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December 11, 2011 / Man in the Mirror

My grandmother (Dad’s mom)

I am posting this because I appreciate the effort that my grandmother put in to our family. She taught us, by example, how not to get involved in family politics, that family was more important than any issue that could ever come up, always welcomed new additions (by marriage) to the family with love, to be strong, to stand up for right and wrong, that women did not have to be stuck in cultural roles, and that education is important:

Thankfully I had seen my grandmother in November but I wish I had been able to reach the USA sooner to say my goodbyes. For the past few years, my grandmother had grown weaker and she became more of a silent figure in the room but she was always the matriarch of our family…my grandad may like to believe he ran things but in reality it was my grandmother…she held our family together. She was such a strong woman, mentally and physically, that whenever she got sick…we cousins never worried too much…she always bounced back.

Even when she was sick this time…no one could have imagined that this would be her last fight. If it was anything else besides cancer, I am 100% sure she would have fought it. She developed cancer in both her breasts and she never told anyone about the rashes nor that she was in pain. My cousin who is her son’s son (an heir to the family and a big deal in our culture) was supposed to get married during the last few weeks of June..and she knew that if she told anyone we would not have let her travel. So instead she bore the pain and made new clothes for the wedding and packed all her stuff ready to come to the States. She never uttered a word even when the cancer spread to her lungs or her bones…which the doctors tell us is extremely painful. It was only when it reached her brain, that her body gave up. None of us had time to process what happened…we found out about the cancer in late April…by 9th May she had passed away. She was such a strong woman that she did not even ask for pain killers…it was only her last 24 hours that she showed some signs of any pain…otherwise she was amazing!!

My cousin got married and everything went well. We still wish that my grandmother could have been with us, especially since she had been looking forward to the wedding and spending time with all her kids and grandkids. We all contemplated taking her body back to Lahore but most of us now live outside Pakistan and the USA is the most convenient place for everyone…so we decided to bury her here…it’s so funny where a person ends up in their final days! Here was a woman who was born in Meerat, India and is buried in Detroit, USA.

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