I debated on whether to share this very candid and raw experience that I had earlier this week on Tuesday. Yet, so many thousands of you have been with me on my journey with battling cancer and still coping with my grief over Abdullah’s death, that it just seems fair and fitting. But be prepared. I’m going to expose innermost emotions and fears. I am doing this in the hopes that it will make me stronger.
I still miss him ever so much. 30 September is not that far away and 30 September 2012 would have been 10 years since our “first marriage.” Now I knew shortly after our first marriage, Abdullah was not the best person about remembering dates. After all, it was not just a Gregorian date but one he had to remember from the Islamic hijri date as well. Therefore, when our first anniversary came around, I had prepared myself not to be disappointed that he might not remember the day. Additionally, it is not typical for a Saudi couple to actively track and celebrate anniversaries. But, yes, I was prepared to let him know that I could never forget that first special moment when we pledged our lives and love together forever.
I had a very special gift in store for him. Well, of course I first gave him the card with special words expressing all the joy, beauty and light he had brought in to my life. Then, without making him squirm too much as he realized he had not reciprocated in turn, I handed him a small lightweight package. Inside the package was a silver sconce with the words engraved in English and Arabic, “never forget 30 September.”
Naturally, my dear and gentle Desert Prince never forgot 30 September. He made sure I knew each day thereafter that every day was like a 30 September for him. I never doubted the love he had for me in every spore of his body.
Now fastforwarding the last few months as I have been battling new changes with cancer, I’ve had some emotional scares and scars. Abdullah’s image, voice, mannerisms have always been crystal clear to me. But with the latest ravages on my body, I felt his presence was starting to slip away from me. I’d find myself holding photos of him in my lap and running my fingers over each detail. Then I’d close my eyes and try to recreate the photo with my memory but not succeeding. My god..what was going on? I actually had a few panic attacks feeling he was disintegrating and leaving me to continue to battle alone. I was afraid to speak of this to anyone because it did not really sound sane..at least not to practical and stoic me.
Then on Tuesday I was back in the hospital for being a real goober. (yes…I am dating myself with that expression but you know if the shoe fits….) I had blacked out and fallen over the weekend. When I awakened it was to find I was on my back and could not move my foot. Thankfully all I had done to myself was give myself a severely sprained ankle. Tuesday’s tests ruled out there was no seizure, brain disorder or any possible indication of something dark. But I was at the hospital for about six hours of tests. While I was in the holding area a female Muslim doctor walked past me. She was tranquil, calm and wearing her lovely headscarf and long skirt. I never said a word to her but as she passed by, Abdullah’s vision came the clearest to me as it had ever been in months. I felt so cherished and blinded by the love and warmth. I calmed down. My anxiety dissipated and I knew I was going to rise above this fugue I had been fighting.
Abdullah and I formed a bond I never knew could exist between a man and a woman. We had our differences sure, but the love was always there. I have all the confidence it will always be there and while I can not snuggle up to him like the old days, I know he will always be watching over and protecting me in death as fiercely and possessively as he has did with life.