family, life

The Chasm Distance Makes

After almost a year I put aside the usual mumbo jumbo of “life” to go back home to see my family. After a rejuvenating three days I woke up in the early morning packed my bags and tiptoed into my parent’s room to say goodbye to my mother. She was shivering. Her forehead was warm. “I’m OK. Its just a cold” she whispered as I hugged her goodbye.

My father is out of town for work and my brothers like me, are grown and gone. She doesn’t need me. A pot of tea and a can of soup aren’t complicated. But does anyone need anyone most of the time? Did I need her to press my forehead when I was sick as a child? Or make pakoras and fruit chaat every day for iftaar? It was one part obligation, but it was three parts love. And I can’t return the favor because I have places to go, I have things to do.

They say distance can be a good thing. That absence makes the heart grow fonder. That one should not live in the same cities as their parents. Something about conflicts. Avoiding them. Maybe, sometimes. But right now it just seems like a thing you say to make yourself feel better. Right now I want nothing more than to be there for her. But I can’t. I’m too far away. I have to live with the knowledge that the one who spent her entire life making sure mine could be easier, will be home alone tonight with no one to make her chicken soup. And maybe the emotion is too strong, but right now, this singular thought affects me deeply, as though creating an irreperable cut directly to the core, a chasm, a gulf, which feels as though it can never fully close.

12 thoughts on “The Chasm Distance Makes”

  1. Aisha, I felt every bit of this post. *Hugs* I know it may be hard for you right now, but one thing I know, mothers are strong (or at least they pretend they are). Hope she gets well soon Insha’Allah.


  2. I hope your mother is feeling well soon.The first time we moved, we were 30 minutes from my parents, which was perfect. We were far enough to be independent and not unhealthily inter-meshed, but close enough to see each other a couple times a week, if we chose.Financial reasons have moved us to a city nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes away, which is just far enough to force us to have to plan visits. Now we see each other only once a month with the gas prices the way they are…This is hard when you come from a close knit family.My Mom always has my Dad there with her, so I don’t worry about her. But just today I wasn’t feeling well. I laid down in my bed and it’s funny – I thought about how I wished my Mom was there to take care of me. I am really thankful for her good mothering and never take it for granted. No one’s toast and tea taste the same when you’re sick 🙂


  3. My mother was hospitalized on Monday. I was the first one there. Because of my father’s disability and my siblings irresponsibility I am always the one there. In many ways I am glad to do it–I feel I owe her. She is my mother, the one who gave me life and cared for me as a child. But there are many, many times I wish I lived in a different city. But if I did I my resentment would probably be replaced by guilt. It’s not an easy road, no matter what.


  4. you put it beautifully. These are the things that we say to make ourselves feel better. Different cities, different states, different lives, different problems. Buffers we create so we can forget about our guilt. Conflicts are a part of life, yet muslims have made it their goal to avoid all conflicts at all costs. Rather than dealing with them, lets just cut the source out of the picture! Guilty i am.


  5. wow, that was quite thought provoking. I think most people try not to think of such things and keep these feelings buried deep inside. So that we dont feel guilty about it as we go forward trying to achieve things in life that we’ve worked for all our lives.And then we come across a post like this and we stop for a moment and actually start thinking about what we’re really doing … but unfortunately that doesnt last very long and we forget about it in less than an hour 😦And the saddest thing is that most of the people who will read this (including me) will agree completely but still not do anything about it. :((


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