Ayesha’s mother died 16 days ago, but she hasn’t cried yet.
The mother’s death was not a surprise, at least not a sudden one. She had been suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) for eight years now, and as the years went by the symptoms worsened. In her final year, the mother just laid in bed, unable to move or speak, just breathing.
The mother hated hospitals and wanted to be near her family; so medical equipment was brought to the house, and a nurse was assigned to her 24/7 assistance. Her children, who are not really children because Ayesha the youngest of all seven is almost 21 years old, gathered every night to have dinner around her in the room. Years back the mother was able to talk and move her hands, but when I visited their home two years ago, she could not greet me back.
They were not very close, Ayesha and her mother. Although she likes to blame the mother’s illness for driving a wedge between them that was not there before, the truth is, they never got along.
Ayesha’s father and four of her siblings live in other countries, but they all came back home for the funeral. All, except the one who lives in Germany. It was the first time for the family to be in one house since Ayesha was in elementary school, and it felt almost as if their mother could not bring them together when she was alive, so she died to unite them.
Sixteen days have passed, and Ayesha hasn’t cried yet.
Many said she is shook, in a trance, or still not mindful of the tragedy. But I know that is not the case.
Ayesha is not shook or in denial, she is simply angry. She is angry at the mother for dying, and angry at herself for feeling angry instead of sad. By dying, the mother has cheated.
The unspoken one-side agreement was for the mother to get better, so that Ayesha will get another chance at having a normal mother daughter relationship. It was supposed to be a mutual effort.
Every night at 2:00 am, Ayesha would come to the mother’s room, sit on a chair in front of her bed and just talk to her lifeless living body. She would talk and talk and talk until pretending to have an imaginary conversation hurt and she would cry. The next day she would do the same thing again.
But somehow, without any warning, the mother decided that she did not want to try anymore. She gave up. She took the easy way out. She cheated. And that made Ayesha very angry.
Of course, I think the real reason why Ayesha is angry is because allowing herself to feel sadness would mean letting her mother go. Anger gives her something to hold on to. So, instead of facing the departure of the mother she’ll focus her energy on the blame and the pain. Somehow that will hurt less.
One day though, Ayesha will cry. I am sure of it.