Travel as Therapy

by Saira Sufi 2 months ago in grief

Cancun

Travel as Therapy

Traveling has always been part of my life, and as I sit on a plane headed back to Virginia, a few thoughts float through my head. Zakaria and I are next to each other while Leena and Aamir are at the back of the plane. I used to insist on being in the middle of Hadi and Zakaria. I now look over at Zakaria watching Star Wars, and it occurs to me that, while I miss all the bizarre conversations my sons had, particularly on family trips, I know Hadi made his presence known while we were in Cancun. Whether it was the beautiful yellow bird that consistently greeted us, or our salesperson having a twin brother, there was no way Hadi wasn’t being thought of at some point. Also, as an aside, our salesperson’s name was Esteban, and I am surprised Zakaria didn’t mention anything about crayons in front of him. ;)

The picture of the beautiful flower is from when we swam in a cenote (cave), that and exploring Cichen Itza was beyond incredible. It was a bit odd not having to tell Hadi to not do anything crazy. The child was afraid of birthday candles, but I know I would have had to hold my breath while he ziplined or jumped into the cave water.

I stopped and stared at two young twin boys discussing their plans for a historic site, and luckily and realized how much heartache one sight can bring. Aamir made sure to bring me back to attention, and join our tour group.

Vacations allow me to think about the next steps in my life, and what I want to accomplish. As I sat enjoying watching Leena and Zakaria swimming, I thought about what I want to do with Team Watience. An aplastic anemia warrior mother let me know today that her daughter texted her that she saw Hadi in a butterfly form, a monarch. This was told to me with the hope of aiding me to understand how deeply Hadi left an impression on a little girl who VERY much needed it in her life.

The amount of butterflies, including monarchs I saw in Cancun was incredible. I suppose I will never know how many people Hadi influenced in one way or another, but I want Team Watience to be a platform to honor him, as well as all those who have been affected by aplastic anemia. I want to raise awareness about it being a bone marrow failure disease, and that it is not cancer. I want to help to support other mamas and caregivers who cry their eyes out, and feel helpless while they try to appear strong for their babies and loved ones. I want to raise money for care packages for those special caregivers who get to spend extended amounts of time being “inpatient” at hospitals. I want to have the NIH family room fully stocked with K-Cups and good chocolate... along with some healthy options. I want to raise money for research for a cure for the disease that stole my son from me. Don’t get me wrong, I know Allah is the best of planners but I still can hate the disease. I want to figure out ways to make sure siblings are included in discussions... pretty sure Leena and Zakaria can head up a task force for that. I want to further the discussion of grief, and yes, I want you to talk to me about Hadi and what you remember about him. I want to explain that tears are powerful, and that our prophets cried their eyes out. I want to put together Team Watience fundraisers that are unique and special and allow us to include our families and have fun. I want to recognize my incredible husband and acknowledge that a rare disease is very tough on a marriage. I want to recognize all of those who have supported and continue to support us and I want them to speak on how to support a grieving friend. Yes, I want a lot... I also want United Airlines to carry both Byrd’s cookies and Biscoff.

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Saira Sufi
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