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Welcome to mh-musings, a unique blog for you to explore. From literary analysis to poetry to musings about humankind, I embrace the opportunity to share my passions and thoughts with my loyal readers. Enjoy, with love.

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PC: Owner

43 years ago, my parents lost their elder daughter and I missed meeting my sister by 2.5 months. Unbeknownst to my young mother, Munia Apu (the salutation for an elder sister) had suffered a brain hemorrhage at the hands of a hasty maid when she was only 7 months old. As the effects of her brain injury began to manifest itself into severe physical difficulties, and my parents understood there was something terribly wrong, it was beyond the powers of the doctors in a newly born Bangladesh to help reverse its effects. “Hope burns eternal in the human heart”. Still at the beginning of his career, Abbu had to work hard and was supported by family members to help take her to London for treatment about a year after the event. Back in the mid-70s, it was a massive expense on the travelers, and a burden on the family hosting devastated parents with a such an ill child. But kind gestures from extended family helped get access to doctors, only to be told that due to delay in intervention, the effects of the hydrocephalus and the consequent hemorrhage were irreversible. Defeated, my parents came back to Bangladesh and tried to keep Munia Apu as comfortable as they could but as her pain grew worse, they took her to a local doctor to help put a shunt in her head that could relieve the growing pressure. At the age of 22 months and 12 days, she drew her last breath on the operating table. My Nani tells me, all she could hear down the hallway was my young mother’s anguished cry, who was only 23 at the time, and nearly 7 months pregnant with me. Some of my earliest childhood stories are of Munia Apu. Of her beautiful features, her sweet demeanor and disposition. How she used to call our elder brother “Naughty Doy”, how she barely cried in spite of her pain. As I would lay on my mother’s stomach while she combed her fingers through my hair, I could feel the sadness in her. It would course through me and I would find tears trickling down my cheeks and onto her cotton saree. As I would stare at the filigree patterns on her saree while her voice washed over me, I would wonder what life would have been like with an elder sister. Over the years, as my personality blossomed, I came to believe that Munia Apu would have been the calm to my storm, the voice of kindness to tame my feisty mouth and heart. The Jane to my Eliza, who would have taught me to be a better person. Instead, even though I never met her, I felt her absence throughout my life because I felt the need to be more like the promise of her. These broken stories of our lives get hidden under the daily rigamarole of work, home and kids. As February 10th dawned again, I pondered on what I could possibly do to honor Munia Apu’s memory. And I realized, I could only do this. With each passing day, as my voice becomes more silent in things I wish to say, words flood within with words that I need to say. To leave pieces of myself that someday my children will find as a guiding light for their present and future. Ultimately, isn’t that what life really is? In the short life she lived, Munia Apu left a halo that I have inadvertently chased all my life. Maybe someday, I will have lived a life that will leave something positive for those after me. No life is too short. Every life is as it should be. For those who believe in the science of being able to stave off mortality until the cells naturally die, there is nothing like a seemingly untimely, accidental death that makes you realize the vast universe of things that cannot be explained by science. Faith becomes a burning need to believe that such a loss happened for a purpose. That we have to carry the weight of this grief and remember that in the grander scheme of things, our individual existence is a minuscule and often messy stitch in a gorgeous tapestry of life. Munia Apu will always remain my first teacher and guide for having a connection to the unexplained pulses in our universe. I hope your soul has remained just as peaceful, as you were in life and in death. Much love, -mh. PC: owner #grief #loss #memory #ChildhoodTrauma #PurposeDrivenLife



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