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Sorrows and Joys

happy sad theatre maskNo sooner had I written about feeling a sense of ease that the very next day grief would strike our household.  Unfortunately my dad’s sister passed away.

She died from a surgery that she was unable to recover from.  My dad knew that her death was imminent as the doctors had said she doesn’t have much time to live.  So he had prepared himself mentally for her death.  Oddly enough, he had seen a dream a few days earlier where her coffin was being taken to her grave to be buried.

The day she died, I was standing outside my house and I overheard the neighbors mention something about a birthday.  It may have been the birthday of one of the neighbors or they might have just mentioned it in passing.  But it really got me thinking.  It’s amazing how in one house, the people are suffering through a calamity, mourning for a lost loved one and just a few houses down they are celebrating a time of joy.  For some reason, I was oddly amazed at the juxtaposition that I was witnessing before my eyes.

One of my dad’s sisters lives just ten minutes away from our house.  She is of much older age, in her 80s.  Given her age and her fragility, my family had decided to let my dad give her the message that their sister had passed away.  So my aunt arrived at our house at about noon and right when my dad saw her enter the door, he broke down in tears and said, “Our sister has died.”  The two embraced each other and immediately began to cry hysterically.  My aunt collapsed on the ground in the middle of our dining room and sobbed.  I watched helplessly as both brother and sister cried on the floor in each others arms.

The death didn’t occur in Canada.  The death occurred in Pakistan where she lived.  My parents, as well as I found out about this over the phone.  Perhaps it’s me but I have noticed that the healing process occurs much faster here than it would have had my father been in Pakistan at the time.  Finding out the death of a relative over the phone is nothing new.  In fact, it pretty much happens at least once every year.  And the reality is, we can’t do much here.  All we can do is cry on the phone for a bit, cry in private, think about them and that’s pretty much it.  The nature of life in Canada is as such that life goes on.  Whereas over there, the entire family gathers to mourn, perhaps the entire village even.  Not so here.  Sadness and grief as well as happiness and joy are confined to each individual home.  Because my parents aren’t exposed to that environment of grief, it seems as though they are able to get over it more faster than if they were back home with their immediate and extended family.  I am not saying that it’s a good thing or bad, its mearly an observation that struck me at the time.

I mentioned birthdays above; my birthday was today as well.  In light of the situation, I chose to keep it somber and not really make a big deal out of it.  Not that I make a big deal out of my birthday in normal circumstances.  But this time around I chose not to really “do” anything for my birthday.  I just went out with two of my good friends who I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

We shall see what joys and sorrows destiny will bestow on us this year.

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