Thursday, May 6, 2021

#25SilverLinings - The Knight In Shining Armour

I was waiting for the 25th of April 1996, when my husband would arrive from Abhu Dhabi. From the start of our relationships, we had our differences, issues and fights, but then we were also the closest two people can get. We shared sex, affection, love and care for each other. We shared the parenthood of two lovely children. He was the man who was responsible for me and my children, so the burden had to ease when he came, right? He was supposed to be the Knight in shining armour during my fight with a monster called cancer.

He first went to his home in Byndoor and paid a visit to his Mom’s grave before coming to Bangalore with his brother. When he came, Farheena was asleep and Rayyan greeted him happily. He was so proud to show off his beautiful sister to his dad. I was busy with the pending cancer treatment and did not pay much attention to get him ready for Farheena. I should admit that I never felt a need to get anyone ready to meet Farheena. I completely forgot what effect a daughter with special needs would have on her father seeing her for the first time when she was 11 months old. Unfortunately, he was not ready for all the challenges that he was facing, especially a special needs girl child, his mom's death and my cancer all rolled into one.
When I was looking forward to assurance, support and strength from him, the first thing he did was break down and cry. I felt sorrow surging in me as well and I was on the verge of tears. I consoled him and felt sorry, but the darling he is, he has this habit of changing my feelings quickly, especially when he opens his mouth to talk. He never allows me to feel bad for him for long.
“Why me?” he asked, “First Allah gives me a disabled daughter(that was not an acceptable term), after a few months my mom died and now my wife has cancer. I haven’t done anything wrong. Why is he punishing me?”
Good for me, because the tears I was about to shed along with him started to retrace their steps. Suddenly I had my sarcastic humour taking charge of the situation. I am not sure whether I was fair or not, but it happens to me very often.
“Darling, you must have done something bad and forgotten it. Maybe God knows why he is doing this. He is almighty and just and punishes only the wrong people, you yourself said so few days ago, right?”. Yeah, I was sarcastic, because sarcasm is my mother tongue. Whenever I am pissed off I talk in my mother tongue. I am who I am, fair or not. In our real lives, everyone is right in their own way. I don’t think he did not have the right to grieve, but I also had my right to find one shoulder to lean on. So, bad things happen between people, intentionally or unintentionally. This was the start of something which I never wanted in my life, but like cancer it happened. The cracks started to appear.
I was pissed off because he was not seeing that it was me who was supposed to fight for my life, who needed support and who was scared. It was all about him and how he was being punished or whatever that was. Now besides my family, I had one more person to console, convince and take care of. The word Mazoor (meaning disabled) was not something I expected to hear regarding Farheena. We avoided negative words, especially because Rayyan was a very sensitive child. I was hearing it for the first time and I was not happy about it either.
But I calmed myself down in a short span of time, because I had to go through my surgery, keep other chaotic people calm in our home, take care of my children for 10 days of hospitalization which the doctor said was required. I realized this was not the time to be pissed off but to be sensible in handling the Knight who was throwing tantrums about his fate. So, I again went back to consoling him, assuring him everything will be OK and not to worry. This again triggered a lot more complaints from him
“I bought this netted lingerie with so much love. Now you will never be able to wear it”. (yes darling, rub salt in my wound). I replied, “let us wait and see how life turns out. We don’t know. We did not expect bad things to happen but it did, in the same way something good can happen as well”. (Like all of a sudden you become a more sensible person to give me support with different vocabulary).
He came out with a lot of plans he had - the only time he had them was when it wouldn’t work out for us- and how disappointed he was. He was the saddest of all the people around me then. I was consoling him when Farheena woke up. Another torrent of questions started pouring out
“What is wrong with her?”
“Can she talk?”
“Can she walk?”
“What can we do to fix her?”
I invoked the mother of all patience I had in me, to answer him calmly. I think he was very nervous and I pitied him as well. I told him, “We can get back to Farheena and her treatment after tackling the issue on hand right now, that is my cancer and surgery scheduled in 2 days”.
He then came up with a shocking suggestion - “Can you postpone the surgery so that we can check out what alternative medicines we have. Someone mentioned that there is a guy in Kerala who heals cancer, let us try that out before removing the breast”.
I knew here I had to be very firm, much more firmer than the breasts are in our teen years. I told him sternly, “This is my choice of tackling cancer. I am not trying anything else. No use trying to change my mind now when the surgery is scheduled in 2 days”.
“How about a second opinion?” he asked pleading, “maybe this is not cancer. Maybe they made a mistake in diagnosis”. I agreed, though I was very sure that without the lump and only the biopsy report to go by, the doctor himself will not have any other choice but to say out loud what is written in the report. But at that stage, it was tough explaining things to him, so I agreed to visit a doctor the next day in another oncology hospital.
He continued with his droopy face, teary eyes and grief. I was now trying to feed Farheena with bottle milk and I looked at the person who was supposed to be my Knight in shining armour. All of sudden he reminded me of a knight -Don Quixote and I smiled. Farheena returned my smile very sweetly. At that moment I knew I had to smile and go through this for my little ones. I brought forth my own armour and decided to be my own Knight hereafter. That was another silver lining for me.
The smiles that made me a warrior. The little ones were the source of my strength

Promises that shook when cancer struck ..

Change is inevitable 

We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears. Francois de La Rochefoucauld


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