When sorrow comes, we have no right to ask “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way ~ Anonymous.
Do condolences trump congratulations in order? Does sadness overshadow happiness? Does hope beat despair? When two things of completely opposite nature exist side by side, you can only pause at the fork in the road and physically decide which way to go. You can go down the unhappy road because its easier to indulge that why me? thingy in life. Or you can take that sorrow strap it on and move down the happiness lane. The sorrow will always be there, attached to your side, sometimes feeling heavier on days when you are more tired, more vulnerable, but the winner should always be happiness because if its not, you are not being fair to what you get.
An old cousin of my grandmothers who came a visiting soon after we got Leila home seriously advised me that we should try to never let Leila find out she had a twin sister because it could affect her in ways we don’t know. Another old lady (you can see its a generation thing) was hell bent on focusing on how Leila has such a burden to carry because she is one half of a twosome- that she looked wiser than babies do, that she has seen loss and sadness beyond her age. I guess its true, misery does love company. A lot of people- especially older generations- are so much more in mode where the drama of loss is concerned as opposed to the joy of gain. I got a lot more attention this time also- because people came to condole with us rather than to congratulate us- and they would always start by saying how sorry they were. I would feel my smile freeze a bit because as much as Zoya being gone affected me, Leila being there was more potent, more real, more important. I wanted that to be the priority- my beautiful little baby girl who was there and I simply couldn’t understand why others did not see that. A friend actually asked me if I would be sending out the sweets and birth announcement as I had done at Nadi’s time given “all that has happened”. I was stumped. I hadn’t even thought NOT to. (see accompanying pic!)
Over the last two months, there are so many things I have wondered about grief, tests, happiness and how we as people handle it all especially when they come so close together. A cousin who is actually quite close sounded absolutely awkward when he called me- and in the end it was me who ended up holding the entire conversation while he just laughed or answered monosyllabically. Ironically enough, some complete strangers managed to find the most perfect words, words that reduced me to what I will call healing tears. Some people did not give words a chance. When S finally got in town a few weeks later, she didn’t feel the need to say something, she just crossed the room right over and hugged me, again with the tears conveying so much more than words could. Some people who I thought were close enough to barge through all those barriers one puts up to test others, shut themselves out completely, making me feel both resentful and needy.
What you need at a confusing time is really honestly…confusing. You cannot really judge or blame others for not knowing what to do because you don’t know yourself what will strike the right chord when and what will seem like intrusion. But you do anyways. You figure that something like this- something this huge requires them to figure it out- demands that they put aside all their social awkwardness and questions and simply figure out the realest, most genuine way to make their support felt. And many times, you are deeply maniacally grateful for those people who didn’t care and burst through the proprieties to take charge without asking you over and over again what they should do and when they should visit and how do you feel. They just showed up with the cheesecake and coffee and plonked down on the nearest chair to tell you the gossip. They didn’t feel the need to nod understandingly and ask “How are you coping?” And the best part is that they didn’t feel the need to avoid it either.
I don’t know what impact, if any, being one half of a twinset will have on Leila’s life just yet. I know many people in their duas said that she will bring me her sisters share of the joy also- and inshallah she will but that’s not important to me. What is important is that she realizes that though she may have come to us in trying circumstances, but she has brought us complete and utter joy and was actually the reason we were able to turn what could have been a very hard test into a complete blessing.