To those who didn't know my Mother or her courageous story:
First, I want to make it clear that there are no words to describe the feeling of losing a mother. I wish that no one experiences that, but unfortunately, it's in our everyday lives. My Mother even lost her mother in 2003 to cancer, and witnessing my Mother's mourning was unbearable. Especially when my Mother just spent the summer visiting and aiding her in Beirut, Lebanon and she passed when my Ma arrives in Canada..... Imagine finding that out, half way around the world.....
My Mother was diagnosed with cancer in her liver in the spring of 2006. She had 3/4 of her liver removed where the cancer was. The doctors gave her 3 months, and my Mother just cussed them saying "Fuck That!" (Ha! How she proved them wrong!!) That same summer, my father divorced her. My brother, sister and Ma moved from Oakville to Mississauga. My Mother continued being a strong, beautiful mother to us. No matter how sick she was.
In 2007, my family moves to Windsor and I stayed in Mississauga. My Mother's cancer spread to her bladder and colon so she had to begin Chemotherapy. This woman used to drive EVERY week from Windsor to Toronto to do Chemo at the Princess Margaret Hospital!! What cancer patient do YOU know that does that! AND she still had time to drop by my place, make me some of that Home Cooked meal that only your Ma can make. Mmmmmm!
She continued that for years. Even in the winter of 2009, my Ma stayed over for the holidays at my place. My brother had been living with me for about 2 months at the time. This woman wouldn't let us be adults! She would be up before us, breakfast at hand, and a kiss to wish us a good day at work :-) Even when we went out for dinner, my Ma would wear MY clothes and rock it better than me! FYI: sick or not, my Ma was a classic case called M.I.L.F.
In February 2010, my Ma finished her chemotherapy. The doctors suggested she does stronger doses, but she wasn't for it. A month later, her cancer spread to her intestines and stomach. She had began to go through a lot of pains and changes. She couldn't keep food down that she withered to skin and bones. It was a very scary experience for my siblings and I, but we had such strong hope for her regardless. She pulled herself together by June that she was able to eat and walk again.
Seeing how my Ma had a near death scare earlier, she didn't wan to take chances so she booked a vacation to Amman, Jordan in August. Shortly after she arrived, she got sick again. That she had to be hospitalized. My family kept it from my siblings and I to keep us from freaking out. We find out by end of August so we all fly out to be with her by first of September.
Upon arrival, we come to find out the cancer spread in all her orgins and there was water in her lungs. They said she barely had hours to days before she would go into coma and pass. The news was unbearable for us. My brother, sister and I spent morning to midnight everyday by my Ma's bedside. Each of us helped her, bathed her, ran her errands, anything we could. The whole family were there and surrounding Mama with love and care. We all even experienced dreams and always questions things together about my Ma's sickness, like "Are the doctor's really right? Will she pull through? What's gonna happen next?" One of my Aunt's even mentioned to us one day that she had a dream: she was with my Ma at the hospital. My Ma asks her to take her to the next room to see their mom. She does so and as she is arriving to their mother's room, their mom says to to my aunt "Not now, I'm not even done cooking for Amal yet!". So they turn around. We never understood what the dream meant. Maybe heaven isn't ready to take her yet? But then, I remembered that Muslims believed that a day of life in Heaven is much more longer than a day of life on earth...
Half way through September, it was time for my kid sister to fly back to Canada to start school. She took it hard, seeing it was such a gamble as to if my Ma would be strong enough to survive a flight back home to Canada. By the end of September, it was my turn to leave, and it too was unbearable. But my Ma kept reassuring me that she's coming back home. She believe her words so strongly that deep in my heart I knew it was true. Once I got back to Canada, I moved to Windsor by first of October to be with my kid sis and to prepare for when its time for my Ma to come home. I left my life, friends and work because family always comes first. Especially Mothers.
After being in the hospital for about 48 days, my Ma was discharged from their hospital!!!! She calls me and her voice was full of life again. Oh how I missed that. She was drinking coffee, smoking, having a ball again.
Thursday, October 14, it was time for my Ma and brother to come home. I could go on and on with the funny little stories they told me about their flight back. My Ma, being the smoker that she is - NOTE: There was no point in telling my Ma "Stop smoking it's bad for your health", she would just snap back sarcastically and say "And what? It's gonna give me cancer?" HAHAHAHA! Anyways, so being the smoker that my Ma is, she tells the security AFTER he tells her they're boarding people, that she wants a cigarette before the flight! The security kept insisting there wasn't time, but somehow my Ma convinces the man to push her wheelchair to Duty Free so she can buy cartons of cigarettes! This little sick lady doesn't grab 1 carton, not 2, but THREE! Talk about pushing her limits. :-) Even when she finally arrives, she makes it to the driveway, gets my brother to call me outside, as she's lighting up a cigarette, she calmly tells me "Call me an ambulance".
No panic, my Ma knows what she wanted! She just went to emergency, got her pain killers and nausea meds and just asked to be discharged within the hour! We took her home and she was sound asleep to restore her health. Friday rolls around and we finally got to spend some time with our Ma. She was quite the trooper. Although, by Saturday she continued to puke, so again, while calmly lighting up her cigarette, she asks me to call an ambulance for her. She had quite the sense of humour. Even while we were waiting for the ambulance, her stomach was growling so loud that it sounded like machine guns; as my Ma motions her hands like guns shooting at us to the rhythm of her tummy. We had quite a laugh there. :-D
Mama gets admitted to the hospital on Saturday, October 16. Same day, my husband Emad arrives to be with my family. Even when My Ma saw him Sunday morning, she was ecstatic! For the record, my Mother had known Emad years before I met him and always adored him like her own son. My brother Bilal, sister Omaima, Emad and I all took turns taking care of my Ma. We all spent as much time with her just as my sibling and I did in Jordan. We even took turns sleeping over at the hospital. My Ma even convinced us to sneak her out so she can have a cigarette by Monday! She tells the nurse to remove her IV because she felt like "walking around". He does so and as he walks out of the room, my Ma shoots a look at us and say "Bring me the wheel chair!"... We wheeled that lady to the smoking pit of the hospital and shared a cigarette with her. If you're sitting there reading this and thinking "MALAK! WHAT WERE YOU GUYS THINKING!"... Um, Note: you NEVER say no to a cancer patient. If the person wants to shoot up, you let him/her be! Just kidding, but you get my drift.
I have to say, my Ma fought long and hard for days, but it was obvious that my Mother system was beginning to give in. She beginning to be more drowsy than usual, and even daydream. She had said strange things that reminded me of the dream my Aunt had told me in Jordan (for example; she asked me if I brought the onions, when are the guests arriving, etc). By Wednesday, she slowly slipped into a coma... That created a scare for each of us. We had to speak consistently to her because even though she was responding, her hearing was 100%. We continued to pray by her bedside. By afternoon, my brother needed to take a nap at home and relax before he comes back to the hospital. That way Emad, Omaima and I had our time to keep Mom company. I called Emad's sister Delia and asked her and my Mother in Law to come visit my mother immediately. I felt having more people around her would give her more of a reason to live and pull through this. After confirming with them, I tell my Ma softly that Delia (whom is my Mother's best friend as well) and my Mother-in-Law were on their way! I even put the phone to my Ma's ear for her to hear Delia :-)
By 11pm that night, my sister was tired and needed sleep to be refreshed for school the next day. Emad and I decide to take her home and planned to pick up my brother directly after to come back to the hospital. We ask the nurse to keep an eye on our Mother. Ten minutes after we left, we receive a call from the nurse that her breathing had changed. We immediately notify my brother to be ready outside and turn back around to the hospital. Once we arrive, the nurse notified us that they had a scare but she's back to par. Omaima, Bilal, Emad and I stick by her bedside. I call Delia to find out where she was by midnight, and she tells me she's at the boarder. I tell her to just come straight to the hospital and I immediately let my Ma know that they're almost here. They arrive and we spent time talking to my Ma, letting her listen to everything. 1am rolls around, and it's time to arrange who should go home and who should stay. Delia tells my Ma that she's going to take my sister home so she can sleep for school tomorrow and that she'll see her tomorrow. We decide that Emad, Bilal and I stay behind with my Ma.
At the time, Bilal and I were sitting and either side of my Ma. I look behind me at Delia and look back at my Ma and notice her mouth had closed. I ask my brother when did she close her mouth, yet I received no answer. I quickly turn to Delia to ask her something and just as I finish my sentence, my brother walks behind me saying "Mom stopped breathing"... Like a natural reflex, I instantly ran to the nurses and told them to check on my Ma. We all race back to the room and I see my Ma so still..... Each one of us looking at her, the nurse check her heart, looks at us and says "I'm sorry, she's gone...".....
Hearing those words literally froze and crashed my world all at once... I found my self crying and falling to the floor as Emad held on to me to keep me rom falling completely. I look up and see my sister just walked in the room with tears in her eyes saying "Mom's dead!?" and she runs out of the room. I manage to gain the strength to run after her through the halls crying to hug her... the whole world was spinning so fast that even when the next minute I couldn't believe it. I ran back to the room to see my Ma and just cried by her. I hugged her and kissed her and just didn't want to believe it was true. I walk out of the room and found my self crying in Emads arms under we were born crouched on the floor balling... From a distance I heard footsteps coming towards us, closer and closer. Last I look up and see a cancer patient fall to her knees with her arms wide open and hug us saying comforting words... The whole experience... it was 5 minutes that felt like hours. I felt a part of me died with my Mother.
We arrive home; Delia, her daughter Adonia, Omaima, Bilal and I, by close to 3am. We knew this was just the beginning, for in Muslim tradition, they bury the dead within 24 hours from the passing. We had to find where to bury her, where to hold the funerl, etc. Also, traditionally, they wash the body and wrap it in 100% cotton before burial. I fell asleep by 8am and was up by 10am to head to the Mosque where my Mother's body was being sent to. I sat in the waiting room until they brought her body to the cleansing room. At that, I insisted to cleanse the body myself. I was sure my Mother would have appreciated me to do it than another. Believe me, I was petrified at first, but when they unveiled her face, I felt relaxed... She didn't look dead... She looked asleep. Her face was flawless and best of all, she literally had a smile on her face. My sister was courageous enough to be in the room too. She helped as well. Even before they finished wrapping our Mother in the cotton linen, Omaima and I braided my mother's hair gently and tucked it away as the wrapped her head.
My Mother was such a caring and giving person that karma had caught up to her quickly. Someone offered to sponsor her funeral and left his name anonymous. We were able to bury our Mother within 14 hours. This in Muslim tradition is a blessing because it's believe that from when the soul leaves the body to when the body is buried, the soul is in neither Heaven or Hell, it's in Limbo. Though, my Ma has suffered enough, and she most certainly didn't deserve to. God made her burial so smoothly. He wanted her back immediately... Still, my Mother was strong enough to pull through her near death experience in Jordan, and make it all the way back home to Canada to be with her kids.
This was a very difficult experience for my family and I but we're very blessed to have each other and people who care around us. I was blessed enough to have some of my closest friends drive 4 hours from Toronto to Windsor just to be with me during the funeral (Thank you so much Ashley Deland and Jessica Hurlbut: I love you soooooo much). Even more of my girls showed up after the funeral. I had seen and overwhelming flooding of beautiful words from all my friends on my wall and inbox. I appreciate it more than anything. My family appreciates it more than anything. And most importantly, my Mother appreciates it more than ever.
We all love you very much, Mama. You are the best Mother anyone could ever ask for. You loved me and accepted me for who I was no matter how much of a little rebel I was. And I love you more for that. You are a wonderful person, a Superwoman with strength equivalent to a thousand men. You are my world and I promise to you I will make you more proud than ever. All for you. All influenced by you. I love you, Mama. You're in my heart forever. <3
jorrå det är bara bra med mig >:)
GUD VA SORLIGT!