Tuesday, May 11, 2021
My Father Teaches Me to Surrender to The Moment
I was writing the excerpt below yesterday…
“Today something unexpected happened.
I went into my father’s chambers to access the balcony.
And, he was asleep.
It was 5 p.m.
Father never sleeps at that hour.
My father’s daily routine resembles that of a marine.
He showers and has his meals, midday nap, cigarette and music sprees, showers at fixed hours.
I could tell he was sleeping so peaceful and blissfully.
The TV screen rendered keynotes of classical music. I believe this time it was the orchestra with Viena. You should know by now, dear Reader, that baba wakes, lives and sleeps to music.
And it is from him that I must have inherited the passion for el flamenco.
The very seed of this as well as those of the rose stem from his very heart.
I hope I shall plant the seeds I’ve inherited soon, maybe this summer, in a brand new garden.”
… when I felt something awkward. Very awkward. Because I knew father doesn’t go to sleep at that hour.
I kissed his feet, went to the balcony to fetch what I needed, and silently slipped out of the room, like the Pink Panther.
The start of the week was a very good one in terms of workout activity and well-being.
A blessed Monday.
Late in the night, I heard Madame Julieta speaking on the phone with the ambulance, giving them directions about how to enter our block of flats. They’d gone to the back entrance and that was locked. Madame Julieta directed them to the front entrance.
I was so into my sleep I could hardly wake up.
I woke up.
As normal as such a situation can get, two ambulance squads burst in, alternatively.
First, the SMURD (Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication) crew came in, followed by the team with the Ambulance of Bucharest.
In total 5 persons. All around Abusamra’s bed. My dear baba.
They couldn’t tell whether it was a stroke - which I feared so much, biliary colic or anything else, given his chronic diagnostics, already.
The main challenge of the moment: Do we take him or not to the hospital?
He can’t speak as of 2002. His dizziness is ongoing.
I think to myself: “Nay.”
Can’t tell madame Julieta though. If when there is no crisis, my message doesn’t get across… then how about speaking in a moment of crisis?
Due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic, we can’t accompany him inside the hospital. I mean Julieta can’t.
Moments of suspense.
Julieta asks father: “Do you want us to go to the hospital?”
Why would you ask him — when he can’t (British accent) speak, already?
She says “I am taking him tomorrow to the Fundeni Hospital. We have his monthly appointment."
“When is the appointment due?” I ask.
“We leave the house at 7”, she replies.
“Yes, you might call the ambulance at 6:00 to take you there,” the crew with the Ambulance advises.
The crew talks to Julieta, and Julieta to them.
I am standing by, watching the whole scene unfold.
My soul... trembling like a rabbit.
The SMURD crew advises us to wait.
The SMURD crew leaves.
Whereas the crew with the Ambulance of Bucharest remains.
All of them leave.
We put Abusamra to sleep with the thought of calling the ambulance — again, should it be necessary.
Thank God, it wasn't.
I can’t (British accent) go to sleep.
I smoke a cigarette stretched over the window.
Please be informed that I ain’t a regular smoker. However, I puff a niche cigarette every once in a while, in coffee shops or by the seashore. And sometimes, every now and then.
By God, 4 gentlemen and a lady of the medical staff in our house.
And this very night my pyjamas don’t fit. I am wearing a blouse of blue pyjamas with trousers of pink and white pyjama.
My looks are those of a human sprung out of a chaotic wardrobe.
And I can't go to bed. I wait for 6 o'clock to arrive so that I make sure they go safe and sound to the hospital. Only to understand, later on of course, that the time for going to the hospital was due for Wednesday morning. And not for today.
I came to the gardens, the Cismigiu Gardens. They always save the day.
By the artificial lake, by the fragrant sunny branches and by the colourful flowers I swear, I need nature like waves need the seashore.
The chirping of the birds accompanied by the smooth ripple of the artificial lake surely saved the day.
Such moments between death and life have us appreciate every moment so much more, don’t you think?
From St James to Park Guell and from Gülhane Park to the one in Taormina, I have walked my way. But for Cismigiu, I have so special a feeling. It has caressed me all through the pandemic. Somehow it has contributed greatly to restoring my inner balance. It has also been a great companion for cleaning my chakras, as well.
Father’s chronic disease has had me appreciate the collateral beauty of this strenuous, grave, foggy, tremulous, unstable, full of adrenaline circumstance.
The morning following the incident I came to the Cismigiu Gardens for this so much needed early dose of oxygen, post-Abusamra’s NO “#^&*()th" incident. It’s as if I go for a bit behind the veil, into the dark shadows and then, thankfully, I return to myself, to life… or life returns to me. It goes without saying, you never know if he is returning or leaving us, for good.
Julieta phones me.
“Father needs medication X. I will text you the dosage needed so that you know what to buy.”
“Do you need it as we speak or in a bit?” I ask her.
“He has to eat first. Hence you have got time.”
Father Has Risen
The following day, as I enter the house for I’d returned from my short low battery stroll, I see my father walking his way towards the kitchen.
When I left the house, father’s face was as livid as a blank sheet of paper.
When I returned, his face has retrieved its colours.
I looked at him in astonishment. He was crawl-walking no more, he was energetically walking.
Nini, my eldest sister and the apple of my eye went like:
“Father has risen!”
And I nodded in confirmation:
“Indeed he has.”
I don’t know how he does it.
He comes back into his senses as if nothing has ever happened.
Whereas I -- I struggle to regain my strength.
The night following the incident I went to bed at 10:00 PM and slept until 9:30 AM, the next day.
It doesn’t, it doesn’t get any easier.
It never does.
I can’t (British accent) get used to losing my father.
And I can’t imagine my days without the breeze of him, dearest Abusamra.
Because I can’t breathe without the oxygen rendered by his vibrantly loving heart.
His presence is pure sunshine.
And I can’t do without.
And I am in the park writing this post.
Somehow, I needed to speak.
I have gotten used to not speaking to anyone about this, dear Reader.
And I need hours or even days to stop shivering like a scared rabbit.
My inner being shivers like a rabbit.
My soul trembles in fear.
Tremulous dry currents of fear invade the deepest chambers of my self.
Every time this happens, I am lost for my very existence.
“Are you leaving me, dearest Dad?”
I struggle with breathlessness. As if I were and were not breathing, in the twilight of the unknown.
And it is real, every time.
I am losing him in that moment… ever since 2002.
That’s when we had gotten to know exactly what his diagnostic is all about.
However, he had the first stroke in 1995.
Abusamra and his Julieta
Father Abusamra and Madame Julieta resume functioning as humans. As if in one moment alone, the breath of life hadn’t left him.
Whereas I, my world shattered into at least 1001 pieces, I struggle to cope back with life.
I can’t help it.
One moment can change everything.
Although I don’t get back into my senses as fast as they do, I still do regain my strength in comparison to people I interact with. And that’s why, I think, at times, people have some difficulty in coping with me and my way of being. And I might be perceived as if … I don’t feel.
When in fact, I feel too much.
Growing up in survival mode, I couldn’t be any different than who I am today.
When I was to wake up following the afore-described incident, Madame Julieta will have gone to Abu Bacri to fetch falafel dough and other gourmet Arabic ingredients. Moreover, she will have already prepared the falafel for dinner. I will look at her and be in awe. A wonder woman always standing and standing on her feet. A wonder woman carrying on.
Life does not stand a chance but yield to them, the Power Couple: Julieta and her Mohamad Romeo, Abusamra of the Citadel of Damascus.
And there is no other way but to make it through.
For life is happening now.
At times, life is a train called “Survive” and survival mode -- waits on, no one.
One either makes it or makes it.
Perhaps the train called Love might wait on us though?
Concert on Stingray Classica Channel father is beaming with pleasure and heartily smiling.
As if — nothing has happened to him today.
More alive than ever, he is enjoying this moment of life, to the fullest.