the big fat cliché

Six months ago today, Zoya passed away.

Some days I still can’t believe it so I say it out loud thinking it might sound real. It doesn’t. I cannot believe I was having identical twin girls. I can’t believe that I only have one of them now. I cannot believe I am one of those stories we always grew up hearing with this morbid fascination- the lost a baby ones. Its so hard to try to describe it without sounding like a great big dramatic cliché. Infact everything about the last six months has been a whole boatload of cliches. Time flying. Love overwhelming. Emotions overflowing. Dark depths. Soaring highs. The complete opposites I was dealt with- one gorgeous baby girl in hand and one in heaven. It sometimes reads like a badly written novel where you are taking refuge in the oft heard words to avoid facing what the true depth of feelings really is.

I am absolutely blown away by how much I love her. How much I miss her. See? Even more cliches. As a grammar and language snob, I have always disliked clichés, feeling they are a last ditch resort and effort to sound meaningful. But the hard truth is clichés became what they are because they actually ARE clichéd. The phrase “sick feeling in my stomach” when I think of that day when I walked out of the NICU does not do justice to how it was. The world shifting underneath my feet is such a typical way of describing the fact that I actually felt it slide out from underneath me. I wish I had words which were more potent to describe all the darkness and lightness of life since the girls were born but everything sounds so…heard of. Like it isn’t mine to tell. I want to write to do justice to the memory of the beautiful little girl who touched my life in those 2 short days. I want to do more than justice to the life of the one I have the honour of holding everyday. I just feel I don’t have the words worthy of it.

The last 6 months have been a blessing in every which way- K, Nadi, Leila, Leena, family, friends, even work and general busy-ness of life- but they say the first rule of healing is grieving alone. I have been healing so well – ordinarily there is too much joy (and other errands) to focus on the loss but the loss is there and suddenly on some days, it springs up from behind you to catch you unawares and you are left breathless at how real, how recent and how painful it still is. I think of those people who have lost their kids after knowing them for much longer- having known their personalities, their likes and dislikes and I marvel at their strength to be able to go on- have coffee, laugh at jokes, live their life. I do it too, of course and its not a hard thing at all when you have much else to be thankful about, thank God, but there are moments that come by that leave you crumbly and wanting to hide out under the blanket. Which is when you actually realize how much you should be thankful for those things that force you to go on. Because along with the solo stuff, those too are a big part of the healing.

Each phase each milestone since then has been a step closer to something- I won’t call it peace because I haven’t felt otherwise. The peace was there from the moment I realized what was best for her, strangely enough. But I think each act of closure you perform physically makes a difference. At the time the girls were born, I was helping put together an Art show for my alma mater and taking part in it too. And the piece that finally happened was dedicated to Zoya. The concept was simple enough- it was my road map to that final healing. All those words that my wonderful people said to me, all the stuff that I associated with that entire process of accepting, all those put together to remind me to constantly be grateful for how much I am surrounded by.

And on that yet another wonderful cliché, I love you z.


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14 thoughts on “the big fat cliché”

  1. I bought this piece from the show. This piece strongly resonated with me, especially during the time period I bought in, was extremely turbulent on multiple levels.. Looking at it strangely bought me peace or explained a multitude of feelings I felt or thought I did or was supposed to.

    Its humbling to know its origins, and I know I will feel more for it now that I know its background

  2. I have come to the realization that everything in parenthood, the good and the bad, the love and the loss, EVERYTHING, is all an oft-heard “cliche” and thats okay.

    The “squeezing heart”, the intense love, the emotional rollercoaster, even the “I have no time!” that I say and every mother says, just proves to me that while my feelings are genuine and distinctly mine, my attempts at verbalizing them in words and phrases show that those feelings are universal for ALL moms. I feel a kinship because I know they feel about their kids the way I feel about mine. Instead of avoiding those cliches, I am embracing them and I am so proud to be part of this sisterhood of big emotions. 🙂


  3. Also…(cuz I realized my previous comment was all about me, me, me)….I wanted to tell you that you have always written about your children in a beautiful way…but the way you talk about Zoya is particularly heartbreakingly gorgeous.

    And reading it makes me want to hug you, and hold your hand and celebrate you and cry on your shoulder all at the same time.

  4. this is so beautifully written..
    i really cant imagine just how painful it must have been for you as you wrote.

    a very big hug to you. you’re always in my prayers.

  5. I agree with what Hiba says. That “the way you talk about Zoya is particularly heartbreakingly gorgeous.” And also that this post makes me want to celebrate you and cry with you..all at the same time.
    You’re a brave woman!

  6. Thats very well written, with each word directly striking my heart, making me know every emotion u go through..U are a brave gal, jammie and may Allah mian give u courage everyday to move on with it and Bless little angel with Jannah..Ameen 🙂

  7. So poignantly written. i shed a tear as I read your words….

    I have twin girls and I feel your pain — though I’m blessed to have them both in my heart and hand.

    so much power to you (yes, another cliche).


  8. *hugs* love your writing….but hugs because I know how difficult it is to actually put these feelings into words…. I for one haven’t been able to till today….(four years down the road)….and chose to bury it inside me….you are one brave mama

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