Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unforgettable Woman

The challenge began for me.. “how would I ever   write about women with cancer”… to reflect their life in living beyond cancer. In 2002, I was just beginner poet, who had just collection of poetry for children touched by cancer.
I was in an ambiguous situation ….. I was tasked to portray stories of Omani women conquered cancer. For me cancer was about loosing my Dad and poetry was a therapy to overcome my grief of losing my father.
I thought it is easy, collection of poem. Donate them to Oman Cancer group that was back in 2003. My task was over, the group will make a book and proceeds will be a contribution for the group. However the people of behind the group they worked for a cause to spread cancer awareness and educate people about cancer. They did this passionately and I guess they wanted me to truly learn and it was not just making about. It was making the difference in others.
I was set to a journey to find out more about breast cancer and how it changes women life ..Omani women..Their stories were essential to inspire others who are battling cancer. There I was heading to Al Khodh to one of the ladies to capture her story …Naela Al Marhoobi.. Her house had a sense of serenity, and there I was seated near the window. When she came greeted me in a smile, had radiant glow on her face.
I was nervous, I thought to myself this is easy. What’s so difficult in taking a story, I planned that I will approach it in telling her my side of story and how I understand her and connect with her through my loss.. my father and what cancer means to me.
As Naela narrated her story, on the  first instance to receive the news that she has cancer. She told the Doctor “Al Hamdullillah (Thank God)”. The doctor was foreign doctor so he called a nurse to explain to her thinking that she did not understand and she replied back “ Al Humdilliah”. Al Humiddliilah for good and for the calamity she explained to the doctor. The same happened when she arrived home to receive a call from her husband on how the check up went. She replied “ Al Humdilliah”, when he arrived home he started to panic when she broke the whole news to him. For her it was Al Hudllilah the acceptance of whatever Allah gave her whether good or bad news. Her faith and believe was the strength in coping and over coming cancer.   She continued to tell me all about her journey to be a survivor, so calm and with no single tear. As I was noting down, I started breaking down and cried. I could not take it, she was beautiful person having a mountain of faith.
I will not forget as she told about chemo and its effect. I could still imagine her standing there in the bathroom shaving her head due to chemo. Her 9 years old daughter came in and asked “why Mama you are shaving your”. Naela explained to her and without a word her daughter started to help. It was magical to hear her daughter telling her how beautiful she was being bold.
After a year I accomplished printing the book, unfortunately, Naela was admitted in hospital, another battle with cancer. I went to see her , I was like an old friend and was proud of me that I was able to accomplish.
Togather with her husband ..she battled cancer furiously and was able to see her first son get married.  With another battle with cancer, we lost Naela . Al Humdillah for I was lucky enough to meet her as she touched me and taught me in no matter how much ones calamity. Take it to Allah, your path will be smooth.
Last year, in middle of business meeting I was stopped by a young man. Who asked me if I was the same person who wrote a book on cancer. It happened to be her son , he asked for a copy of the book. After 10 years, I step in to the same house sat next to the window facing two glowing faces, Naela son and daughter and there I was telling how their mother was to me.   “Unforgettable Woman”
Though I barely knew her she was symbol of strength and I hope those who read her story will be inspired just like me.
Naela was among people who inspired me to write poem on cancer   titled So You are

So You are the famous Cancer…
You came in without invitation
Invaded my life without my permission
All this time your were invisible from my sight
Now you have declared your existence-giving me a fright
Expecting me to fall……
Without even fighting or having any role
Changed the process of my life in a storm
I cannot let you take over my body-my home
I just can not live in fear……
You fill me with pain that I can not steer
So much pain to endure…..
I will prevail beyond any strike- never falter
I'm a survivor

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014


A Light within you 
Shimmering pale 
If it happens 
To touch others
You Twinkle 

Nasra Al Adawi 2014