free stats Carmen's Web: "Ready to Go"
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
"Ready to Go"
My father's most recent, favorite saying is "I'm ready to go". At 58 years old, he says that he's lived all his dreams and can't ask for anything more. "I've married the woman of my dreams and have spent the past forty years falling more and more in love with her, I have two of the greatest children in the world, and I've had a job that I look forward to going to everyday. I can't ask for anything more. I'm ready to go."

My mother hates it when he says that. She hates it when people tempt fate. She'll never say the word "cancer"; she won't even whisper it. It's too dangerous, she says. She abhors baby showers, believing that celebrating something before it happens is basically toying with fate. (Her firstborn was stillborn and I think she still carries the pain of that). Life and death are something my mother refuses to treat lightly.

As I was sitting with my father at the dining room table watching him fill out some forms for his bypass, I heard him muttering something about how irritating it is that people are making such a big deal about this surgery. "Ya3ni, nothing's gonna happen. And so what if it does? I'm ready to go".

I hated the way it sounded right then. It's quite a lovely sentiment--he's lived the life he's always wanted to live. How many people can actually say that? But to hear it from his mouth an hour before his procedure just tugged at my heart.

I've been feeling sick all day. Nausea, dizziness, trouble breathing. I've been mentally prepared for my father's heart bypass, but apparently my body didn't get that message. I'm not worried about my father dying. That's honestly the LAST thing on my mind. Even if there were a .03% chance of fatality, I still cannot grasp that concept. My father is going to die when he's approaching his 90s, healthy as a horse; he's going to die in his sleep. Anything else is just incomprehensible. What's bothering my body, I think, is the discomfort he's going to feel in the next couple of days. And the raw emotions that seem to have taken me by surprise in the past couple of days.


The only time I've ever broken my father's heart was when I broke off my engagement three years ago. He was SO angry at me. He spent days trying to convince me that I was making the wrong decision, that I should marry my fiance regardless of how I felt; that I owed it to him and my mom. He told me that I had lied to him, had betrayed him, that I was ruining my life. My own fiance did not react the way my father did!

I know my father was just talking shit. He was TERRIFIED. I had found myself a good Muslim man and decided to let him go. You just don't do that if you're a Muslim woman living in AMERICA. If you're lucky enough to have a Muslim man that doesn't try to control your life, that lets you be who you want to be, that doesn't stifle you, you just DO NOT let him go. Regardless of how you feel.

And I really wish I could've appeased my parents, but I just couldn't go through with it. And it wasn't just cold feet. We had been growing apart, we both wanted different things, and there was just no possible way for it to work, regardless of how much we both tried. In the end there were no hard feelings and we've both managed to live our lives without much regret.

But I knew at that moment that I would have to harden my heart towards my parents because I would lose them one day. My parents were thrilled when I presented them with my fiance. I was young, but they didn't care. They knew I'd wait till I graduated college to actually get married, so they weren't too worried about the age thing. One of their biggest fears was that I'd fall in love with a non-Muslim and that's when all hell would break loose. Imagine their happiness when I fell in love with an Egyptian, a Muslim, a wonderful man. Their dreams had come true.

When I broke up with my fiance one of the things my father said (that's still etched in my memories) was, "if you don't marry him, you will never get married". He wasn't trying to be overly dramatic. He understood the difficulties of living in America and finding a Muslim man to marry. To marry a non-Muslim is just unacceptable in my family. And this is why I've had to harden my heart. It is highly unlikely that I will marry a Muslim. HIGHLY unlikely. And when the day comes that I introduce my parents to my non-Muslim boyfriend and tell them that this is the man I'm going to marry, I'm going to destroy them. And in turn they're going to destroy me.

I'm not sure what kind of reaction they're going to have. I know that they'll be angry and that they will stop talking to me. I don't think they'll disown me for life, but I'll be disowned for long enough. I have not been able to love my parents the way I want to love them because of this hardened heart. I don't want to be completely destroyed when they stop talking to me. I'll be hurt, yes. But I needed to make sure that I'd still be able to survive. I'm not afraid to show them love and affection, but I can't seem to completely let myself go.

I wanted to hug my father yesterday when he was leaving to the hospital, but for some reason I just couldn't. I kissed him, he kissed me, and we joked around as he was heading to the car, but I just couldn't hug him. I was afraid of the raw emotions, afraid of breaking down in tears and having him misunderstand my feelings. I know he would've thought that I was worried about his operation. It never would've occurred to him that my heart was thawing against my will and reaching out to him as he was readying to go.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:16 PM
| link to this post
| 6 added their 2 cents worth! |

Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

Want more? Click here!

You can email me here image hosting and photo sharing