Posts Tagged Parents

Wassalam

I have decided that I will not post anymore after this last post. I have kept myself busy this week after returning to work on Monday to an extremely supportive co-workers, with the hope that slowly life will be back to a normal. A new normal that is, a normal without mom. It can’t ever be the same normal, where I could smell her, poke my nose play fully in her face and watch her laugh. I can’t ever touch her again or hear her call me to come sit with her.  I was craving something sweet and went to raid the fridge.  I saw apple sauce and without thinking took a cup out. Just when I got the spoon, it hit me that during the last stages, we used to crush pills and give it to mom with apple sauce, a trick hospital nurse showed us.  Couple of cups had remained. I miss her.  Small things make us miss her more, whether its visiting the Chinese resturant and eating walnut shrimp or making carne asada tacos.

Mom passed away early morning on Monday, November 28th, 2011. We were all with her, when she gasped for last breath and her soul left. The breathing rate had been slowing down a lot and there was no pulse for about an hour before that. She started to have gaps in her breathing which kept on getting bigger and finally, it stopped.  Papa checked her heart with his stethoscope which she was still breathing with gaps but there was no beat. After, her last breath, I checked it. There was silence, a loud silence. Islamically,  the body is to be buried as soon as possible. Since, we had already planned things, we were able to do the burial same day, later in the afternoon. Mariam, my sister and few other relatives  gave mom her final bath. We prayed over her body, the final prayer of burial at the local mosque before proceeding to the cemetery. I got down in the grave along with my brother and two other close relatives to lay the body down. I was the last one out.  I made her slant a bit to her right, so that she would face Kaaba in Mecca. She was buried without a coffin, wrapped in white sheets. When I was moving mud around her body, my hand touched her face and could feel her nose. That was the last time I touched my mother. Soon afterwards, she was under piles of mud, on her way to eternity. After, her washing, I saw her at the mortuary and she looked as if she was smiling , a slight smile, peaceful face and at ease. Its been a while since, we saw her without pain.

The support from our friends and family was over whelming. I can’t imagine anything better. Many of mine and Mariam’s friends dropped everything, took the day off work and came over to be  by our side. They took care of kids, made arrangements for “A’zza” or the reception for people to meet family and give condolence. The numerous hugs and words of encouragement, teary eyes of these macho friends of mine, it all just over took us. One of my best friends dad saw me at the Masjid, gave me a hug and started crying. I had to console him! I met mothers of four of my closest friends, all of them crying. These people whom I am not related to by blood were crying for my pain. They were crying because they are related to me by faith and by humanity.  We do not know how to repay them.

And Thank you all for your support and for sharing our journey.

Many of those who called from all over the world could not believe that mom was no more. They broke into tears and some just cried and hung up. The couldn’t talk. Baji was gone. Who would go around in the middle cold nights with blankets and give out to the people sleeping in the cold on the streets of our home town in India,, who would stop us from killing even a bee, Who is going to make sure, the baby of the girl who lives near our house gets milk, who is going to teach the neighborhood girls. The list goes on and the void gets bigger.

If I was asked to summarize mom’s legacy, it would most certainly be of charity and simplicity. She lived a simple life with minimal needs and wishes. What she had, was for others, she would always be giving. To help was her nature, it would melt her heart to see someone suffer. We have gotten quite a few emails from people who have benefited from this blog. Her disease, her pain became a tool for her to help others. She lives on in our hearts and hearts of many for reasons we would never know. She is her legacy, even in death.

So long  Amma… Inshallah will see you in Jannah.

Wassalam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu
(May Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be on you)

 

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Eid

It was Eid Al Adha few weeks ago. Eid is one of the two major Islamic holidays. On the last Eid, though mom was sick, she was still able to come to the prayers and actually had a great time. We dressed her up and she loved the visitors. This time, she was on her bed, as usual. I told her its Eid and she smiled, which is rare. I was sitting in her room, just staring at her. She looked at me and said, “whats wrong? you  look little down”. I was down, it was Eid and mom has always been the host. She would make her special sweets and breakfast. Our neighbors and family would come over for breakfast. It would just be awesome. Not this time. Tears rolled down my cheek and I looked away from her, so she can’t see me cry, and I said “nothing, I am good”. She said ” I know everything”, tearing up.

I have never written this and I don’t really know why.But every time I pass by mom’s room, I look at her and check if her diaphragm is moving to make sure she is still breathing. We all do it..

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New Posts

We haven’t really been updating the blog lately and have been asked by many of you why? I have been thinking about the question and couldn’t really  pinpoint to the reason. We woke up early today, well really early as my sister-in-law and her kids were going back to Canada on an early flight. When she was getting in the car, she would come back soon to see mom, without Inshallah. She then commented, I don’t even want to say Inshallah, because she is in so much pain.

That’s when it hit me. We have come to a point in our and mom’s life that it has turned to nothing but a waiting game. Mom has stopped eating properly,maybe  couple of morsels here and there,  drinking few tea spoons of water, wants people around her all the time, is seeing relatives who have passed away, and we were recently told by the nurse that her right side has gotten weaker, she can barely lift her right arm, and her face is a bit more lopsided. It seems she had another stroke.

We don’t expect her to last much longer. Let me rephrase and this might seem very insensitive, I don’t think we want her to last much longer.

To clarify, it is not because we are tired of taking care of her. As on of the comments posted said, this might be the blessing in disguise because of the reward and the chance to serve her. Its sure is hard and tough on mom but make no mistake, we would give everything to have her with us. But we would not be selfish and wish for her prolonged life, if she is to be the way she is.  As Muslims, it is not for us to ever wish death, because of a core belief, that Allah never burdens a soul more than it can bear. To wish death would be losing this core concept. And that is out of question.  We only pray that what is best for mom should happen and may her life and afterlife be easy.

Islamic belief of Almighty God (Allah in arabic) is that , Allah is All Knowing, All Wise and perfectly Just. Thus, we leave it to Allah as Allah is the Owner of All that exists and all that doesn’t exist; and just carry on with our duties with the belief that Allah knows and does what’s best.

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The prick of a thorn….

The neurologist called yesterday. Mummy’s MRI report came back. He said there is no sign of any new strokes, just the previous stroke that she had some time earlier this year. He also said her brain is shrinking.

So at this point, we’re not sure why she has deteriorated all of a sudden. Stroke is ruled out. What else can it be? We have no clue.

Mummy has been getting depressed lately. She’ll cry every once in a while about how bad her health is.

Yesterday, after eating lunch, she cried because she said no one cares for her or feeds her. I asked her if she wanted real food, or if she wanted ice cream. In between whimpers she let me know she wanted ice cream. As soon as I gave her some vanilla ice cream (her favorite), she got up and ate it enthusiastically. She calmed down after that.

Her pain complaints have gone back up as well. She is complaining of pain everywhere. Her joints and her muscles ache. Papa tried explaining there’s not much we can do about it. A Tylenol or an Advil, maybe, but that’s about it. He tried telling her that this comes with the territory of growing old. Obviously, Mummy didn’t understand. Rationale and logic aren’t the best ways of solving her problems. Sometimes she just needs verbal reassurance that everything will be alright.

Explaining to her WHY she’s having pain won’t stop her from complaining about her pain. Showing her that you’re doing something about it, even if it’s pretend, for example, rubbing lotion on the place of pain, or giving her a multi-vitamin and saying that it is knee medication usually works.

As Muslims, we believe that the difficulties, sadness, hurt, and pain that happens to us cleanses us of our sins. In a hadith (teachings said or done by the Prophet, peace be upon him) the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Bukhari]

Applying this to Mummy’s situation, we can understand that Mummy’s sins are basically being washed away because of this disease that has befallen her.

The test isn’t on her, it’s on us. This disease might lead her to paradise, but will it lead us to paradise? If we lose our patience one day, or get angry the next day, or even worse, question Our Lord’s Will by saying, “Why me?” will that lead us to paradise?

Our test is whether or not we keep our patience, remain calm, rational, and focused on the bigger picture. It can be extremely easy to lose patience with a person with dementia/Alzheimer’s. Things that they have OCD about can drive any sane person to the brink of insanity.

But how we react under pressure is the ultimate test of character. It’s not about how we appear in public or in front of others, or how outsiders view us. It’s about how our character shines through when faced with difficulties within our home, with our families. It’s about how we treat our weak, our sick, and our old when it’s just us, no outside people looking.

Patience may be the LAST thing we want to practice. But patience is what will save us in the Hereafter. It would be very unfortunate to put all this effort into being a caregiver for a disabled person, only to have this be the reason of our demise in the Hereafter. If we’re going to put all this effort, we must make sure that these deeds will be accepted, and that we do things right.

Patience is needed in abundant form. Even if you are annoyed, irritable, or angry, it is the ultimate test of your character when you can project an aura of calm despite of  the emotions going on inside of you. As hard is it is to care for a person with this disease, as a Muslim, the true test of faith is whether or not we keep our eyes focused on the Hereafter, with our hearts remembering Allah and fearing Him.

To all people dealing with dementia/Alzheimer’s: What might seem like a calamity that has come upon you, could be a blessing in disguise, or it could be the one thing that brings down Allah’s disfavor upon you. This could be the one deed that tips the scales on the Day of Judgement, either for better, or for worse.

It is a decision that we make with our actions.

The real question is: How will our actions (i.e. our family) speak for us on the Day of Reckoning?

I guess we’ll find out then…

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Eid Mubarak!

I hope you guys enjoyed Mariam’s last post. She is becoming quite a writer, so I have taken a back seat. She has much clearer idea of what goes on in Mummy’s head and of all of us (I, Papa and Mariam) she can interpret what Mummy is trying to communicate best.

Well Eid Mubarak! Yesterday was Eid which literally means Feast and it basically one of the two major religious holiday of Muslims. This Eid is called Eid- Al Fitr which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims go to prayers in the morning, usually followed by as the name suggests lots of eating and meetings and greetings.  You can check out some Eid pictures here on Huffington post.

In one of her earlier posts, Mariam had a wishful thinking that maybe just maybe we would be able to taking Mummy to Eid prayers. Well guess what.. We did! And it was absolutely fantastic.Mummy changed into her fancy dress and loved going out and seeing all these people dressed up, kids running with donuts, girls in colorful clothing, everyone happy. Many of our friends came and met mummy lots of hugs and kisses for her. It was just fabulous. We got back home and Papa made with a lot of effort his signature kabob. They were delicious. We had family over which she always enjoys. Lots of food and laughter in the house. Things were “normal” this Eid.

I moved out of my parents house back in 1997 to go study in New Delhi( India’s capital city) and then moved to Los Angeles in ’99. In 2006, I did Eid with my parents after 9 years in Toronto, CA. That was very special. This Eid was similar to 2006, but had a bitter after taste. Mummy was fine in 2006 or that’s what we thought. Life was easier and Toronto was cold!

Mummy kept saying after everybody had left later in the evening how much fun she had on Eid. But then came the time to sleep. She did not sleep. She was up till 5:30 Am this morning when Papa woke up and took over the charge and I went to catch sleep for couple of hours before work. When I left for work ( a bit late) at 11 Am she had been up for more than 24 hours.  This was after she had taken all her medicine which include quite a bit of sedatives and tranquilizers. Not a good sign and certainly not good for her.

I just talked to her neurologist and it turns out that one of the medicines she took has caffeine in it and she is hyper sensitive to caffeine, even in small amount.  Lets hope that she runs out of her caffeine high from the medicine that she took yesterday morning by the end of today and gets a good night sleep tonight.

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