‘While Losing’ by Areeba Husain
Knowing you’re going to lose someone isn’t easy, but it isn’t as difficult as one would think.
The fact that you’re living supersedes everything, and to live is to tend to everyday affairs. There’s no time to mourn a loved one’s death before they’re actually gone. You can’t leave everything to be with someone even if you know that it’s your last chance to do so.
She was dying in a different city and I, while losing her, was aware but almost indifferent. It was she who made the phone calls and I didn’t know what to ask her besides how she was.
I did want to talk to her, tell her that I loved her and that I will miss her; but can you say that to a person who’s dying?
I wanted to be there for her, I wanted to cheer her up with some silly jokes. She loved my jokes you see, or perhaps laughed at them just out of love.
What ailed her made it difficult for her to talk, or else she would have shared some anecdotes from her childhood.
I wanted to be there by her side every moment that I remembered that I was losing her. But these moments were rare because what ailed me was life, which rarely allowed me to look beyond myself.
There are a few things I received after she was gone: a pair of her earrings she wore every day and a piece of fabric saved to use later. She remembered me even in death, in her excruciating pains. In life I couldn’t, but in death, after her death, I can.
Note: The subject of this piece, who lost her life in 2018 to cancer, was the author’s father’s aunt, more like a grandmother. The earrings were passed down.
(Copyright: Areeba Husain, 2022)
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