Sameera - A Loud Silence!
Sameera has been the quietest person I have ever met! She smiled with me, fought (without a word) with me over silly nonsense, and endured her pain without “an ouch”.
Sam and I shared a very special bond. We are the same age and despite of her being my sister-in-law; I always thought of her as a friend. Sam became a part of our lives during a very delicate time. Ofcourse, like most “in-laws” we had rough roads initially, arguments, and differences. I always thought Sam gave me the “silent treatment” and I fondly remember arguing with her that I couldn’t read her mind and if only she would let me hear her thoughts, I would understand her better. Over the years, as we grew closer is when I understood, that she remained quiet through it all to “let it go” and not say anything to me that she would regret! I hope she would forgive me for misunderstanding her strength! It left me with a loud impact!
Bhai and Sam visited me in medical school and we went hiking in the caves! A Fun road trip! She even put-up with the “stressed-out me” during the tough years of my medical school. I fondly remember she would make me sandwiches for lunch to take to my training hospital. That was the sweetest thing!
I was in my residency training when she was diagnosed with cancer. I had the burden of knowing the disease course, chemo side-effects, and possibility of disease progression. I did not want to see her go through any of that! I had already lost too many patients and friends to cancer. She always kept her “Game Face On” every time I saw her. It was inspiring and refreshing! It made me feel strong to ignore what science had taught me because she was going to fight it regardless of what came her way!
Who knew what she was really going through?! She never said a word – A Loud Silence!
I am fortunate to have been with her through her tough days. We discussed diagnosis, treatment options, physician reputations, and plan of care. We made a night trip to the hospital
once to get pumped up with some fluids during her chemo sessions. Poor appetite and distaste were often distractors to some great conversations. She would be more smiles than words, as always! Smiling silently!
Her thoughts definitely resonated through her actions. I have never seen a fighting spirit like hers; for Bhai (Abi) and Armeen. She was bold, had her opinions (and stuck to her guns!), and she was quite funny too! I remember her saying jokes in the hospital room (She said that the doctors made their presence in the room like Bombay’s political/religious leaders. They merely come for a few seconds, say powerful statements and leave with authority. Thus, as the people of India, we should go to the parking lots and huddle to crowd by their cars and scream – Doc!O-Doc! Save Us!! Save Us!! Jai Ho Doc!) Hahahha…..A loud laughing Sammy!
When she was diagnosed with metastasis, my face turned pale, heart sank, and mind went blank. I have been trained to know the prognosis of stage 4 cancer. I had the burden of knowing too much! I balled my eyes out to my boss at work that day! When I reached home, I sat in the car thinking of ways to not let her see through me! I remembered her “Game Face” and used that as my inspiration! With my “Game Face”, I hugged her tight! She asked me “How much time do I have?” I was scared too but I was honest and I said “As long as you fight this things ass, it can’t beat you!”
Sam truly fought and kicked ass for months on end until her last breath!! I saw her fight it through radiation and hospitalizations. A silent example of perseverance!
I feel so blessed to have been by her side during her last breaths! I looked at her eyes (fixed and dilated pupils) to pronounce her time of death. I saw a sparkling victory. She reminds us all (and specially Armeen) to never give up!
Sam and I shared amazing memories but sadly only a few were captured in photos. A Chinese lunch out, a Christmas sparkle, and a beautiful Fairy-tale Wedding story (True Love comes to very fortunate people and she surely was the special one!!)