The grandmother I will always miss
|Vol XXVIII||NO. 156|
BY Amira Al Hussaini
My grandmother died just a few days ago. I did not go to the burial ceremony. I just couldn't bear it. I couldn't muster enough courage to see how we will all end up one day, so I stayed at home and wallowed in self-pity.
It is so hard to imagine that she has gone, that the day I once had nightmares about has come.
I keep waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me it's a bad dream, that it's not true.
She lived a simple life and left this world without much fanfare.
Though she was a grandmother to us all, she was actually my mother's aunt.
My real grandmother died at the age of 35, when my mother was young.
So when we were children, my mother's aunt took the place of granny and lived up to the role and more.
She is the only granny I have known, but she was even more than that.
She is the past that has gone, never to come back. The true spirit of Bahraini women.
At a young age, she was married off by her father to a much older pearl merchant, from a seaside village.
A few years later, her husband succumbed to bad debts and misery and eventually died, leaving her with two boys sick with sickle cell anaemia and a daughter.
They continued living in the village because in those days, that was it.
A woman's fate was sealed with marriage - wherever that took her.
Despite the terrible times, she held her head high and never once complained.
Her eldest son died just after getting married and starting a family.
Her second son died few years later and her daughter got married to a Saudi relative and moved to the Eastern Province.
My mother became a daughter to her and she became the mother my own mother missed and for us, she took the place of the grandmother who died before we were born.
She stayed in our house when we were growing up and then moved back to her real grandchildren when we were old enough to stand on our own feet.
I was the most attached to her because, to tell you the truth, I would actually sit down when told to sit, shut up when asked us to be quiet and do chores as best as I could - and I owe all that to her.
She taught me how to stitch and embroider. She would bring all this fabric out and thread of all hues and together we would stitch motifs and flowers and birds, on everything from pillow cases to my T-shirts.
Now she is gone.
She would tell me tales of the past - the Bahraini version of fairy tales - which she spiced up and altered to fit the mood and situation.
Now she is no more.
She lived to be old and deaf and her tongue got heavy with the passage of years.
Every time I saw her lately, she would ask me if I had just come back from school and whether I had finished my homework - even though I finished school 15 years ago.
I can always remember her being old. She saw her own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, yet I would have loved for her to have hung on still longer, to see my own children yet to come.
She was there for me as a child, picking up after me, teaching me right from wrong, giving me lessons in life and opening my mind to interesting hobbies.
I owe her a lot, but the truth is that as much as she was good to me, giving me and brother and sisters her unconditional love and care, I have let her down badly.
My visits to her grew infrequent, even though she lived close to places I go to regularly.
I was selfish and couldn't bring myself to see her sick and bedridden.
It broke my heart, but as much as I loved her, I shunned her.
At my hour of need, she was all there for me... at her hour of need, I was too busy.
May Allah bless her soul in peace and may he forgive me for being the ungrateful grand-daughter I had become.
May he forgive me for being just to too busy with life to look back and care for someone who meant and gave so much.