I have never seen death, not in my family nor in friends. And I am terrified.
I was 1 when my dad’s eldest brother lost the battle to cancer. He was 32 and I don’t remember it or him, though it does make me sad. And every year on his death anniversary, I pay my respects by visiting my grandparents and spending the day with them. All my family gathers there, to lessen the grief my grandparents are feeling for losing their firstborn.
And that is the closest I’ve been to death.
In the last four years, my grandfather has lost 3 of his siblings. I was not very close to them, but we did meet 4 or 5 times each year. And in our family, we treat the siblings of our grandparents with just as much love and respect. One was very kind and young at heart. He would make jokes and laugh with us, and act more like a friend than a grandfather. He was the first to go. It was so sudden and so sad. But it was more heartbreaking to see my grandfather cry. Then, my grandfather’s eldest sister passed away. She was over 90, close to 100, and she was a brave woman in her youth. She was very much involved in the Pakistan Movement, and now we have her stories with us. And then, my grandfather’s only remaining brother passed away, in 2014.
I do not do well when it comes to death and losing loved ones.
a. I have never experienced it so I don’t know what to feel
b. I don’t know what to say when a friend or someone goes through this horrible time.
Just I can tell you how morbidly scared and frightened it makes me feel.
So, when my uncle called and said my grandmother isn’t feeling well and she’s asking to see us, we left immediately. We were eating dinner at that time, and all of us dropped our spoons and rushed out. It’s a good thing we live in the same block, just across the street, so we got there in a few seconds.
I was overwhelmed with emotion. Like, I didn’t know what to feel. I think I was feeling a hundred different emotions at the same time and my mind was not able to process it. I was numb and seeing my grandmother cry, it’s horrible.
My grandmother’s blood pressure was exceedingly high. And that’s because she and my grandfather had an argument. And whenever they do, my grandmother gets really worked up. But this time, she wasn’t okay.
We all stayed with her. There must have been 30 people in one room. Kids, adults. Then all the kids were told to go outside and let grandmother have some air. One of my twins brothers, Safi, and Maryam, my cousin, started crying. I hugged Safi and the second I did, I started crying, too, and kept repeating that it’ll be okay.
Anyway. After my grandmother calmed down, we all breathed a little. My uncles and Dad and my brother and male cousins all took her to the hospital. The doctor saw her and now she’s home, safe and sound. He says she’s fine and told her she shouldn’t skip her blood pressure meds.
When I came home, I really felt…. weird. A strange feeling, constantly gnawing at my heart. I just hope all my loved ones stay healthy and live a long life. I know death is inevitable. But I can never imagine a family member not being there. I can’t. And it’s terrifying.