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Blowing kisses to Teta


My 'teta' (the word for grand-mother in Arabic) and I have a special bond. As a single mom, it wasn't always easy for my mom to raise me and take care of me. But, she had help from my Teta Yvonne.

Teta's always been there to fret over what I ate, when I ate and if I had eaten...she worried about if I ate well, if I ate good food.
Teta took care of me when I came home from school. Making sure I (well, you guessed it) ate delicious food and did my homework.
Teta's a strong woman and stubborn a times.
Teta's now bed-ridden, unable to walk, dependent on people to move her on a wheelchair. She is sick with cancer. As her cancer grows, her appetite shrinks. Now, it's a fight for my mom and I (and my aunts) to make sure she eats -- something, anything.
Now, it's my turn to fret about what she eats as I try to spoon feed her soup. She swallows a spoonful and looks at me with disgust. She refuses to let the second spoonful of soup come anywhere near her lips.
"Kefaya" (enough in Arabic) she yells. "Mesh 3aiza" (I don't want any) she insists.
"But Teta, its good for you, it will keep you strong," I say as I try to bring one more soup-filled spoon to her lips.
She yells: "No, no, no, no!"
"Ma3lesh habibi" (it's ok my darling in Arabic) I say as I put the spoon back down in the bowl and kiss her forehead.
I try to make Teta smile again.
I do this by playing a "blowing kisses" game.
I bunch my fingers together, kiss them a few times and blow the kisses her way.
She catches the airborne kisses with her fingers and gently taps her fingers on her cheeks.
Then, she - in turn - bunches her fingers together, brings them to her lips and kisses them many times in a rapid succession and blows the kisses away at me.
I catch the kisses and make them land softly on my cheeks.
We blow a few kisses back and forth.
Teta smiles.
That's officially my new favorite game and one I'm convinced is better medicine than any of the many pills she has to swallow.
Blessed are the mothers and grand-mothers who take care of us and who we also care for.
Such is the circle of life.



ola.mahadi's picture

beautiful picture

Dear Neily
Having such a bond with your grandma it ust be hard for you to see her in pain but sure she have all those nice memories to make her feel better, and the care love suronding her she must feeling lucky to have you taking care of her.
May alah give her strength and be with you through hard times.
Love from Sudan and she is in my prayers

It is never too late to try make your way to your dream and left up your expectation.
Sudanes Women Building Peace

Nelly Bassily's picture


Ahlan Ola,
Much love back. Thank you for keeping Teta in your prayers.
Teta's are amazing. I wish I could be with her more often. Even though I don't live in the same city...I try as much as I can to go see her.
I think despite the illness and the pain it causes her, she feels the love from her daughters and grand-daughter :-)
I added another picture I quite like of my hand and Teta's hand to this post :-)
Thanks again for your support and kind words,

Nelly Bassily
"We must become the change we want to see in the world"
(Mahatma Gandhi)

Sangita Thapa's picture

so sorry!

Im so sorry to hear about your granny my dear Nelly! I couldnt hold back my tears as I read your post....Teta is strong, she's just like my granny- ever strong and ever loving. Thank you so much for sharing it and reminding of my own granny, but im not as fortunate as you to love and care her back. She left us forever many years ago.

Thank you so much for being such a good grand-daughter and such a beautiful human. I admire your love for Teta. God bless her and all the moms and grand-moms. Here's a bunch of kiss from my side to your lovely Teta. <3

Nelly Bassily's picture

Thank you Sangita

Hello Sangita,
Thank you so much for your kind words. You are right to say that my Teta is strong :) I have a deep love and admiration for grandmothers. They are simply amazing. As they grow older, I feel their love is ever expanding.
It is a blessing to be able to "care back". After all, she did help care for me and helped in making me the woman I am today. (I think I also got some of her stubbornness in me. (hehe))
Many thanks again,

Nelly Bassily
"We must become the change we want to see in the world"
(Mahatma Gandhi)

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