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Continued from Previous……
Care – Care is misunderstood, misinterpreted and misused word in emotional relations. The opposite of ‘Care’ is considered ‘I Don’t Care’. This is not entirely correct. To understand this, we first need to define what care actually means. Care is not an act, or a series of random acts; it is a way of life. Care arises from the strength of relationship and then encompasses whole life. Care is the vital sign of a relationship. The absence of care means the relationship is dead. The expression ‘you don’t care about me anymore’ is not a complaint; it is a requiem for the dead.
What should we care for? Small things. We are ordinary people and big things do not happen in our lives. We keep waiting for big things though; and keep ignoring the small things as too small. We lose the opportunity to nurture our relationship with the most needed water. Care was a huge bond between us. Many things I have mentioned before were reflections of care. Care came naturally to me somehow; and I did it as a way of life in a mild and non-possessive manner. Rukhsana was intense and possessive and caring. We did not antagonize; we complimented one another. Rukhsana always had excellent health but during the last one year, she suffered from nagging health issues. She had to be rushed to ICU on three occasions due to respiratory distress. She recovered quickly and insisted on getting home in 2-3 days. On the fourth visit, we were not so lucky. The care she got from all who loved her could only be felt, not described. We started with care, lived with care and ended with care.
Importance – The cycle is familiar. In the early days, spouses treat one another with lot of importance. There are discussions and consultations about everything; from the color of curtains to the flavor of ice cream. The process gradually slows down, sessions get more and more apart, and finally stop. We did not get time to pass through this cycle due to early arrival of children. We got and remained busy in preparation. We did not know if it would be a boy or girl. We did not want to ask, and the gynecologist did not offer the information. Rukhsana made many small things herself in a way that these could be used by either. Finally, twins were born; a boy and a girl.
When children are born, they take all the attention and all the time leaving nothing for parents. In most households, husbands contribute little to child rearing and the entire effort is left to the mothers. The husband certainly expects to get his share of time and attention from wife who is torn between two demands. We did not pass through this either because we were doing it together. We however felt we were not getting quality time together. We did try to squeeze a little bit of time, which was successful sometimes.
The running theme in those trying times was always to keep one another in focus, no matter what. We made it a point to ask and talk about anything to be done. Importance is neither comparative nor compulsive. For example, it is wrong to compare spouse with parents or siblings and so on. Each relation has a unique place of its own which cannot be filled by other. Slogans like “Maa ki duaa biwi ki ada se behtar hai” reflect utter neglect of basic human relations, are misleading and in poor taste. It is actually derogatory and insulting to compare such important relations in this manner. For Rukhsana, I remained the most important person all her life. She said it to everyone, she showed it in all her actions, and she did it with the utmost sincerity. For me, Rukhsana remained the most important person. We took decisions together, and we took decisions independently also and just informed the other. It was considered fine because the basic premise was settled already.
I started from Respect; that only respect sustains love. Importance is the biggest expression of Respect. Between us, our importance for one another only increased with time. Rukhsana always said to me and to close friends that she wanted to die before me. She said she would not be able to live without me. I understood perfectly and did not dispute her. Allah granted her wish. Allah was Most Kind to her. We had a private joke. She would come up with some idea to do something big; like change the furniture or change the layout or buy something bigger. I would disagree. Then I would say that ‘since you have said it, it will happen by all means’. It always happened and she knew it. Such was the importance factor and it always stood the test of time.
Growth – Most importantly, we both grew together. We attained wisdom, maturity, courage, patience, resilience, consistency, hard work, finesse, and emotional stability. We learned from one another, and we learned together. We had long discussions on numerous occasions which would be triggered by some book, movie, event, idea or occasion. We gained hugely.
The concept of Johari’s Window says that all relationships start with four more or less equal windows.
- I know – You know (common things shared already or visible otherwise)
- I don’t know – You know (things I don’t see or realize but others can see)
- I know – You don’t know (things I observe but the other person does not realize)
- I don’t know – You don’t know (unknown areas, traits for both)
As the relationship grows, the #1 window IK-YK keeps expanding. And it takes space from #2 and #3 because of sharing. Interestingly, the #4 window also gets smaller and it happens because both explore and discover unexplored territories. The primary trigger here is SHARING, which is also the lifeline of a relationship. Be it a familial, or personal or emotional one, it will not grow without sharing from both.
We shared as a matter of principle. We were open with each other and we never had to think about it. Sharing helped us to understand ourselves, our relationship, our surroundings, our friends and not-so-friends, our ambitions, our motivations, our satisfactions, our dissatisfactions, and our life together. It was great learning and growth. Thanks to the diversity, strength and the depth of our relationship, we grew enormously. The grownups were so very different from those who entered in the relationship. We were stronger inside and softer outside. Rukhsana accepted her illness with courage and I and the family also faced the loss with courage.
Ending Note – It was not easy to write about Rukhsana and our relation. We were both tied up together in so many ways that one without the other was not thinkable. It has happened however, and I am here. I keep her grief in my heart and keep her in my prayers. I am not shattered or lost. I am still leading a meaningful and purposeful life. I went for Hajj last year and went to all those places where we had gone together. I remembered her and I prayed for her. What better place could there be for praying?
Rukhsana was a uniquely gifted person. She loved unreservedly and cared unboundedly. Her affectionate care was for all. She believed in doing good; not just talking about it. She was better than me in several areas and I learned much from her. I was and I am proud of her. I look back at our relationship with a mix of pride, affection, sadness and nostalgia. Allah was Most Kind to her, and she would be good up there InShaAllah.
Man-Woman relationship has been designed to be the longest lasting, extremely interesting and most deeply affecting human interaction. It outshines and outlasts all other relations. When you find it, Please accept it carefully, handle it delicately, love it intensely, live it committedly, and complete it honorably. May Allah Shower His Blessings upon you. Aameen.