Today Sunday, June 17th, 2018 Muslim families are continuing their festive celebration of Eid ul Fttr, (Eid= Holiday) marking the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is the Islamic month of recognition and devotion, where around the globe, Muslims refrain from any ill will, negative thoughts, and fast of all food and drink from sunrise to sunset. At the conclusion of Ramadan, families attend large communal prayers and festivities, parents and Aunties/Uncles alike allow the children to eat ice cream before lunch these Eid days, a festive time of coming together, enjoying each other, catching up with friends we may only see once or twice a year, during Eids.
I was holding conversation with a non Muslim the other day, explaining how Muslims go from fasting 17+ hours a day to three days of celebration, feasting at Eid. So many sweets, so much food, so much play, that by the third day, (today) everyone is pretty much satiated of sweets and of conversation, have acquired enough hugs and cheek kisses compared to what seems a lifetime of love and care, where throats are hoarse from laughing. Babies are shared, transported arms to arms until they start crying, then whoever is holding that baby walks to find Mom to gently (with loving reluctance), hand over the precious baby. Soothing sounds and back patting fill the air. Islam and respect for families goes hand in hand, heart to heart. All elders in the Ummah (community) are Aunties and Uncles, are treated with respect, young Muslims hold hands to Aunties and bow their heads, the young boys are expected to greet and give Salams to Aunties and Uncles all. Aunties and Uncles often give out envelopes with $$ and or hand out sweets, yes more sweets.
Today is also Fathers Day. My Father, an Army officer had a medical discharge while he and my Mother were awaiting my birth. Above photo was taken near Madison WS, (I was about three), where my father had brain surgery later that year to remove a large malignant tumor. Fathers day has always been kind of hard for me, after my Father had surgery he was a paraplegic where he could walk with a cane for a short time period, his cancer spread and he was then in a wheelchair, mostly in a hospital bed in our home, in and out of care facilities, where he would plead to come back home. Sometimes the extra care was just necessary, my Mom a nurse, took a much needed a rest, now and then. He wanted to pass at home and at the time this was something we could not effectively provide for him in 1965. I reflect at times on his care during these years, he passed when I was nine.
On both Fathers Day and Eid we try and find time to visit loved ones, who might be alone and or perhaps ill. After all, it is all about caring isn’t it? On Friday after compulsory Eid Salat (Prayers) I walked the short distance down to Pike Market to purchase a bouquet of flowers to take up the Seattle hill to give to an Auntie’s beloved son, (who is also a Father to two boys), who is trached, and unwakened in a care facility along with many other loved persons, whose families are all praying that their treasured, very much missed family member will wake up soon, have the ability to share with them once again. Staff here are always friendly and helpful, this care facility is ‘worker owned’ an excellent model for best care. No one wants problems when they are owners, here the individuals receive better care, the facility seems to be of higher standards than others I have visited.
As I walked into the room, their space, their room, I gave cheerful greetings to the roommate and to my friends adult son and a Father. I talked mostly with my friends son, sharing the latest on the Eid prayers he was unable to attend, placed the colorful, joy filled flowers on his bedside table, and prayed with him as it was Duhr, (midday prayer time). The soft recitation of the Quran was filling the stillness of the room, a soothing background providing grace, a reassuring sound played by the dvd. I noticed he was a little hot when I touched him (80 degree day in Seattle!) so I placed a cool damp towel compress to his forehead, I repeated this as he appeared to embrace the coolness, relaxed at the recognized touch of someone who cares.
It is the small sincere acts of caring that can make a huge difference in someone’s life. In the same way that my friend’s son and a Father relished the cool compresses, recognizably appreciating this small act by visibly relaxing, I too benefited by having the opportunity to give, to receive happiness through sharing, his actions gifted to me showing he cared in the ways he is able.
When my Father became ill and unable to communicate in the manner most of us do, I saw how uncomfortable his unresponsive state made his friends, our neighbors, his visitors. I still made Fathers day cards for him, even after he was blind. I remember reading to him my handmade cards, even though he could not hear. A tear would fall down his cheek now and then. He knew I was there, present, as do my friends in this care facility, they know that you and I are present, that we care, and isn’t that all that really matters in both health care and in life?
Thank you for caring.
Evidence for caring was minimal, perhaps my search methods?
Assessment of needs, psychological impact and quality of life in families of patients with locked-in syndrome https://doi.org/10.1080/02699052.2017.1347277 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699052.2017.1347277
* Excuse this next title though it is an interesting study and article of how USA vs Germany think of “disorders of consciousness” (DOC) and “unresponsive wakefulness syndrome” (UWS) Having lived as a child with my Father in this state I had heard many words to describe him and what should be done.
The living dead? Perception of persons in the unresponsive wakefulness syndrome in Germany compared to the USA https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-018-0217-4 https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-018-0217-4