It is weird how quickly things happen. A year ago my aunt was doing just fine, she went back to Pakistan, she traveled back here all by herself. She would help me take care of the kids (my cousins & her grandchildren) whenever I babysat. And then all of a sudden one day I saw her an she was skinny, frail, weak and the life was slowly being sucked from her spirit, I could tell. Her arms were only bone an skin and her legs looked even worse, seeing her in her wheelchair i thought, how does she even maintain… Last weekend is when I really saw it coming. It’s funny because my cousins were in Chicago and my sister and I were in Chicago to see a concert and we decided last minute to stay an extra day with my cousins and aunt, randomly. We spent the day and night eating Indian food on Devon St. an I laughed with my little cousins about things that I could only laugh about with them. But that night I saw my aunt struggling to even lift her hands, shaking, she could no longer go to the bathroom herself or even lift herself out of bed. When she spoke it was like a mumble, an incoherent mumble of Urdu and whatever she spoke of English. I told my dad (her brother) when I got home that night that his sister was weak, and dying.
“She’s too weak to come back from whatever she is sick with.” I told my dad.
He understood, he knew it ha been getting bad, but he was upset with my cousin for taking his sister to Chicago in her state.
So, a week later my dad told me we were going to the hospital to see her. “They gave her 10 days to live, so we have to go tomorrow.” My dad tol me over the phone. He had been going to the hospital the last few days an I know he knew what was coming too.
On Sunday I came home an read a book on the couch while my dad watched some football and told me that we would all go to the hospital in a little while. At 3:30 my dad walked in, “Yasmeen, we have to go, she’s passed.” he said.
Often times when my dad is talking to more than one of me and my siblings he will say my name. My parents do that because I am dependable an always responsive. I know when to be, sometimes i like the directiveness toward me and sometimes i despise being the dependable child.
We went and spent the whole evening at the hospital, and the whole next evening with my close family. After the funeral we got away from all the random and given, supportive, friends. My dad cooked and other people brought over heeps of Pakistani food and we ate, we even laughed, we talked and we just got to all be together, without missing a beat, for the first time in a long time.
It was nice, even in the circumstances. My cousin’s house felt empty though. I had been over there countless times with my aunty and my cousins and there was a missing piece last night when we all ate and laughed and I looked around and she wasn’t there…which is when it really effected me. I have never cried for a death, I haven’t ever really lost someone close to me. This time, it just felt more real and I sympathized with my cousin for losing his mom and my dad for losing his sister and if I couldn’t cry I thought, I could at least understand what was happening and be consciously aware that she was gone, which is sad enough.
But, all and all I know that this has made me feel different than I ever have before and I am effected by it. It’s weird how fast it happened and now she’s gone.