Thursday, July 28, 2011

Confusions Conflicts and Choices.

                                     In loving memories of Lois Stanford

Many times we are presented with two or more options, which are equally tempting, and made to choose one of them. This gives rise to confusion and conflicts; strong enough at times to make us feel, that it would have been good if we did not have those options in the first place to choose from at all. Every year I come across few of these conflicting options, I make my choices and often stand by them. There have been times when I have regretted my choice after few days and there have been the times when I have felt proud of making the right choice.
One of these situations came to me when I had to make the choice of traveling to USA to meet my breast cancer survivor friends (more like sisters of heart) there. Tickets were expensive and it had other costs too. On the other side stood my house, which was leaky and old, pleading piteously for repairs. I had around 2,00,000 rupees at my disposal to either repair my house or go and visit my BC survivor friends in USA.
I had been a part of the support group in general and special group which was like a close knit family among the BC survivors called ladybirds, which is close to my heart. My constant visit to the support board with quite some open sharing of thoughts about surviving breast cancer in particular and personal life in general had created very close friendship for me with people, who were mostly from USA. Few of them were from Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia. These people who I had never met, for some amazing reason were like a family to me, a bond which I could never build with people I have met regularly. My friend Paula used to webcam quite often with my kids and they adored her for all her wisdom she shared, as much as the silly antics she did to entertain them. The thought of personally meeting her thrilled them both to no end, but usually they rubbished it away as an impossible dream.
It was tempting to travel for the first time outside India with my kids, as USA was a dreamland for Rayyan, and there was Disney World beckoning us. But then the dream would not last long. I will have to wake up and come back to my home which will take some more time for repairs, and living would be tough under that roof until then. I was in great confusion.  I took me three days to decide that, ‘I will go ahead with my children to USA and meet as many friends there. While the house can wait, crying out as piteously as it is possible for a house to cry’.
The dream of the whole project was planted by Paula, and consequently we were supposed to stay with her in Springhill Florida. I planned it out for 4 months. It was amazing funny time for us living in USA and being exposed to the ways of Americans. I am sure that if I had gone there independently, then there was no way I could feel the real life of people, as I did by staying with Paula. Few of the ladybirds (our support group members) helped out Paula to host us.
 If I try to write about the four months we spent in USA it will not end up as a blog post but will end up as an e-book… it was fun filled adventure every day during which we met many ladybirds and other friends in USA including my mom’s best friend Heidi King.  
I had to come back to my home after living in a dream for the longest time of nearly 5 months. The house looked dangerous and very uncomfortable, but my kids had that smile on their faces which made me feel I had taken the right decision. 3 years have gone by since our US tour and my house still waits to be repaired. It is tough to manage Farheena in a place where she has to struggle to get her daily chores done. It leaks at places causing slippery floors and the famous fire in the pan accident. But, even to this day I do not regret that choice which many people consider was a silly fancy of mine. That is just because, not everyone understands the close bond I share with my sisters there. I am so glad that I personally met many of them, though some had to cancel their plans due to unavoidable circumstances. I know I was right in making my decision because I can never personally meet and hug Paula, Diane.C, Diane, and Lois anymore. I cannot help them wear those flashy Indian saris for the fun of freaking sari party of Springhill. They have made their final journey after fighting tooth and nail with the demon cancer. I am glad I made my journey to meet them before they undertook their no return one.
Farheena has never been the same after meeting her friends in USA. She is full of hope and happiness and loves to chat with them. One of the biggest inspirations for Farheena has been Lois, with whom Farheena developed an instant bond. Lois understood Farheena and she knew the exact tricks that made it click for her. She held her hand all the while, when she spoke to her. She was one of the bravest and strongest person I have seen, fighting a very tough battle with cancer and carrying on as though nothing is going to shake her. Finally after 10 yrs she laid down her arms and ended the battle on July 22, 2011. I have decided not to tell Farheena the truth about Lois yet because she was very sad and kind of shattered when I told her that her friend Lois is in hospital. I have always been honest with my kids. One of the first promises I made to myself when I held Rayyan for the first time was, to always be honest to him and the same applied to Farheena. I am suffocating with great feeling of guilt at keeping her in dark, but her little heart need not suffer the pain so soon again after the trauma she went through with losing her dear ‘Hi-Bye’ aunty. That was Farheena’s version of name for Paula who came on the webcam with a big ‘Hi’ and left with a ‘bye’. I am going to allow Lois to live in Farheena’s virtual world which was created with my conflicting choice three years ago.

Finally today I have decided to discard the conflict and never think of it again, as I am absolutely sure that I made the right choice. I would give up a lot more to have one more meeting with my dear sisters of heart.


  1. Pleasure of life is priceless specially when you are doing something out of way for the happiness of others.

  2. Hats off to you on this decision! I am sure these were priceless moments that will be etched in your familys mind forever. God bless you:)

  3. You are an inspiration to many.. To be honest when I started reading, I thought you wouldn't have gone to US. But when I finished reading, I knew exactly what you were feeling and really hats off to you on that..

  4. You have given yourself and your kids something wonderful to remember :)
    and to me you have given the hint of: a house is after all just a house... And to that I totally agree. Big hugs :)

  5. I am so sorry that you lost another friend. That's so much for everyone to handle, especially a child. I understand why you're not ready to tell Farheena.

  6. No words, only respect to you and all the ladybirds. :)

  7. The memories are still so very vivid and I can see how life changing they all were. You're doing well in keeping the sadness from Farheena. What will you tell her when she asks how she is doing? Hugs to you for compassion you have!

  8. About 4 or 5 years ago, I became more aware of how many lives are shortened by cancer. Some have been friends and acquaintances and were under 50.

    I believe it was meant for you to come to America. Your were able to see Lois and other friends. What's more important than love between friends.

    Taking a few chances, or being cautious in hopes of "doing it right."

    Either way, live fully.

  9. Inspiring, as always...
    So very true when you sais abt choices...I am always in dilemma:)

  10. I'm rendered speechless after reading this post. The honesty in your writing is almost palpable. I can imagine what you are going through and I think telling Farheena is the right thing to do. Convey my regards to Farheena and Rayyan.

  11. LIVING (in every sense of the word) should be priority and being able to fully enjoy life and friends is precious indeed.

  12. Nice change of your blog :)


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