One phone call and suddenly I stopped in my tracks, all my plans for the day dropped and anxious thoughts rushed in. Donna has been diagnosed of breast cancer. Just last year we were in the graduation party of her daughter Emily. I felt pain rising in my heart and tears welled up in my eyes as I hung up and turned to inform Aaliyah who was preparing a checklist for the Halloween party in the end of the month.
We both just sat together in the living room with Kong sleeping in my lap. Suddenly all our excitement and positivity was gone and I felt kind of hopeless. “Donna didn’t deserve this now when she’d just got over from her responsibilities as a single mom. This was her time to rejoice and fully live her life.” Aaliyah was mumbling as if she was talking to herself. Many such questions of self-doubt and self-pity emerged in my mind as well.
Why Donna? Why now? I went about the routine tasks of the day with this question in my mind. After a lot of reflection and contemplation. I recalled the conversation I once had with Donna. She seemed to be upset with her family. She had bitterness in her heart. She was angry when life wasn’t fair. She’s always been a social activist, raising her voice against the injustice and tyrannies in the society, she is a hardcore professional at work and she always keeps a straight face covering her emotions underneath her makeup. She would never let herself be taken lightly. She never likes being the subject of our jokes. Although she is extremely kind and loves all unconditionally.
I was ruminating over and over while driving to her apartment. I walked in through the door and saw her sitting with the remote control in her hands and she was watching a laughter show on the television. She had no makeup on and she was in her PJs. This was so unlike her.
She gestured me to sit beside her. She switched off the television, turned towards me and said, “Don’t give me that look, Bob! I went to the church this Sunday with the same question that is bothering you today and it dawned on me that God wants me to now look after myself unapologetically. I have worked enough for my company, my kids and my society. He wants me to fix myself now.
I am working on my health regime and my diet. I am also working towards expressing the suppressed emotions that’ve got stuck in here,” she said pointing towards her heart.
“It is Autumn, like the trees shed old leaves, I am also letting go of emotions that aren’t needed anymore, resentment, anger , greed and sadness. I am forgiving people in my life for playing the role that they were meant to play to push me out of my comfort zone. I am thanking all the people who blessed me with their presence and that includes you, Bob.” She continued and for the first time I saw tears in her eyes. We hugged and she allowed me to cry.
“Above all,” I responded, “I need you to forgive yourself. You’ve been too tough on yourself.”
She nodded, too emotional to talk. I fixed some coffee for both of us and Aaliyah joined us with her famous pumpkin pie and pretzels.
We realized life is to be lived in each moment. If it tastes bitter, you accept it, change it or let it be depending upon how important it is for you and others and if the moment is sweet, relish it, be grateful for it. In both the cases you just let it go. Holding on eventually leads to pain. Shed the blames and the claims. You are creating your joy and pain. There is no one out there. It is just you and the world is how you see yourself.
See you in the comments.