She was drinking and chatting happily when I stood beside her and started chatting with her asking about her life, “look; I don’t believe in God but of course I have my limits”, “so what are your limits based on? Is it the tradition?” I replied, “I don’t believe in tradition, all what I believe in is the Human being and nothing else” she kept saying “home is where you live not anywhere else”.
She went forward telling me about her friends as she doesn’t care about their origin and about her sons and how they were brought up like all the young guys in this country.
“H” is an Iraqi lady in her mid-fifties, married and have three sons, I really admire how nice, anti-racist and human she is but when I thought about what she said I wasn’t convinced.
I know that she doesn’t believe in God as well as many others but what about the tradition? What about home? Can it be anywhere but Iraq?!
I kept thinking about what she said, maybe for the time being she is right, probably she will go on for awhile enjoying her life, but I does she really appreciate the consequences?
I remember an elderly man was admitted to the hospital when I was working in Northern England; he was depressed as his wife had died and he had no one but a son who visits him 10 minutes a year, the poor man kept saying he doesn’t want to live anymore.
For a while I thought this is the worst thing could happen to a person who lives here, yet, while working in the casualty unit, I received a 69 year old lady who presented unconscious and no one knew what happened to her, as no one had phoned her since a week before she presented to us.
No one of her sons had bothered himself to ask about his mother, their mother was dying silently; probably they were busy with things more important than her!
I was always impressed that there is a great system in this country for looking after elderly and disabled people, each one of them will be kept in a caring home where they look after them, do bathing for them and clean their rooms. It was a dream for me to have such services back home.
Yet, being in touch with those old people made me get an entirely different view.
Everyday I see many old people who are dirty, smelly, depressed and in a bad health condition, they’re being left in their houses visited once a day by the their carers, many of them are accompanied by their sons or daughters who are receiving money from the government to look after their parents, however, they don’t really do their duties in a complete way.
The last one I saw; was a lady suffering dementia, she was brought with a big bleeding wound in the head as she banged her head to the wall while she was home alone.
I know that there are many people who are neglected back home but end of the day there is someone who care about them, I’ve never seen someone who was left for a week without asking about him, it could happen due to critical situations like fighting in streets but rarely due to neglect.
I also noticed that the ones of Eastern origin (Arabs, Indians and Pakistanis) are in much better condition than the English ones, as they’re always surrounded by their relatives.
I know it is variable but I think elderly people back home live shorter, with poorer health but they feel better.
I kept thinking about life here, people earn better, go farther in their careers and achieve great things, but they don’t feel well; depression represents one of the most common problems in this country and in many other western countries.
Despite all the horror we lived, we still care about the family relationships and we insist on tightening them.
It’s just like planting; parents seeds their thoughts into the mind of their children and then supply them with the warmth they need just to see them rooting in our soil, the more they’re connected to their origin the better they will be!
I strongly disagreed when I heard about someone who plans to leave the U.K to work somewhere abroad just to support his bigger family, after a moment of thinking, I raised my hat for him, even if he doesn’t think about it like that, but in fact; that will teach his children a great lesson in sacrifice, probably they will do the same for him when he needs them.
It seems that the pleased lady forgot what she had told me before; she was unwell and tired complaining to her son seeking for his help in the domestic work saying “I’m really tired”.
“So what? You’re a mum” that how her 21 years old son replied!
I wonder if one of her sons will check if she is all right when she becomes 69, I really wish someone will do so.
A day after meeting that lady I met a young Iraqi doctor newly arrived to the U.K with his mother, pretending to be nice I took him in a trip to see the tourists’ attractions in London, after couple of hours the guy wanted to go home, I wondered about the cause as the time was early!
“My mother is at home and I don’t want her to feel lonely” he said.
I smiled and said to myself; that what I miss, I miss my mother, I miss our warmth, and I miss Iraq.