My family whatsapp group, the official bearer of bad news.
Nani is sick.
Nani is in the hospital.
Nani is in the ICU. Please make dua.
Innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun. Nani has passed away.
Adnan was doing bench presses, we had Linkin Park blasting from his speakers. He asked me if I want to do them too, but my lazy bum wanted to play Pokemon Go from the couch. I opened my phone, and had 4 messages. I saw "Inna" and just knew. I opened whatsapp and while reading the messages, I said to him, "Nani passed away".
We stared at each other in shock. Smiled. Asked each other, "are you okay?" Called our parents, asked how our Mom is. Texted our brothers. Texted our cousin. I didn't cry a single tear until 30 minutes later. For the first 10, I smiled, as if nothing happened, because I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. Then, when I finally started believing it, I thought of her. She wouldn't want me to cry. Not at all. Even at her weakest moments, she would be smiling; I had to channel that too. After 30 minutes, I allowed myself to face reality. I cried. And now here I am, trying to process what has just happened.
My Nani... She was:
The most gentle soul I know.
The most loving soul I know.
The most innocent soul I know.
The oldest yet most adorably childlike soul I know.
She had sugar problems, but she loved mangos so much that she would sneakily eat them on a regular basis. Or, whenever she had a chance. The gutli or inside seed was her favourite part. She was that kind of person - the kind who found love, happiness, peace, just like a child, in the simplest of things, like eating a mango.
She was the kind of woman who would tell me her secrets of flirtations - how she wooed my Nana to marry her. She would wear her favourite pink blush on her cheeks and earrings to match. Little did she need them - I'm sure her fair cheeks were always blushing at the sight of him. Anyways, she insisted I do the same (#protips).
She was the kind of woman who, no matter how old she became, insisted on dying her hair the deepest shade of black to continue showcasing her beauty. She would always wear lipstick at any wedding or function, too.
She was the kind of woman who hugs you so tight, it feels like all your saddness can be lifted away just by feeling the warmth of her.
She was innocent like a child. She was so scared of cutting her nails, because of the pain that comes when you cut them too deep, that she wouldn't cut them at all until one of her daughters (like my mom) cut them for her. They would sit together and laugh and laugh, my Nani and mama, cutting her nails for her.
She was the kind of woman who, when she was a little girl, went to a funeral and started laughing hysterically. She laughed so hard that her own sisters had to put a duputta on her and make her pretend like she was crying, even though she was laughing, hahaha.
She was the kind of woman who prayed every single prayer, on time, and no matter how weak she got insisted she do it standing (rather than sitting), and in her special spot.
She was the kind of woman who was too shy and modest, so when a photo was taken of her, she wouldn't look at the camera or smile, but literally a milisecond before and a milisecond right after her usual beautiful smile would light up the whole room.
My Nani was the kind of woman who would make me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, especially when I wore salwar kameez. Every time anyone told me that my Mama looks like her, and I look like my Mama (and therefore I look like her, with my gol gol mou) I would feel so proud.
My Nani had so many beautiful children, who she raised herself while my Nana worked. She had grandchildren and even one great grandchild. Whole generations of Rehman women raised by this incredible lady.
I couldn't wait to get married, just to see her expression when she saw me all dolled up, in my red lengha. I can't believe she won't be there to see me in that. I couldn't wait to have a daughter, and to introduce her to my Nani, my second mother. That won't be happening, either.
The highlight of my year, every year, was the moment I would enter my grandmother's house in Pakistan and she would hug me SO tight, laughing, and give me a kiss on my shoulder. The most dreaded, yet peaceful moment, of every year would be when we would say goodbye to her. She would read so many duas and phook them on us, hug is even tighter, laugh, kiss our shoulders, and make us feel like the single most loved person in the universe.
This summer, we hugged for a few seconds "too long". We shared a goodbye, different than any before. It was peaceful. It was happy. I am grateful I had that closure, even though I did not know that would be the last time I hug her or see her.
I hope she finds peace in her resting place. I hope that the Jannah she always prayed for is awaiting her arrival. I hope that I too can see her there again some day, and hug her so tight. Hear her laugh one more time.
My Nani. I love you. I love you so much. What gives me relief is you knew that, and I know how much you loved me. May we meet again soon. May your presence continue to be felt everywhere I go. Thank you for showing me womanhood. Thank you for being my Nani. I love you, Nani, and I always will.