Sunday 30 November 2008

Dearest Gran

What a long day and night I have had. I was sitting in bed early this morning having a good old chat with my better half when I got a phone call from my dad. My poor old gran had been taken ill and was in emergency. I rushed to wake the kids and drop them with my sisters and get to the hospital. I have never seen her looking so gaunt or listless.

Before long the rest of the family had gathered round and were sat in a state of nervous upset. It’s funny how we all react to such situations. My dad stood around looking stern, my mum and youngest uncle both burst into tears (later she rushed off to make chicken soup for gran), my youngest aunty alternated between seeing to my gran and reading from the prayer book she pulled out of her bag, my middle uncle headed straight for the prayer room, my middle aunty regaled us with her list of ailments and proclamations of how upset she was, my cousin turned to the wall to hide his tears and my husband ferried people back and forth and went to fetch whatever anyone needed. Myself? I alternated between stroking my gran’s hair, massaging her legs and helping her with her ablutions and sticking my head in the Stephen King novel I was reading and pretending this was not happening.

I spent most of the day with her, apart from a stint when I came home to check on the kids and eat (my mum’s home that is). Gran went from being racked with pain to being completely unresponsiveness. For part of the day I was alone with her and could not get her back into bed, with much pushing and pulling I managed to get her onto the edge and then had to wait for help.

Today frightened me. I was scared of old age; scared of the pain, the indignity and the frustration of a body that does not do what you want, Dearest Rabb what a test. As I sat with the rest of my family, I kept thinking about when we were kids and me and my brother would get out of bed and pester her whilst she prayed salaah knowing she could not really get cross with us. How she would make us fat paratha’s covered in ghee to go with sweet milky tea and scrambled eggs when she could still walk to the kitchen to cook How she lived with me when I was expecting Little Lady and would open a pomegranate every day for when I got home from work and hand me a plate saying it was good for the baby. How she would rock newborn Little Lady to sleep as she prayed tasbih whilst I cooked in the kitchen. I wondered too what would happen if we lost her. She was the glue that held our garrulous family together, a mother holding on to all of her quarrelsome children and using all of her intelligence, guile and wisdom to keep them together, without her we would fall apart. No-one could take her place.

A little while ago, the doctors came and went rushing off with her, a looong while later he came back to tell us that she was starting to respond and the situation was starting to come under control. Subhan’Allah. I think we will have her around for a bit yet insh’Allah, but it was heartbreaking to see my lucid, chatterbox gran lose heart so. My poor middle uncle was due to go for hajj in the morning, so is wondering what he should do. Opinions range from yes that’s the best place he can be to pray for her, to no, he has done his fard hajj and so his mother should now take priority. Allah knows best and I am sure he is in torment.

Please be kind enough to make dua for me and my family and especially my gran.

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