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Of Cats and Men

Written by: Umber Ahmed

Mamma doesn’t like cats. She doesn’t like the idea of having to clean up after them and why should she? I mean she spent her whole life cleaning up after her five kids, so why should she do it for a cat who only creates more work and is of no benefit to her.

And because mamma didn’t like cats, I decided I didn’t like cats. Echo.

I am an echo of mama.

My reasons of course weren’t the same as hers. I can remember trying to approach a cat once, it looked at me in that mischievous way cats do, turned it’s head away and walked away. Cats were mean, I was afraid of being scratched by one and I also convinced myself that I was allergic to them.

So lucky me, when in college, I moved in with my best friend, Samantha who ermhaghered had not one but TWO cats! Now, whether I liked it or not, I was going to have to make peace with the fact that I was living their space.

After two years of living with them I can honestly say that I completely misunderstood cats!

Sometimes I’d be lying on the couch watching TV and they’d come and lay on me wanting to stroke them and then they’d leave. They’d be gone for a while and come back when they felt like it and that was all. Nothing more nothing less.

They were so independent! I truly began to admire them for that. Hell, for the first time I began to appreciate myself for that too!

Mama was also frustrated with Daddy.

She’d complain that there was too much water all around the sink when he made wudu to pray. Now imagine how many times a day she was complaining about that if he was making wudu at home let’s say at least three times a day.

She’d constantly tell him what to do and so it seemed that daddy never did anything right. She convinced herself that he wasn’t capable and that fueled her frustration.

Mamma was frustrated with daddy, so I was frustrated with daddy. Echo.

I am an echo of mama.

Honestly, I can’t point out why I was frustrated with daddy. I just know that I was, and I was for a very long time.

My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago.

And this took such a toll on mama

that she experienced a manic episode and was hospitalized

And for those of you that don’t know

A manic episode is generally diagnosed when one loses touch with reality, they don’t feel the need to sleep, their thoughts are scattered, they can’t sit still, they might even experience delusions or hallucinations.

Physically, mentally and emotionally mamma wasn’t there anymore.

I was stricken with panic. My sister and I both lived in different cities at the time and to top it all off I was in the middle of taking finals.

I rushed home from school the day mamma is taken to the emergency room. Daddy was sitting on the couch and I fell into the space right next to him.

“What do I do? Do I come home to take care of mamma? I am in the middle of taking finals. Will I be able to focus? Are you going to be able to take care of yourself? Is mamma going to be okay? How long will it take for her to recover? She’ll need to…”

In the middle of me spewing my thoughts at daddy, he takes my hand, looks straight into my eyes and says, “Umber, everything is going to be fine. Mamma is going to be fine. It’s going to take some time, we have to be patient but she will heal.”

Right there, patience

Patience was a quality that I had overlooked for so long.

Daddy had always been so patient with mamma. If she was frustrated with him for not removing his shoes when he walked through the door or for not trimming his beard on a regular basis. He never said anything back to her.

He listened.

He’d always listened and heard what she had to say.

I heard mamma’s echo. The echo of disappointment and the echo of not giving daddy a chance, a chance to be the man that he is.

I realized I didn’t like the return of the sound.

For the first time in my life I was hearing him. An echo that had been there all along. An echo that streamed at a more consistent but lighter frequency.

In all my exploration of cats, what I didn’t realize was that daddy was the coolest Kat I knew!

Cherilyn Cecchini

Cherilyn is proud to serve as the National AMWA Blog Coordinator this year. She is currently a fourth year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Cherilyn recently served as co-president of her local Jefferson AMWA branch. In addition, she was chosen as National Secretary of the AMWA Student Division the year before last. She feels strongly about advancing women's health and is extremely thankful for both the networking and scholastic opportunities that AMWA continues to offer.

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