Lying, almost ashen and pale, on the hospital bed was my Bai. She was slipping away – my mind acknowledged, but the heart refused to accept. “Don’t go, Bai”, I begged her throughout the night. She’d endured a few strokes too many. The doctors said the next 24 hours would be the most critical.
Her heart rate would drop to 140 from 170 – the lowest it would go from the highest that evening- and I nestled my head in her hand as I stroked her arms throughout the night. My Bai was leaving. It wasn’t supposed to be this soon. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. But we plan, and He plans.
Imran and I talked to her throughout the night, alternating between praying for her, reciting verses of Paradise from the Quran, cajoling and motivating her and lastly, teasing her about all the fun stuff we did together. We just wanted her back. Somehow. Exhaustion, fear, self-doubt, second-guessing-and, yes, guilt plagued every corner of our soul that night.
All I can say is that at that moment it felt like we were being short changed. Robbed, almost. She can’t leave yet. The fear grew as the night grew. I stared at the monitor, wishing the numbers to change. They didn’t. At 4 am, Hana started feeling sick and I went home to be with her – auto mode, functioning physically, but mentally gone. Jumping each time the phone rang.
By 9 am, I couldn’t stay home any longer. Went back to the hospital with Maryam – thank God for her. Bai’s heart rate neared 200 by morning. All I could think about was our drives down Dundas, to walmart, to shoppers, to Zamzam, to Taco Bell – the moments of reprieve, confidence and solace between daily life mundanes . The breathing suddenly became slower. We started reciting the shahada (testimony of faith). It started to become surreal. It felt like this is how it should be, all of us in a room, standing in solidarity, surrounding each other with faith, love and hope – what could be better? But why was there a pain plaguing us?
Memories started to flashback. The warmth, the love. The comfort. Always calling me her daughter. Loving and defending me and mine, because she really meant and felt what she said. A lump formed in my throat. She was leaving and there was nothing I could do about it. The feeling of helplessness was engulfing. The whole “what next” was incomprehensible and felt as though our brain would implode just thinking about it.
She moved on so peacefully. Slowly. One breath at a time. Just like that. Just the way she would have wanted it. Surrounded by love and those whom she loved – physically and spiritually.
For the first hour it felt as though, a canopy was removed and the sun’s brightness was blinding the path from there on. It felt like a cruel joke. A pain that was to be swallowed without complain. Checkmate. Game over. Then the numbness set in and for the most part it ensues. I don’t know when it would get better, all I know is that its not going to be the same anymore. The full magnitude of the loss slowly seems to be beginning to penetrate and well, it feels as though no amount of morphine is going to numb it this time!