The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
Strength in the face of pain or grief.
What is adversity? one can describe it as the time when you feel totally incapable to control the situation or when you are in a scenario where you are just a mere spectator and the odds are going against you, what do you do when you find yourself in such situations? Some people panic and give up as they claim to see the writing on the wall, some refuse to give up and don’t stop trying until the end, and now the question arises, what is the end? Sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don’t get what you want, you accept the realities, start over and move on. But then again there is a saying that if it’s not good, it’s not the end.
We get up in the morning, go to work, or go to our educational institutions to get education, bend our backs in both so at the end we get the reward for our efforts. We do all this to fulfill our present and future needs and those of our family members. We strive for a better future a better tomorrow in which we envision ourselves with our family, all our ends, the happy ends include our family in it. Why do we do this? Because they are just like a part of our own being, our strength in time of adversity, no matter how many people care for you no one gets concerned for you like your family.
I always get a strange uneasy feeling whenever I enter the atmosphere of a hospital. Yes it’s a place where people get healed, and where they get new hope for living but it’s also a place of sadness and grief. And when I am in that building I feel like I am surrounded with that collective aura of grief and pain which encapsulates that building. It’s a place where grown men cry like babies, where people hear the dreaded words that their loved ones are not with them anymore, where ones gets to see the real value of life.
Last month my dad had 3 heart attacks in the span of 3 weeks and was taken to hospital emergency two times (first time he has 2 straight) each visit resulting in a weeklong stay for him in the hospital. All the time I was with him, especially at nights (that’s where I also discovered how quickly I can complete a 700 page book > 3 nights). If you really want to watch humanity closely in its most raw form, spend a night at a hospital’s emergency (I really wish you don’t, never ever). As I was standing with my dad who was lying with oxygen mask on his face the front bed patient heartbeat line on the monitor went flat, doctors rushed in and gave the electric shock treatment (where they put two paddles on the chest = Defibrillation).There it was, at one moment a person living and breathing in front of my eyes and the next moment his lifeless body jumping in the air as doc’s shouted clear and gave him shocks. He was gone, his son clinging the mobile to his ears saying the words to the person at the other end, the words that he never imagined he would say …. “Abu g ki death hogai hai” (Dad has passed away). Ward boys rushed in and the body was out, it was all over in 5 minutes.
I should have been moved by all that, a feeling of fear and worry should have surrounded me, but I wasn’t feeling anything. Even when I brought my dad to the emergency and he was in extreme pain I wasn’t feeling anything, it was like I was in a hazy cloud where all my senses were blank and I was like a robot. And then right next in the ICU which only separated us by a glass wall another patient went in to serious condition, he was accompanied by many of his relatives (even though hospital staff repeatedly told them that so many people can’t stay but in Pakistan rules are often ignored). His grandchild was running here and there bringing the necessities and although a man in his 20’s crying like a baby, his older brothers were surrounding the bed caressing their grandfather’s legs and adjusting his pillows trying desperately to do something, anything to save him, their eyes full of tears faces showing helplessness lips moving in prayers. And then the women of the family came and the room was surrounded by silent sobs as they immediately started crying and the nurses had to forcefully evacuate the area.
My dad’s condition was stabilizing at that point but doc’s still had him under observation, he was also watching all this and I wanted him not to watch, he said “Beta yah sub tau zingdi ka hisa hai” (son it’s all part of life). This continued for almost 3 hours and we saw that family go through extreme agony. In the end doctors desperately tried to save his life but he didn’t make it. The scene could have made even the most stone hearted person melt and worried, but here I was still feeling nothing. Yes I was sorry for the family and their loss but what was bothering me was that I should have been moved by that, the whole night I saw patient after patient being brought in, their cries of agony, pain, the worrisome pleas of their relatives, the blood (one patient Angiography bled and he was all covered in blood), but my inside was like a stone.
The two weeks that I had to spend with my dad in the hospital (the only and biggest cardiac hospital of the city) he had his second Angiography (had his first in 98) and was told that he will be having the big Bypass operation (his Bypass is scheduled after tests at any date in the last two weeks of April) even though it was the most toughest time in my life as he was not out of danger (still in that phase) until his Bypass is not done I was not worried, and this made me uneasy inside. After going through all this I should have had gone through an emotional roller-coaster, I should have panicked a little, I should worry, I should get a sinking feeling. When my family members or any relative used to say to me in the hospital that stay strong it’s all gonna be alright, I almost used to get an angry feeling inside me, I wanted to say to them that you… you be strong, don’t say that to me, I am strong, you are panicking I am not and then I used to realize what the hell am I thinking, they are just providing their support to me and I am having these thoughts.
I have rarely used Facebook since last 6 months or so and the only posts during that period are prayer requests for people who were close and were sick, but when my own father had the heart problem I didn’t asked for prayers on Facebook or any other medium, why? I find this behavior of mine odd at times but that’s the way it is, since the moment the first time I took my father to the emergency I had this strong belief, this strong faith that he’s gonna be ok, no matter how big the problem comes, my dad is gonna be ok, my own faith is that strong and my love for my family is that much that God will listen to my prayers.
Today I gave shoulder to the coffin of my Bhabhi (my eldest first cousin’s wife) may she Rest in Peace, we lost her yesterday due to a brain hemorrhage because of high blood pressure, as we lowered her in to the grave her son who is 3 months younger than me collapsed in my arms, we had great difficulty stabilizing him and bringing him back to his senses. As we were getting him up from the ground we were assuring him that we are with him, he is not alone, but his strength was gone. What words can give him comfort. Only he and his family members can truly feel this pain and loss, no one can replace what they have lost.
And then I remembered my night in the emergency (which was like spending a night in hell). And I realized that when God gives you hard times he also gives the strength to endure those times, it’s a way the cycle works, we don’t realize it and blame Him that our prayers go unheard but if we pay a little attention we will notice that in every misfortune, each difficulty and despair there is a purpose, it teaches us something, gives us something. And when I was with my dad in the emergency and was perplexed that I felt nothing it was because my strength was right beside me lying with oxygen mask on his mouth, my stronghold was there with me and it didn’t mattered how much pain and agony surrounded me. And after that the reason me not wanting help or asking for prayers was my love for him that gave me the faith ensuring me that he will be healed, God was giving me that strength to go through this hard time. Tomorrow he will be admitted in the hospital for his Bypass operation and I know that he will be fine , he will be healed completely and will be back home.
Our parents are the biggest blessing to us. Sometimes even we ourselves don’t know how deep our love and faith goes for them but it’s all that we need at the end of the day no matter how tough the times become. May God bless everyone’s parents.