“Life is made up of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along that defines every second that comes after.” – Sabaa Tahir in An Ember In The Ashes
That defining moment in our lives was when Sam looked around at all of us, you included, held your hand, smiled at us and closed her eyes forever. You were too little to remember any of it, which is why we want to help you understand.
The pain we feel in our hearts when we lose someone we love is indescribable. It was indescribable even back then, when the battle was on. You may feel lost at times too, but it’s possible that we may not be able to understand it. Not everyone does. That’s going to hurt us more. But we think of that defining moment, and we move on. We straighten up, put a smile on our faces, think of all the good times, hold our heads up high, and we move on. I’m going to try and lay out an analogy for you so you understand what I’m talking about. About that one moment that defines every second that comes after. Imagine holding on to something really tight. Clench your fist and hold on to it with all your life. Then imagine someone trying to open that fist and set the thing you’re holding free. But you don’t let that happen. You hold on tighter still. Now imagine instead of that one person trying to release your clutch, it’s the entire universe coming together and trying to help you let it go. You try and hold on even tighter. You shake, squirm, twist, turn, do what you have to in order to hold on. You know the right thing to do is to let go but you don’t want to and you try your hardest not to. You want to let go but also want to remember, and your biggest fear is that letting go will make you forget. And so you hold on tighter than ever. Until one fine day, you realize that that something you’re holding on to doesn’t fit in your hands anymore and letting go is the only way to move on. And so you take a deep breath, close your eyes and think of that day in the hospice, when Sam looked around at all of us, you included, held your hand, smiled at us and closed her eyes forever. She had outgrown her place in this world and it was time for her to move on to better things. She however, made sure she left the world a better place by just being in it for the little time that she was. And of course, by putting you in it! :) And that is how, we all move on.
But this is about the moment that now defines our lives. I’d like to tell you about the moment that I think defined hers. We never had the opportunity to talk about it, but I’m sure most people who knew your mum would agree with me on this. The moment that defined Sam’s life was when she heard she was going to have you. See, if you knew your mum before you came into her life, you would know she’d prefer being a minimum of 5 miles away from children. So the thought of her having a child of her own was as far fetched as any. Even then, this one day I remember when she was contemplating getting married to daddy, she and I were discussing the big decision she was about to take. That time she said to me, with the biggest smile on her face and a glint in her big black eyes, “Zeba! Imagine if I have babies in the US, they’ll all speak with an accent! ” Hahaha that is typical Sameera for you! She’d get excited like a child by the littlest of things. Hopefully, that wasn’t the deciding factor to marry daddy ;) But jokes apart, she married daddy (for all the right reasons, I can assure you ;)) and 1 year later, you were on the way! I don’t remember my sister ever being happier about me telling her how fat she’s gotten or looking at herself in the mirror and just loving those extra pounds that until 1 year ago she tried so hard to get rid of!
And then you arrived! From that day to 3.5 years hence, you were her world, and she was yours! Nothing would make her happier than to watch you grow. She’d wait eagerly for the weekends to Skype with us and tell us about the newest things you said or did that week! And wait for us to squeal with excitement and tell her how proud we are of you! She wanted to be your best friend, for you to have your first drink with her when you turned 16, to be her travel buddy, to give you the best life she possibly could. And she wished that till the time she closed her eyes forever. You could tell by the way she looked at daddy and you, held your hand and let a smile across her lips, that day in the hospice.
I used to send her a lot of music when she was battling her disease, as she said it would calm her down. One of the songs I sent her was “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, because I thought it was a very inspirational number that she would definitely love listening to. It was the first time I had heard it and thought of her instantly. To my surprise, she immediately messaged me back saying “Armeen makes me listen to this song on loop all day!” Both of us laughed about it because you were clearly ahead of me as far as the American Top 40 was concerned ;) but you also somehow just knew the songs that would be right for Mamma at the time! After Mamma said her final goodbyes, I would catch you a number of times talking to yourself, with your hand on your heart, trying to have a conversation with her. I’m sure you did too. This one time on Skype, when you were opening the presents your cousins had sent to you from India, you removed from the bag a diary which had a heart drawn on it. You looked at the heart, turned to us and with such a big smile on your face you said, “Look! Mamma sent me a heart!” It made us so happy to see you happy. We wish that you keep her in your heart always. That she is the best friend you can talk to whenever you want, and know she is watching over you. That when you celebrate your birthdays, you blow a candle out for her too. That if and when you have your first drink, you raise a toast to her. That when you graduate, you know she is the proudest person up there in heaven. That whenever you travel, you take her with you. It is these moments, amongst many others, that will remind you of her more than ever. So keep her with you. Just the way she’s keeping you, and all of us, with her always.