About a month ago my ordeal finally ended (‘ordeal’ is a terrible word to use here… am I exaggerating things?). I have submitted my thesis for examination. Yay! Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah the Almighty! After a 5-year struggle to complete the thesis, I am now only an inch away from being conferred with a doctoral degree. InsyaAllah.
Since submission, I did not do much. I was supposed to produce at least two research articles and send them to journal editors for publication. I didn’t do it. I have a follow-up appointment with the dentist. I didn’t turn up that day. I promised a close friend to have lunch together. That did not materialise as well. I told another friend I am going to arrange some flowers to liven up her new room at the faculty. I disappeared just like that. She may still be looking for me this very day. My ‘To Do’ list was untouched, even though it is quite a long list of things I wanted settled once I’ve completed study. Change the curtains, bake a cake, buy new clothes, update blog, read the newly bought novel, visit my sister, plant something in the garden, etc. etc. etc.
So what did I actually do at home? Nothing. I spent whole day either staring blankly at the TV or at a later stage, the TV took turn to stare back at me. The first week after thesis submission was the worst moment when my brain was not capturing properly what I’ve heard or saw or felt. When I walked, my feet did not touch the ground. I felt lightheaded I could float (wish I could fly).
I forgot to brush my teeth in the morning. I wore my clothes inside out. I felt so lonely…empty….
A month before submission my life was upside down. There were reports to produce, data to re-test, tables and figures to insert in the appendices, list of references to check and confirm. Simultaneously, the children needed attention. Baby porcupine has somehow been accustomed to being left at home with her father, but baby koala was new in this game, therefore could not understand how it worked. He demonstrated his feelings by falling sick. Really sick. He needed his mother the most, but I was not there for him. My soulmate has forbidden me from coming home. He sent me away and prescribed me some orders: eat thesis, drink thesis, sleep thesis.
“By hook or by crook, finish the last sentence of your thesis and submit. Otherwise do not come home.”
I found a new friend. The whiteboard. I talked to the whiteboard at least once a day. Sometimes I saw a reflection in the whiteboard grinning at me. We had a serious fight one day when I warned it to stop gimmicking me but it refused. I threw a marker pen at it but the pen hit me back on the forehead.
I have been sleeping in the office for many days that once it ended I have forgotten my way back home. By the time I stepped inside the house, I saw a stranger in the kitchen, trying to retrieve tiny pieces of egg shells from the
firing frying pan while the egg turned into dark, bitter cracker. I hardly recognise him with those Osama bin Laden’s beard and Tom Selleck’s moustache and Bob Marley’s hair…Gosh!
When did your wife die?
Today, a month later, I have regained consciousness, memories, energy, love and hugs from each member of the family. Alhamdulillah, ya Allah. I am back on my feet again. Now my main task is to update the blog. Write again. This time as often as I can. As much as I’ve always wanted to. New day, new spirit.
“Mummy, I am confused”
Aliya, my 10-year old daughter came and shoved her school homework on my lap.
“What is it about?”
“This English language subject I learn in school. It’s confusing”
“Why do we call it a toothbrush or toothpaste when we know the brush or the paste is meant for more than one tooth? I mean, we don’t use it to clean only one tooth, right? Then why don’t we refer it as teethbrush or teethpaste? I think that makes more sense.”