At college, as part of my Graphic Design course, we were presented with some words. Thinking out of the box, we had to research visuals to best represent those words.
Let's take the word, say... cancer.
What do you think of?
Astrological truth or rubbish?
A personality trait?
An illness that attacks other people?
A lingering and painful illness?
Loss of hair?
To me, the word cancer conjures up images of hot chocolate and cold sandwiches. Sneaking into the staff cafeteria to grab some food, knowing which hospital serves the best hot chocolate and which the tastiest sandwiches.
Of Iftars broken at the hospital and lonely Eids spent celebrating alone at the Oncologist ward. Staring sightlessly outside the window, watching, waiting… Looking up, hearing footsteps go past… wondering how long Eid celebrations last... one day, two days, three days... yet no visitors…
Of facing up to the horrors of chemotherapy; loss of appetite and loss of hair. Late night emergency visits to the hospital… emergency blood transfusions… Never the loss of will to live or the strength to fight.
Of despair and grief and whispered prayers, rosary beads clutched to for support and comfort.
Of tears... lots of tears. But above all, of shared smiles and laughter.
Laughter through the tears.