I mentioned in my previous post that I would speak more about family dynamics. So I’ll be doing as I’ve always done, speak from my heart to reach out to as many of you as possible. But this time about a deeper part of my life. This is a step up for me, so just as you’ve always done, I hope that you continue to treat me kindly in your response to my future prose and reflective accounts. Thank you.
I’m currently 20 years old, I’ve been through many things that have shaped the person I am now. Much of who I am now has come from battling out many of my past experiences. I can’t say I haven’t grown, for the transition from child to womanhood (in other words the period of adolescence) has been hard. I struggled to be a good daughter to my mother, I struggled to be a good daughter to my father, I struggled to be a good older sister, and I struggled to be a good younger sister. I struggled being a family member, trying to do what’s best for them, keeping in mind that I want them to die as good Muslims, good servants of God, whilst being faithfully duty bound as a daughter and a sister. None of that was easy, especially as I dealt with this alongside many other troubles outside my family life as well as being co-morbid. It still can be a struggle.
But I can tell you what at this very moment has come out of it. Respect. Admiration. Love. I’ve not heard my mother say to me in a few years that, “Promy, you’re not the right arm of a mother as daughters are for their mothers”. Which to you may not sound like a nice thing for her to have said to me, but it was true. I wasn’t. My mother who dedicated her whole life in raising her 3 children, my mother whom her daughter meant everything to her, who is her pride, felt that absence of a daughters support when she needed it the most.
And by the mercy of God, I stopped playing the role of that girl who was once just a ‘daughter’ who was a part of that household to be mothered and fathered by her parents. I took action and I actively went about doing things to better my relationships with my family members. I didn’t want to live a future where I was estranged from my 2 brothers, after we get older and live in separate households. I wanted to make sure that what I’ve seen happen in the generation above me amongst siblings, doesn’t happen to us. And that could only happen if I work hard to maintain my relationships before we ‘go our separate ways’. It was an investment, and one I continue to invest my energies into.
My mother eventually gave me the hardcore responsibility of taking care of my younger brother. And these last few years have brought about many periods of difficulty. There were many mistakes I made, so much I couldn’t comprehend, so much that left me emotionally unstable over what wasn’t in my control, and the inability of being able to change things. At the start of the year when all of this began, my best friend died from a terminal illness, so my brother who suddenly became ill, and who’s health was worsening, really messed with my anxiety. And this wasn’t the only time.
There are times when things are done to him by other people that I can’t stand, or things I worry about. I’m always worrying about him. And the devil called anxiety toys with these worries of mine. Worries that cause sustained periods of an increased heart rate, a high blood pressure of some sort. It brought me back to times a few years back when I was out and about all the time, arriving home at unsuitable times, my mother unaware of where I was when it got late, and her telling me, “Promy, I’m not able to sleep properly because of you.” And for the first time I experienced perhaps a fraction of what she had felt.
But parents, they’re so merciful. Truth is we’ve caused them so much grief then we will ever know. But all it takes is a little change, and they forgive you. Whatever my younger brother does, I never hold anything against him. Alhamdulillah. There have been times when I’ve cried so much because of the things he does at times, but they mean little-to-nothing when those elongated moments are over.
I want what’s best for him, and because of the love God has placed within me towards him, I can bear it all. It’s a mercy from God that He swt built this power called love. It is a power, and it is a mercy. If my parents didn’t love me, there is no way I’d still be here looking forward to my mother’s cooking, or my dad’s company. I’m at the mercy of their love.
There is irony in their love. It’s unconditional. It’s selfless. I was born from them, I was provided for by them, I was sheltered for by them, and I did nothing to earn any of that. Not as a foetus, nor as a baby, nor as a child, nor as a teenager. For many years, my utter dependancy lied towards them. Even now I’m provided for by them. I’ve always been on the receiving end of so much of that which they have dedicated their livelihood towards.
So there was a place I had to earn in their lives. A place where I could be their pride. It wasn’t about meeting expectations, it wasn’t about killing myself over failing if I didn’t. It was about making them happy, because they are my parents, and working my hardest, sacrificing, devoting myself towards this cause to achieve that.
That struggle it had to be there. The struggle still has to be there. Because if it isn’t something I’ve fought for it would have meant nothing to me. Likewise, my mother had to suffer the pangs of giving birth, to cradle me in her arms 20 years ago, my father had to work day in and day out, to set the food on the table, to enjoy watching me grow. It’s because they have struggled that I have that special meaning in their lives. And it’s something so many of us youth, who aren’t parents (yet) fail to recognise.
Right now (before I get married off at some point in my life) my ticket to Jannah (heaven) is through serving my parents. So if I were to die right now, I’d like to have earned a position in which God can tell me that I’ve done that. I know all too well how it feels to have a beloved person taken away from your life, and to bathe away in that guilt for not having had done the things I should have done as a servant of God within my friendship with that person. I don’t want to regret that ever again. It’s going to be painful enough as it is, the day I may experience the loss of a parent. Last thing I would want is more to regret, more for them to feel bad about (if I upset them). God forbid and continue to bathe me in His infinite mercy, āmeen.
A man came to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I intend to go on a (military) expedition, but I have come to ask your advice.” He said, “Is your mother alive?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Then stay with her, for the Garden is under her feet.” [Sahih]