For the past decade and a half I have spent most of my days and nights in and out of various hospitals. I have spent hours, at times days and nights in waiting areas/rooms of hospitals, waiting and praying of course for either my mother or father. I have even heard some very moving and depressing stories of people sitting there, waiting and praying for a little ray of hope, a miracle. There were times when I have spent some very scary and dark nights there too. I have witnessed images that would scare someone to the core. Seeing a human heart beat might be beautiful but seeing both your parents’ heart beating on a computer screen that too just a few months apart is plain scary. I have seen my father lying in a bed with half his body paralyzed, I have seen him recover from it too. I have seen him being blessed with new life which always made me believe in miracles. Moreover, I have seen my father have various surgeries, some leaving him in excruciating pain but what kept me going on was my father being a fighter and my mother’s strength to not just help him but us fight it all through. I guess all those instances conditioned me to immediately turn off my emotions to step up for my family and hold them together.
I always thought mastering the art to turn off your emotions was one of the best things until the day I saw my father die. Obviously my immediate response was to turn off my emotional system (or whatever it should be called) since I had my sister in a state I always feared seeing in and my ailing mother back at home who just couldn’t take the news. I did not allow myself to feel anything, responsibilities and other ridiculousness of life ( I am kind of obsessed with this term) never left me with time. So somewhere between helping my mother and sister through grief, dealing with the loss, studies, work, taking over responsibilities, taking control of things, situations and everything else, I forgot or maybe completely ignored that daughter me who lost her father, the man she truly loved with her whole heart and never expressed that love or even spoke it out loud. I did not allow her to even grieve or cry or let it out in any way. One of my biggest regret obviously is not spending much time with my father (family too) in the past 2 years (almost) since that’s when I started my professional career. Not doing enough for him is another big one.
Why I am writing this post is because yesterday (28th November, 2015) I had to go back to SIUT for the second time since after my father’s death. Before that the last time I went there was a couple of months back that too with my father. I was not there with him the last time he went through a very critical surgery that involved high risk. After his death I tried very hard to avoid going to the hospitals he was treated at but I not just had to go to one but all the hospitals he was treated at that too several times. There were times life left me in front of people who resembled his state while he was treated or in front of people who died exactly how my father died. Again I forced my myself to not feel a thing.
Suppressing emotions and feeling is really bad. I have done it a lot and now I am bearing the consequences.
SIUT has so many good, bad, sweet, bittersweet, scary and painful memories attached to it. Every nook and cranny reminds me of my father. The ONLY GOOD thing about yesterday’s visit was meeting Edhi Sb for the second time and having a little chit-chat with him. Otherwise that hospital this time, broke several parts of me because I met the doctor who not just treated him but was a part of 2-3 surgeries my father had. Also, I ran into a few patients who were either on the next bed in the ICU or the ones who we met in the waiting rooms while baba’s appointments with his doctors.
You know what’s hard? Walking down all those corridors of all the hospitals your father was treated at.
You know what’s hard? Meeting all those doctors who treated him, his fellow patients and nurses who looked after him.
You know what’s hard? While walking through those corridors, walking past those waiting rooms, being slapped squarely in your face with flashbacks of you and your father walking down those corridors or sitting in those waiting room, catching up on whats going on in each other’s life, discussing what issues are going on at home, what problems have made their way to the surface, and finding solutions. Now being a corporate slave doesn’t leave you with time to sit at home to discuss all of this, does it? In my case, it didn’t which is why me and my father mostly talked about real issues and stuff at hospitals, sitting in those corridors or waiting room.
You know what’s hard? While you’re trying to block the flashbacks, out of nowhere, you run into your father’s ex- doc and some patients who were his next bed neighbors in the ICU after his surgeries, and they ask you how your father is doing? You tell them that he passed away two months ago. And with that they go in shock because even with completely damaged lungs and other health issues, my father always looked fine and healthy. Then they ask you how it happened and you have to muster every ounce of courage you have in you to go down the memory lane, relive those scary moments and explain how he walked on his feet to the hospital smiling, collapsed, his body went numb, eyes went blank and he died. With that comes a deafening silence where your inner self is screaming to let yourself break because you are human and its okay to break and let yourself feel. But instead you stand there, waiting for the silence to break
And then when the silence finally breaks and they ask you how are things at home? That is like the last nail on the coffin because that is what you are trying not to think about at that very moment. But thanks to past experiences you lie, “Everything is getting back to normal.“
And then when they say, “you’re a brave, strong girl!“, you can’t even say, “Numbing yourself is no bravery!”
THAT’S WHAT’S HARD!