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Building empathy within the family

Image credit — Google images

We got discharged from the hospital yesterday. Dad’s back home, and recuperating. Although he still has a tracheostomy tube and feeding pipe, assisting his throat to recover, things have been more or less smooth so far. Mum’s been ensuring he gets his diet on time. I’ve been helping him clear out the chest congestion (which is a lot, considering there’s a foreign device planted into his wind pipe), and sister’s been assisting us both. We are all very happy to see Dad back home, but we are all very exhausted as well. Physically and mentally.

The one week at the hospital has pushed us to show resolve in the middle of a storm, but at the same time, rendered us in need of some respite. And the lack of it, has surfaced as arguments, miscommunication, and unnecessary irritation, among the family members.

My sister and I have had countless arguments, over what does Dad need, at what time and who is right in assessing his condition. I come off as stubborn and irritating, because I don’t divulge away from the given instructions, especially when it comes to medical care. But that chains me into thinking of just one narrative, while my sister looks at alternatives and freeways.

However, above all, as a family, we need to overlook our personal limitations, and focus to help Dad get better with each day. We need to generate empathy for each other, for the crisis we’re going through, needs that. Each one of us within the family is having its own coping mechanism to deal with Dad’s health. And each one of us needs to respect that, for our sake, for Dad’s sake. Perhaps, then we can focus on his recovery in an even better manner.

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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