon after his passing despite his own health challenges. We wish him health and complete recovery.
We thank Dr. Munir Burgri, Dr. Arshad Malik, Dr. Noor Akhund, Dr. Afzal and others (Sorry I miss the names), some of who traveled in heat upto Thar to inaugurate it. I am grateful to Dr Mohammed Ali, Dr. Afzal, Dr. Razzak, Dr. Aslam Ghouri, Dr. Anjum Hashmi Dr. Nadir and others( forgive me for not knowing their names) who sponsored and celebrated 14 August at Taj exactly with the same fervor that Fasih did all the time.
I cannot thank enough Dr. Saeed Qaimkhani bhai who came to Taj from UK to do free clinics. And always made sure to visit Taj whenever in Pakistan. Ever since, you have been a great wellwisher to our family. I have tremendous respect for Fasih”s teacher and mentor Prof Idrees Khan, and you being his son in law adds more honor for us to have your support to Taj and us. I would also mention here how Fasih had been mourning the early loss of some of his very close friends like Dr. Noor in NY and would often say, “Our group-85 must work on their fitness and quality of life. I must create some fitness plan.”
I am also very aware of Dr. Nasir Sultan’s, another Pulmonologist battling for life in Texas, and how all of G-85 are standing by and praying for his recovery.I know as I attempt to fill in the big shoes that Fasih has left behind, G-85 will be a big pillar of support for Fatima, Ismail and I. Please know that Taj Consultants Clinics doirs will always welcome you, just as in Fasih’s life, and will be an honor if you will bless the place whenever you are in Karachi. Please forgive me as I have missed many names.
Ilmana, Fatima & Ismail.
Archive for September, 2020
This post is dedicated to the wonderful batchmates of Syed Fasihuddin who call themselves G-85 group. I am very well aware how you all have been going through a huge trauma since Fasih’s loss. Although not many have said this to me directly, but I am well aware of the relationship you all had.
Dear extended family & friends,
It is time to thank you all for the heavy lifting you did to support Fatima, Ismail and myself. Some of you expressed your shock, some of you said nothing as tbh there was nothing that could be said to make a difference. I also am extremely humbled that many of you, far and wide waited to read my posts on Fasih and our arduous journey post the fateful Friday 10 weeks ago.
Each time i posted, I promised myself, this will be my last. Our tragedy was ours, why should others endure it? But the love and appreciation Fatima, Ismail and I recieved gave us the license to go on and on and on.
I hope we as Fasih’s wife and children have been able to do justice to celebrate the human he was- so full of life, energy, commitment to his profession, his family, his friends, his country, his faith and to general humanity.
There is a poem by Faiz:
Ku’ch Ishaq Ki’ya Ku’ch Kaam Ki’ya.
Who Log Bohat Khush Qismat Th’ay,
Jo Ishaq Ko Kam Samujhty Th’ay,
Ya Kam Say Aashqi Karty Th’ay,
Hum Jeety Jee Masroof Ra’hay,
Kuch Ishaq Kiya Kuch Kam Kiya,
Kam Ishaq Kay Aary Aata Ra’ha,
Or Ishaq Say Kam Uljh’ta Ra’ha,
Ph’ir Aakh’er Tang Aaker Hum Nay,
Dono Ko Adhoora Cho’d Diya’.
(Translation):Loved a little, Worked a little
Those were very fortunate people,
Who considered Love an obligation,
Or they just loved their task,
I remained busy all my life,
Loved a little, worked a little,
Sometimes love was a snag in the way of my work,
While sometimes duty didn’t allow me to love with passion,
Ultimately I got upset of the situation,
And left both my love and my work incomplete.
Fasih was NOT what Faiz narrates.
Though he had plans for next 25 years when his life was brutally & abruptly interrupted by the wretched COVID, he lived and worked hard enough to see his dream turn into a reality. As if, after that, his mission was over. And he had to leave.
Fasih was not much into poetry. His one and only favourite poetry/book was: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. In many of the cards, letter or messages he sent me in past 35 years, he would quote a couple of verses from Kahlil Gibran on marriage, children, work, life, death etc.
Like when discussing about some matters of our two children, he would quote:
“You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls…”
I would joke with him, “Deewan-e- Ghalib bhi parh lou”.
He would reply, “Woh tum parh rahi ho naa, kaafi hai.”
Though he never expressed it, but I think Kahlil Gibrans progressive poetry and high standards of idealism in it, impacted him a great deal since his student life.
This piece of poetry below beautifully fits the philosophy of his life which can be summarized as three words- commitment, commitment, commitment- be it to us as family, to Pulmonology, to Pakistan or to Allah.
Procrastination, unfulfilled promises, incomplete tasks, telling lies and lack of sincerity to ones cause were Fasih’s worst triggers.
Having shared life with him for 30 years in matrimony, I wish and pray that all three of us, Fatima, Ismail and I imbibe at least a fraction of this sense of commitment in our lives and work.
Here it goes:
Do not love half lovers
Do not entertain half friends
Do not indulge in works of the half talented
Do not live half a life
and do not die a half death
If you choose silence, then be silent
When you speak, do so until you are finished
Do not silence yourself to say something
And do not speak to be silent
If you accept, then express it bluntly
Do not mask it
If you refuse then be clear about it
for an ambiguous refusal is but a weak acceptance
Do not accept half a solution
Do not believe half truths
Do not dream half a dream
Do not fantasize about half hopes
Half a drink will not quench your thirst
Half a meal will not satiate your hunger
Half the way will get you no where
Half an idea will bear you no results
Your other half is not the one you love
It is you in another time yet in the same space
It is you when you are not
Half a life is a life you didn’t live,
A word you have not said
A smile you postponed
A love you have not had
A friendship you did not know
To reach and not arrive
Work and not work
Attend only to be absent
What makes you a stranger to them closest to you
and they strangers to you
The half is a mere moment of inability
but you are able for you are not half a being
You are a whole that exists to live a life
not half a life.”
Fasih has left big shoes for us to fill in. Please keep sending your good vibes to carry on forward, the responsibilities he left for us, without procrastination and fear.
Its Friday again.
A fateful day that changed our lives forever.
Its been really tough all these past weeks for different reasons.
Past few days navigating offices have been extremely challenging. Its time for renewal of car insurance and they want your signature. I did not have the strength nor the wlll to tell the agent that you are no more.
She called me again. “Madam I have not recieved signatures from the main driver. Plase expedite or you will go past the 15 September deadline.”
I told her you are not here.
She replied, “You can courier him and he will send back.”
I asked her, “Can you transfer the insurance with myself as principle driver and remove his name?”
Her: May i ask if you are separated or divorced? In that case….
Me(I interrupted her): Ummmm….. I am sorry but he is no more. He passed away…..
Her: I am so sorry Ma’am. Why did you not tell me this. I apologize for all these arguments.
Me: Yeah, its so hard to say it out from my mouth.
Her: I understand. Now if you wish to remove his name from the insurance, you can submit a death certificate.
The next call was to Ali, our car mechanic.
“Ali bhai car mein oil change kerwana hai. Ismail gaari le ker aa jayega.”
Ali: Baji Dr. Sb abhi hain?
Mujhe pher se unko check kerana tha. Garmi mein asthma pher barh gya.
Me: Ali apko ek buri khaber deni hai. Dr. Sb chale gaye?
“Baji, kya naraz ho Dr sb se ? “
“Nahin Ali bhai Dr Sb ka inteqal.ho gya.
Baji, aap kya keh rahi ho? Woh tou jawan admi the. Itne healthy ke unko dekh ker rashq aaye. Achanak? Kya huwa?”
“Jee Ali Bhai Covid. Mareez dekh rahe the.”
“Baji pehli dafa suna hai kisi ki death COVID se. Bahut bara saneha hai. Mujhe tou kuch samajh nahin aa raha. Gaari ki fikr na karein. Aap meri behn hain.”
Are you reading it my dear Babloo? These are the kind of goosebumps inducing conversations I am dealing with these days. Do you watch over these conversations? Does it feel awkward to you?
Or do you also think like others, “God tests those who can endure it.”
Well yes I am facing it with endurane and without breaking down most of the time. But I can take no more. I want to give up.
Please tell God if He is around, that i dont need this endurance or strength that is put to such a severe test. Please request God to have mercy on me. My heart weeps when insurance, banks, mortgage all ask to “remove” your name.
Am I going to be entirely on my own now? Ofcourse you are not there, but now even your name will not accompany mine in the car insurance, bank account and other documents. What cruel game plan is this?
Please inform all your happy buddies up there that passing of a loved one is not a single event in this world. At every new step, on every new document, your demise is reenacted by “removal” from it. And your name is buried again in the papers I sign which notifies your demise.
I dread for the time when saying, “My husband is not alive” will become a normal conversation devoid of a heartwrench when spouse information is asked.
Anyways, Babloo, if you are really happy there, it will at least be worth bearing this trauma.
Stay happy, stay blessed up there.
We are figuring out how to live on our own.
Just keep sending a bit of your emotional intelligence to us.
“My son my son.” As I call him inspired by Tom & Jerry.
Ismail (visibly upset): Ammi.
Him: Did u read that email from the CA?
Me: Yes. Kya huwa?
Him: He wrote, “Dr. Fasih’s widow”.
Me: So? Him: It doesnt feel nice.
Me: Its okay. We have to face the reality.
Him: Could he not have used some other word?
Me: You mean Dr. Fasih’s friend, Dr. Fasih’s fiancee, Dr. Fasih’s wife? But I have already graduated from those statuses. See?
Me: Kya bola. Him;
Pagal hain aap.
Me: Chalo, give me a hug.
We hug each other. Hugs have been his ultimate first aid since a baby. Whenever he fell or injured himself he would run to me,
“Ammi Cho Lag gayee.”
I would kiss the “cho” area and give him a bear hug and all will heal instantly and he will run away playing.
When we got married and I came to Pakistan, I would tell Fasih in all seriousness, “You are my Pakistan.” I had always wished in my heart, and almost knew because of how fit Fasih was and how laid back I am in looking after my health, weight etc that I will die before Fasih. This was the best scenario as I could not imagine being in Pakistan without my Pakistan aka Syed Fasihuddin. I had embraced Pakistan for him. And whenever people asked me, about how I adjusted well in the cross border marriage, I gave credit to the generous heart and accommodation of my husband. I wasn’t exaggerating. It couldn’t have been possible without a carimg husband. I have seen Indian Pakistani couples, even living in a third country, fighting all their lives and ruining their domestic peace. To a couple of such families, even Fasih and I acted as intermediaries, but nothing improved and ultimately one of the family fell apart. We did fight or argue on many matters, but never ever was it on India Pakistan. Credit goes to Fasih squarely in the early days.
Later I learned to be rational and objective rather than be emotional.
A lot of credit also goes to my pragmatic father and mentor too, who was a professor of political science, international relations, in Delhi University, who drilled this into me, that politics of countries are not to be brought into personal relationships and must be looked at objectively. His dear colleague Yogesh Puri uncle can well relate to that. Because we were raised in a household where both parents were political science teachers, we siblings were raised on political science lingo. haha.
As Papa told me one of the first few words i learned as a toddler was “PhD”. And whenever a Phd scholar of Papa came home, I would say, “Papa, PhD aaya hai.” His dear colleague Yogesh Puri uncle can well relate to that.
In the last long drive as Ismail was chatty and we were talking about ‘papa’ ,
I asked Ismail:
Me: What if I had died and Papa was alive?
Him: Papa would have moved on faster than you.
Me: Stoopid. This wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear.
Ismail: I know.
Me: So why did you say that?
Him: Ammi you know Pspa was less expressive than you.
Me: That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have missed me.
Him: I never said he wouldn’t have missed you. But he would have missed all the jokes, tessing and arguments you guys had. But he would still be normal.
Me: Do you think I am not normal.
Him: Yes. You are too anxious and depressed.
To be fair to Ismail he is spot on. Fasih had far higher level of emotional intelligence than me. He wpuld never live in denial and to any setbacks he would say, “Face the reality.”
To my anticipatory worries, he would say “You worry will not stop it from happening if it has to happen. So don’t spoil your present for your future.”
His own parents had passed away and he faced their loss very gracefully. He always spoke about them in love snd positvity snd organized their death anniversaries for the entire extended family in his own home. His mother had endured a decade long illness before she died in her early sixties. I saw him cry first few days. He often talked about her patience and endurance as a home maker. He would mention often of how delicious his mothers food was especially her Murgh musallam and Fish Salan. He never compared my cooking with his mother’s like many husbands do.
After her passing he dedicated his positive energy in honoring her instead of sulking. The dream project he created in Pakistan Taj Consultants Clinics was named after her- Tajunnisa. His mother.
His father lived for almost 22 years after her. All his kids were happily married. He had remarried and Fasih stood by his father in his decision. And remained very close to his father and the new mother. He would often say, “Papa was the primary caregiver for Amma in her illness for 10 years. He gave her baths, changed her clothes, fed her himself and looked after her medications. He deserved to have his normal life again after her.”
Unfortunately Fasihs father passed away just 6 months before Taj was inaugurated in April 2015. He so wanted his Papa to inaugurate it. He cried in the public when he spoke st the inaugural speech remembering his patents.
Later to honor his father ( Dr. S M Sabihuddin), he named his own Pulmonology section as Dr. Sabih’s Chest Unit. So to be fair to Ismail once again, yes Fasih would have been a more emotionally intelligent partner that I am.
Anyways, we all have our pathways of grief.“Ofcourse I can’t be great as Papa, that’s why I am left behind to miss him.” I told Ismail.
Ismail: “Whatever….. ” and gave his signature smile.
This post is about the price one pays for being friends with ones kids. And ofcourse kids ganging up or siding with Papa against me wasn’t rare. Yesterday as Ismail and I went for a long drive, we chatted mostly about ‘Papa’ as I refer to Fasih when talking to kids. It feels like a special moment to see Ismail smile in these days and even more gratifying to see his sense of humor return back.
In all seriousness I told him, “Ismail, I am so proud of you and your sensitive comment when you told Loveen, “It is so hard to see my mother living her life without my father…. it hurts.”
I continued, “he was not just my husband he was my close friend.”
Ismail smiled a nasty smile. I knew something was coming up..
He replied, “Yeah you were his boss too.”
Me: “Kya, kya.”
Ismail, “Papa was so cool. He let you boss over him.”
Me: “Listen, thats not bossing. Thats called being equal partners.”
Him: “But you were slightly more bossy.”
Him: smiles again. I knew something was coming again… ” you miss him because you were his boss.”
“Thats lame Ismail.”
“Yes. Am your son. You also make lame jokes.”
“Listen if i was really bossy, I wouldn’t let him go to Karachi at all. Did I stop him by force? I only begged. Bosses don’t beg.”
“But in the house matters you acted as if you were the boss.”
“Ofcourse that was my department.”
Just to go into the background, this is where Ismail gets his ideas from.
He was barely 3 yrs and went to a kindergarten play group. The teacher had given some homework which Ismail began doing in the school.
Mrs. Aqeel(Ismails kindergarten teacher): Ismail keep it in the bag. You have to do it at home.
Ismail: Ammi ke ghar?
Teacher: Woh apka bhi ghar hai Ismail.
Ismail: No Aunty. Ammi Papa ko kehti hain, “Yeh mera ghar hai.”
Ismail was about 9 or 10.
Me( loudly from the kitchen): Ismail, its your turn today. Fill up the water bottles and put them in the fridge.
Ismail: Ammi. Don’t order me. I am not your husband.
With these true incidences in the background you can imagine how empowered aka bossy I was at home. Lolllz.
Fasih had told me he had idolized a female professor in his Medical College who was known by Madam Aftab. She was a strong, bold woman.
He believed, “its easier life with strong women as they do the heavy lifting in family responsibilities.”
I am sure it must be a lot more exciting and a happy place up there with so many good souls like Fasih, his friend Dr. Mahmood present there, just as how deserted and sad and lonely it feels here without them to me, Huma and others.
I have been repeatedly reassured by almost everyone of our well wishers that he is in a much better place than here. And that he must be much happier there too.
As you know God, I have written over 3 dozen letters to Fasih. I am also going through counseling and taking meds to keep myself sane and make sense of what has happened.
But I have a problem.
Fasih knew it very well, and ofcourse You know it more than anyone else, that i am a restless mind that wants definite answers. Fasih understood me more than even my own parents or anyone else. He must be also restless to send me the answers to the questions that keep popping in my mind. Some of them may be silly questions, but some are really serious.
Can you let once, just once, allow Fasih to reply to my letter?
Foremost, I want to ask him about the question that has been haunting me the most. When the ICU doctor informed us that he plans to put Faih on ventilator, did he inform him as well? What was Fasih’s reaction as a Pulmonologist who had himself incubated hundreds in his career? Did he consent bravely, as always, or did his heart miss a beat on the news? I want to know how did my Fasih face this moment emotionally?
Second, is he happier up there than here? I know and even joked with Fasih that he loved Taj more than anything else. He had turned the dream into a reality from his sweat, blood and now his life. He had plans for next 25 years? Does he not miss Taj? Has he found a much better place there than Taj?
Third, has he been united with his parents whose prayers and blessings were the reason he said he was so blessed in this world. I am sure this must be the best thing happened to him?
Fourth, Fasih was a restless soul. He could never sit idle. Help the most needy was his way of life. His patients duas he said were his biggest bank balance and he loved his profession to the utmost? Does he get to do meaningful work there? I know it will be boredom for him if he just has to while away his time in leisure.
Fifth, does he miss us? Is he really happy without us? Here his family leisure time, travelling together with family was his best source of relaxation. I promise i won’t be jealous if I know he is happier there.
Sixth, does he have pets there? He must be missing Elmo, Shakespeare, Cleopatra, Rio, Sonu snd Maaya tons, i am sure. They miss him badly too.
I promise I will be at peace after I get answers to these questions.
Please let my man just reply to me once. I love him enough to not keep him in any bondage. I will be happy to know that he is happier there and not regretting being away from.Taj, his dream and our baby and from us.
Please forgive me, I do not mean to be disrespectful of your decision God. I just want to be at peace in my heart from Fasih’s side and for my closure.
Talking today about loss of a spouse and grief counseling.
Sudden death of my Fasih came as a huge blow to all of us- Fatima, Ismail, myself and his sister and other siblings.To me personally it felt like huge blow of a fat iron rod on my head. I was stunned for first few days. I did not cry with tears, kept awake for 48 hours, wide awake without any sign of sleep, lightheaded yet alert. It was only on the 3rd day when I broke down, cried my heart out that I felt exhausted, tired and wanted to dose off into oblivion with clonazepam. Even then the mornings were another difficult ordeal, waking up dead-tired to a cruel reality.
Many people have consoled and very sincerely shared how they felt by the loss of their parent/sibling or other loved ones. No offense to anyone, but one doesnt know how does a loss of a loving spouse feels like unless one loses one. Its a very different experience. Its a loss of multiple persons at the same time, your spouse, your best friend, your companion, your confidant, your beloved, your strong pillar of support, your soft pillow to lean on, your go-to person for all your tantrums and even your punching bag.
Both my children, who were extremely shaken and grieving in their own ways, made sensible decision to go for grief counseling. I could notice that they were being helped amazingly. Although I had been recommending grief counseling to some other friends who had been in similar situation, but I realized I did not want to go for grief counseling myself. I did not want to let go my feeling of having lost Fasih.
A brief phone counseling session, that talked about new ‘independence’ put me off. WTH? It in fact destroyed me even more. I asked, “But why do you presume that my relationship with my husband was some form of bondage? He let me grow as I wanted to grow. I was an independent woman in his life too.” I begged sorry and put the phone down.
I braved my way again to go for a more culturally apporpriate, this time, and face to face instead of over the phone. It is a painfully slow process, but it teaches the techniques to phase through different stages of grief.
First major step of the counseling made me acknowledge that I have suffered a ‘major loss’ in losing a life partner. No matter how painful it felt, and how much I cried but I had to accept it.
Second was to deal with this harsh reality and begin grieving that ‘major loss’. Apparently when one does not ‘acknowledge’ the ‘major loss’ either due to denial or saying “he is in a better place” it does not help heal the partner left behind because they are not in a better situation themselves. .
Third, the counseling teaches to talk freely about your loved one. The counselor commended that I was already doing this. Though certainly not applicable to an expressive person like me, but those who grieve in a fishbowl of family and friends who are ready to judge their every move, word or expression, it can become overwhelming and the poor spouse, feeling a centre of attention, becomes guarded in their expression.
Fourth, it helps and encourages to express the emotions the grieiving spouse is currenlty experiencing due to loss, and not left out either numb or jumbled up with intense emotions. Be the way you feel without worrying what others may think of you and your expressions. Scream loudly if that helps. Sob under the pillow if that is what you want. I have gone from emotions of longing as in “Fasih, please come back”, to anger against Fasih for having ‘ditched me’ in the middle. I am relieved to learn that this is all okay.
Fifth is to overcome guilt. Guilt is a normal grief reaction. However, it doesn not mean that you are some way responsible for your spouse’s death. And I must say, the people around you leave no possibility to hold the spouse responsible somehow for the other spouse’s loss- by ommission or commission. I have heard, “If you hadn’t pushed Fasih to go to hospital, he may be alive now.” How could I being a doctor advice him NOT to go to hospital when it is indicated? Perhaps ignorance on non-medicos is bliss. And when I replied, “But I begged him to not go to Karachi at all, in this COVID spike, the answer is, “Oh but this is how his place and time of death was already written by Allah long in advance.” (Different phases of grief from shock to denial to anger to bargaining to acceptance are in different order in different individuals).
Sixth, is coping with life changes. I am currently at this stage. Ofcourse all the people around the person gone are hurt. But they ultimately go back to their daily routines. However it is the spouse left behind whose life is turned upside down, forever, and it DOES NEVER get back to the same routine. One has to learn the new routine.
Seventh: Building support system. A spouse lost is a primary support system lost forever. Its like losing your limbs. One has to get used to doing the tasks alone which you did together or divided among each other- be it child rearing, housekeeping, being a bread winner, taking major lifes decisions alone, or even just spending leisure time together. My counselor revealed that she stands in my shoes because she lost her husband suddenly almost like me 3 years ago. Her 3 kids are in school and she is the only housekeeper, only parent and only breadwinner for all of them. And I know she works from 9AM to 6PM non stop 6 days a week. Back home then she has to be both the mother and father to the 3 kids. She is backed by her parents.
Now a few tips on how to move on towards healing:
1. Set realistic goals.
2. Write a letter/journal to your spouse to tell them how you feel and what you are missing. (Well I have written about 36 so far).
3. Create a memory book
4. Art Therapy: (I am making amigurumi dolls and plan to start silk painting).
5. Read about grief- its a science and it helps you understand the process.
6. Carry on the legacy if any, your spouse has left behind. Eg. Did he support a charity or any meaningful actitivity? Ofcourse my Fasih did and I will follow on his footsteps to get solace.
7. Create remembrance rituals. InshaAllah Fasih’s birthday will be associated and celebrated with a cause close to him.
8. Pray, if that is your way to cope.
What does grief counseling not do?
Many people hesitate to go on grief counseling because they fear it will make them miss their beloved/partner lot less and they do not want to let go the feeling of loss.
1. It does not make you forget your spouse.
2. It wont allow you to bypass the pain of loss
3. It won’t change the core of who you are. ( eg. If you are a sensitive person, it wont turn you into an insensitive person).
4. It wont stop you from loving your spouse.
To some, it may feel as if after writing the long story, I have conquered my grief very boldly or bravely. It has not. It continues to be a roller coaster ride and some days are very bad, but some days are not too bad. Weekends feel like being trapped in a prison locked away from ones best friend. The compulsion of office duties are absent and the commitment to carry on household work has ceased. I clean my house, or wash the dishes only when I feel like, and leave them as they are when I do not feel like. There is no motivation to cook. I push myself to do the minimal cooking for my son. Rest he takes care of it quietly and patiently.
There is no inclination to stop coffee, despite being advised against for PATs. And coffee addiction is the only thing that makes me feel myself. So it goes on. And will go on. It makes my kids upset, but then I need some respite too.
No worries, this is a life long journey. There is no other way but to travel though it. Only time will tell how far will it take me. All I can say, family support can help in case of other losses of loved ones, but for the unique loss of a spouse, it is very helpful to take the lead of a counselor. Also, be mindful and sensitive to their grieivng spouse when you lose the first parent.
Solidarity with the grieving COVID spouses. Stay strong my dear sisters in grief: Maria Aleem JunejoRana TasneemHuma MahmoodAneela KamranShehla Shah
There is good news !
50 Women anthology( The 50 Women Project) that includes among 50 stories, the story of Syed Fasihuddin and I and our life as an Indian Pakistani couple, Fasihs passion to go back to do ‘good’ work in Pakistan and our journey of building our dream Taj Consultants Clinics without a penny of bribes and without any shortcuts, wins the 2020 Evergreen Medal for World Peace for Positive Global Change. Thank you to the author Jessica Buchleitner for including our story in the anthology as represention from Pakistan. If only Fasih was there to celebrate with us. I am sure he is watching us with happiness and contentment. Jessica writes: “My dear books, the 50 Women anthology series, are officially a 2020 Evergreen Medal for World Peace recipient in the Independent Publisher Living Now Book Awards! Honored for us all to stand beside other great recipients from previous years like #nobelprize awardee Desmond Tutu and Pro Voice warrior Aspen Baker. 50 Women anthology series chronicles world history through first-person accounts told by 50 women from 30 countries. They discuss navigating and overcoming political, cultural, and societal issues, armed conflict, gender-based violence, immigration, health afflictions, and business challenges. Congratulations to these 50 warriors of light who shared their personal stories to raise humanity and inspire! We’ve held powerful stages at the United Nations (for 9 years!), the Commonwealth Club of California, and others over the years to influence global gender equality policy. We continue to raise humanity through narratives.”
This post is directed to a few people who apparently remarked, “Fasih was lucky to have a caring and loving person like you.”
On the contrary it was me who was luckier. To be honest, sustained love can hardly be selfless and one-sided. It is a two way street. It is the mutual respect and consideration for each other that takes the relationship to higher scale of happiness. And it takes just one bad driver among the two to cause a traffic jam in this two way street. Moreover, marriage is like assembling an aeroplane during its flight, while you dont even have a user manual for it. Its no secret that we all have to work on it’s successful outcome. Personally, decision to marry across border was not easy. Such long term decisions are never made casually on a rocking chair. Fasih was a private person and hence I would not like to share much details of how it all came about and also when some in the family were very upset about it. Though later it all worked out well. Fasih came to Delh from Karachii and asked my father, “I want to talk to your daughter.”Papa knew I was confused, so he told me, whatever your decision will be, we will stand by you. But, do not misbehave with him. He has come all the way putting his self respect at stake. My only paranoia and reason to not commit was of fear of going to Pakistan, “He said this is just a fear with no basis, but if you have anything against me, then I will understand.” I honestly had nothing against him. Infact I called my Lady Hardinge Medical College Kashmiri friend Robina Mirza to meet him and after that she said, “Ilmana you must be stupid if you have doubts about him just because he is a Pakistani..”Hahahaha Robina do you remember it?.So finally I relented and Fasih promised me, “We will make our life worthwhile. There should be no doubt about it. ” And which he actually did. So it was me who was lucky to have him. And because of his tremendous confidence in me, despite all my flaws, I thought i will never let him down and give opportunity to others, “Dekha hamein pata tha yeh larki bari baddimagh hai.” Baddimagh that I was, and nowhere a meek, timid person who would just be too pati-vratta without any valid reason. Fasih had the patience and I had the will to mellow down for our own happiness. In the background, a lesson taught early in life by the most wonderful father to us siblings also came handy to me: “Be mild with the mild, shrewd with the crafty, confiding to the honest, rough to the ruffian, a thunderbolt to the liar.”Fasih was mild, so I became mild with him. He was honest, so I became confiding and caring with him Had he been ruffian, I would have ended up being a bigger one. Or worse still if he was a liar, I would have been a thunderbolt too. Indeed. #EndOfTheRant