By Asma Raja
After my mom’s surgery, she was on medication for cancer. I remember having to change everything about my life. I had to do everything for myself for once. Before cancer, mom was up before me and made breakfast and lunch. Now I got up and did everything by myself. I got money for lunch. I remember that when I didn’t want to go to school or was really ill I had to wake her up and tell her that I wasn’t going to go to school.
My high school years (esp the first 2) were the most difficult. I now recognize I had adolescent depression. I used to hate my life and I was rebelling my religion. I hated having to wear a “burkha.” I hated not being able to wear jeans or whatever I wanted. Even when I had to go across the street I had to put it on. It was horrible and added fuel to my depression. Thank God I had liberal parents and I didn’t wear it on many occasions like parties, weddings, at certain restaurants and some other places. I was happiest when I wasn’t wearing it and doing my own thing. My fondest memories was at our beach house despite all the adults arguing and being fussed about the time, food and other worries. I was carefree and enjoyed the beach.
As I grew older I realized that there was no need to be so depressed, I was still unhappy and I never understood why. I never once prayed accordingly but instead I prayed to God with all my heart and crying to him. I remember that in 2004 I went to England for my cousin Kavindar’s wedding. There I reconnected with my aunt Rehana. I finally found solace, there she explained there is no need for such hate as it only leads to bad thoughts but more of to be aware of oneself and pray however one pleases.
I went back to Dar and was a little more happier and I started to apply to schools in USA as it would be cheaper than England. I came to U.S and my aunt and I had many great conversations and I was finally free. I found out in June/July of 2005 that my immigrant visa had come through. I thought that I would never get it before I was 21 thus I went to USA as an international student. But in August I went back to Dar and our papers and stuff
My parents and I came to USA in Jan 2006. There are two other stories connected to this story but I’ll leave that for another time. I am just concentrating on my trauma for now.
So I have been in the USA for 4 yrs now. In 2007 mom complained of stomach problems (which was cancer but we didn’t know) she was misdiagnosed with ulcers.
In around June 2008 she got very ill and my dad took her to India where they found abnormal cancerous cells and we didn’t tell her then – my family didn’t tell anyone which was a mistake. Only my immediate family ie. my parents, my bro, me and my aunts’ families knew.
The doctors told us she had 3 months but we fought it so hard that she lived till November 2009. We did everything we could. I went twice to Dar es salaam in December 2007 and June 2008? (I am not sure). In June she had become more ill than December and I took care of her. I don’t know how she made it to America in June 2009 but it was good because she got to see me and my bro and my aunt (Rehana) and uncle (Shamshu). I am glad she came as they got to see her for the last time as well as me. In Early November my brother went to dar (which was the best decision as one, he was closer to her and two, I was still in Uni). My bro was there when mom passed. I had said my goodbye here and astrally(I went to her and my brother in their dreams which I remember as well). I didn’t feel guilty for not being there or anything as I did all I could for her.
That’s my story.
“I was born and raised inTanzanaia ( E.Africa). My family has been there for 6 generations now. We still speak Gujrati which is our mother tongue. I also speak Hindi and Swahili .
I love being who I am and having the values and respect that I was brought up with. I love being outdoors and enjoying nature. I am the Save-the-Planet type of girl..not a hippie…not vegetarian or vegan.
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