I have failed to mention the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. I was occupied with the death of my aunt and how my family was going to assemble ourselves to sleep in my brothers one bedroom apartment in Toronto.
Riel, my brothers cat, was disoriented with the invasion of my immediate family in his space. But I think he remembered us. He stayed clear of my mother knowing she is not fond of animals. He curled up beside my father as we watched television and he napped at my feet as I studied and unintentionally napped as well. My brother was also disoriented, I believe. With little notice my parents and I arrived at his home. The routine he has worked extremely hard to build was disrupted without little regard, at least in the moment.
My families unexpected week together was filled with various extended family events. It is not often that our family gathers in such large numbers other than at funerals and weddings. Even then I am not sure we usually gather in such large numbers. My aunt was the first death in Canada in my fathers family and all six brothers and three, now two, of his sisters live in Canada, thus numbers were high. When I heard of my aunts passing I was unsure what to think. I wondered what it would be like for my father to hear this news; he was teaching a student how to drive when my mother was informed and then informed him. I thought about my cousins who now lost their mother, and father. I failed to mention, my aunt suffered her heart attack at her ex-husbands funeral. I remember little of my uncle. What I do remember is of him sitting at his dollar store whenever we visited Toronto as young children. My brother and I would tag along with my father and usually leave the store a few hours later after a soda and with a toy or two in hand that would break later that day. So, you can imagine the distraction my family and I faced during the recent terrorist attacks.
However, as I sat at my uncles house I thought about the feelings my father and my cousins must be having, I thought about the challenges my aunt and many others faced when migrating to Canada. These thoughts led me to think about the many Syrian refugees who are attempting to flee communities that are controlled by the same individuals who committed the Paris attacks. I started to wonder about the hearts of these individuals. My aunts heart attack was unfortunate and sad. A part of the heart attack was likely due to age and natural causes but I could not stop thinking about the food I and my family placed in our bodies that may have also contributed to the attack. Without any blame being placed, we, on a daily basis, ate kabab, samosa’s, cutlets, bhajias, and so forth. These are in fact some of my favourite food items. Many of you may need to refer to an India recipe book to learn what those items are but if you do not want to just know that each of these items is fried. I would even risk saying that fifty percent (50%) of the food we ate outside of my brothers apartment was fried. So, let us think about heart health.
On the other hand, I also started to think about takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This is a term I was introduced too about a month back while I attended a Refugee Mental Health training session. It is the medical term for a literal broken heart due to stress. People are suffering such heart ache and stress that their hearts are literally breaking and are requiring medical intervention. Perhaps my aunt suffered from cardiomyopathy.
So, as much as I failed to acknowledge the recent terrorist attacks that are once again placing a strain on Muslims globally, I am now curious and concerned with the health of individuals hearts. We each suffer heart ache but I encourage you to pause and think about how lucky many of us are. If you are reading this my guess is that you are not fleeing Syria (or other parts of the world) that is in distress. That you likely have a roof over your head and food made available to you. But think about the hearts of the mothers and fathers who are attempting to walk their children across boarders for a better life, the children who are walking their siblings across boarders because they have lost their parents and now only have each other, and think about how 0.003% of Muslims that have allowed so many in the world to believe an entire ummah (community) is involved in terrorism.
In short, keep your thoughts positive, your hearts happy, and eat well!