Wednesday, June 5, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 24

A Tiny Promise That Withstood Storms

How much of challenges can a person handle? How much can about to be five year old child handle? Answering that question was tough on me when I was going through cancer. All the hush hush talk about my surgery was making my 4 ½ year old son very nervous. He knew something was wrong with his Maa and that something was not good. We did not have heart to let him know that his Maa was suffering from cancer which was a life threatening illness. Also, I had no clue how to explain the mastectomy surgery to him. Moreover, his beloved aunt, my elder sister was in the last stages of cancer and he knew that she was suffering. This was too tough on him.
 When I was dressing up my 11 month old daughter after giving her a bath, Rayyan walked up to us. He looked quite worried and sad. I asked him, “what happened beta?” He did not say anything for a while, but later asked me, “Maa, what has happened to you? Where are you going tomorrow?” It was a day before my final consultation with doctor to fix a date for my surgery. I decided to go for total radical mastectomy and my family were very upset that I was not trying anything else before the final decision. With that question from my child, my heart landed in my tummy. Those words, that look and the sadness are still etched in my memory like most of the events relating to my cancer experience. He had heard everyone around him talking about my illness; he had seen me go for check-ups, having biopsy, discussing things with my family and had lot of questions but he had no courage to ask. We elders had decided to protect him from the truth but made the matters worse for him since unknown is always worse than the worst of the known.

In a minute I had overcome my shock and shot him one of the most genuine smiles I could bring up. I made him sit beside me and told him that he had to listen to me carefully and ask me to explain anything that he would not understand. I told him that one of my breasts had developed a lump which could be dangerous if left untreated. So instead of removing the lump, I had decided to remove the breast itself so that I can be safe. I was going to get operated and the date would be fixed, after which I will take medicines that will help me become healthy once again. As I explained everything to Rayyan, I was worried about his response to this revelation. To my surprise he sighed in relief. He exclaimed, “Oh, that’s all? I thought you are going to leave us all forever or something like that”. I casually said, “I feel a bit sad that the doctor is going to remove one of my breast”. Promptly he said, “It is not like losing a hand, leg or eyes Maa. What do we do with breasts anyway? Farheena can always drink milk from bottle?”  Those words really lightened up the situation for me and I promised my son that I am going kick cancer and be with him as long as he wants me. He made a tiny promise on that day that he would help me in everything I do as well. That tiny moment had filled me with lot of power and strength to fight out anything that would snatch me away from my children. I became too greedy for life span. I clearly told my doctor to do whatever it takes to help me survive. I did not mind the quality of life, all I wanted was quantity.
I so often hear who is behind successful man or who is behind successful women etc etc. In my life, I know who is behind my own success for sure. All the credit goes to Rayyan. I clearly remember the day when he first stepped in to help me, keeping his promise which I had not taken that seriously when he made it. I was discharged from the hospital after my surgery and was back home. I couldn't do much with my left hand, which was the side I had lost my breast to cancer. Farheena was on bed and wanted to get into my lap and was indicating for me to pick her up. I struggled to pick her up with my right hand. My husband and sister were nearby but were lost in communication about my elder sister who was having a tough time battling cancer. They were worried and sad about her and so lost that they missed my struggle with picking up Farheena.  That is when Rayyan left his toys, hurried to my side and helped me pick up Farheena. That was just the beginning. He would be waiting thereafter, whenever I would struggle to pick her up. Soon, my hand healed and I gained enough strength to lift her on my own. But, whenever he was around, Rayyan would say, “wait maa, I will help you pick her up” and rush to my side. Even though I had been through a tough time just then, this little gesture from Rayyan filled me with optimism. I knew that I was not alone in the struggles of my life, I had a tiny soldier to support me. He was very tiny and it looked cruel to seek help from him but it meant a lot whenever he did. I can still see him rushing to me, helping me to pick up Farheena with his tiny hands.
That was just the beginning. He has been there to support and help me every time I need him, no matter what time it is. Sometimes, at night I am lazy to get out of my bed for a glass of water and I shout out to Rayyan and he always brings it to me without complaining even once. I know, it is so mean of me, but it just fills my heart with warmth when he does that. He has been supportive of me in everything I did. Be it housework, studies, learning to drive, working, or setting up My Giggle Garden – it is Rayyan who has stood by me and now finally supporting my passion financially as well.
We promised something to each other without knowing what the future held in store for us in April 1996. Somehow I have been lucky to keep my promise for 23 long years now and so has been Rayyan with his hard work and dedication. I am definitely a lucky mom.

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