Who knows when you will be put to the test – how you will do justice to all those lessons taught to you over the years. Our nature is to want to pretend like it will never happen – our teachings exhort us to remember and remember often. Years ago when we were told that my father had a tumour on his kidney, I was forced to come face to face with my fears. I had to decide very quickly how I was going to let it affect my life, what my communications with God would be like and essentially what kind of person I had grown up to be. You try to learn to handle the earth shattering sadness you feel. In the end, my father was very lucky and was subjected to a minor surgery that removed his tumour completely. Now with the news that my grandmother has been diagnosed with kidney cancer I am faced again with the same dilemmas. Which in itself is a sorry testament to my growth as a human being. I wish I could be braver, and more certain and be able to breath “lahawla wala quwatta illabillah”. I am ashamed not to be able to walk with a steady gate and a clear eye, knowing that the end we all fear moves closer to each of us every day. Instead I feel sick and sad and helpless. I reach out to people so they can warm me with their words- words I force them to say. I realize too how easy it is to feel entitled to more. When I tell people my grandma is in her 80’s, they nod understandingly and for a second the thought drifts across my mind, “That is too young! She could see 90 easily…” And I cringe immediately and am ashamed. I hate to admit that I would think that when so many would give anything for half of what she’s lived. How easily I demand from God His Mercy, His Healing, His Grace. My Grandmother will be, if God wills, okay – she has a localized cancer which is good. She has a type of cancer that is, if you are going to get cancer, not one of the lethal ones. Hopefully with radiation they will manage to keep it under control. She will be at my cousins’ wedding in the summer. She will sing happy birthday to us on each of our birthdays, as she’s done for as long as I can remember. I won’t have to watch my mother mourn hers yet. But what kind of treatment will help me manage my inner self, make me a better person, and help me control those passions that threaten to engulf me? After all these years I still wait for that sign that I can exhale, I wait to mature, I wait to die before I die.
If you come across this post please remember us in your du’as – pray for the healing of my grandmother and if you remember, spare a thought for her wayward grandaughter.