This blog is lengthy, but if you take the time to read it it might help you and it'll be appreciated.
My grandfather passed away on Thursday, 16th December 2004. We were watching an Indian soap (well, actually we were eating and passing time by watching it) called Kasauti Zindagi Ki (Challenges of life) when at around 8:00 pm we received news from the hospital about our maternal grandfather having passed away. He had been in hospital for six days, I believe; and I had an exam the next day, a Geography exam. God bless his soul; he died the exact day and date my grandmother did, five years back. And the last words he uttered were, 'Your Highness, I am coming'. He used to call my grandmother 'Your Highness'.
That's a part of my story. For all I know, I never loved my grandpa. I despised him as much as one could. My other grandfather had passed away when I was just an infant, so the only grandfather I had known was him. I still remember his room; he'd have a small refrigerator (I always awed it) the size of a PC, and a small television with always the news channel, PTV (Pakistan Television), on. He'd play cards with my father, and listen to my sister's guitar. He'd award toffees to the children - my only reason to go to him would be those heart-shaped candies. I always took the pink one, even though I liked the purple one. Nonetheless, I never liked him. He called me 'Rabo', and there was this beauty in his words. I wonder why I didn't see it then.
My family didn't like him either. It was ritualistic to hear about complaints from his daughter-in-laws (they lived together) about feeding him. He'd ring up my mother and tell her about his DILs mistreatment. My mother would ignore him, thinking that he was just catching attention. He would pretend to be ill in order to grab attention too, and would eat every medicine in the world to convince my father, who is a doctor. My Uncles claimed he was a miserly man who didn't spend his 'millions of dollars' but asked for money from them. They said he was 'an atheist' at heart. God forgive them for saying so.
When he passed away, his room was unraveled, and all his belongings were searched through. NOTHING! Even a beggar would have more money! He had about 10,000 rupees only, which was about $ 150 at that time. He had no jewelry, no riches, well except one. He was a great man.
About a thousand people turned up at his funeral. Many were rich and renowned, and many were poor and destitute. From them, we learned that he was a charitable man who had not only brought prosperity to many poor families but had established the foundation of success of many men who now run the city. We now learned where he spent his time and money. The name 'Sheikh Abdul Hameed' was now so popular all of the sudden. We learned how he used to help widows, eat with his servant by his side and how his entire focus had been the welfare of mankind.
I was touched in my place, but I can never estimate the torment my mother went through. Whenever some religious preacher mentions the rights of parents, she breaks into tears. And now, it sickens me. It seems to be a disease with no cure. Whenever we go to a shop and get an AWESOME bargain, I'm like: 'How did you, ma?' I then receive a guilty laugh and she murmurs: 'I said my father's name and they dropped to my feet'. The feeling haunts her, but it shatters me even more. There are two reasons.
One is direct guilt. I hate myself for what I did to my grandpa. Whenever he'd call, I'd snicker in my heart, making fun of him. I feel like I actually made fun of myself. Now, whenever I pass his room, I feel like going down there and see if he's there. Maybe I could say sorry? But I go down there and stare into his room. It's much cleaner now and modernized, but his scent, it's gone. His presence was beautiful. It was mine.
The other is indirect guilt. It is blotting my soul with insecurity every passing day. I look at my mother and wonder; will this happen to me someday? My mother is known for getting her way. Will I go to a shop one day, and the shopkeeper say jollily: 'Shabana's daughter? Oh, you're always welcome.' The feeling, that I'm the bitchiest bitch on Earth, that I buried my own mother before she died - will it come to me too? I swear I'll kill myself! I can't take the pressure of knowing that I messed up myself. Because you know what? No matter what kind of person my mother is, the best thing about her is that she's mine. You know, a possessive pronoun is a supposed to hold a lot of power. And you might not understand it, but something that's yours is a part of you.
So my mother, is mine. She's MINE! And I don't want to lose her without really losing her.
I want to go to shop, and when the shopkeeper speaks of her, I don't want to feel guilty, I want to feel proud and reply: "Yup, you're right. She's my mom, and I am her daughter!"
But how will I do it? I am hopeless to see a day my mother happy and smiling. It's probably because of many other things, but I'm a part of it. I know I can fix it - I just need time, and The problem is that time's not with me. I know she's going.
I just need time! I need to understand myself before I can understand her desires. But I just don't have time.
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