A Family Matter by Dalal Mikkawi Anabtawi, Palestine

It wasn’t until she was walked on and hurt a million times, it wasn’t until she was fed up and exhausted, that she decided to change her path and set a new one, Annabelle, a 23 year old transparently pure, and intellectual lady. However, she was lucky, both academically and professionally, but not socially. She lived her life respecting everybody until she realized that life sometimes obliges people, like her, to make a change in order to regain dignity and save what remains.

It was a Friday night in August 2014, she was in her ninth month of pregnancy, she was so heavy, swollen, and tired, but she agreed to accompany her husband to visit some relatives in Jerusalem right after work. Granny opened the door for them, kissed Gregory and acted as if Annabelle wasn’t there. 
Gregory felt that things were not going well enough so he decided not to stay long. Thirty minutes later, he stood up and told Granny that they should leave. Granny asked him to take care of himself and to come again to visit her by himself. He then held Annabelle’s hand and walked to the car. Annabelle didn’t say a word, he was talking to her but she was in another world, remembering all that she had been through during the past couple of years. Remembering and crying. She was debating with herself about the reasons behind this humiliation and hatred. She remembered so many painful situations when she was hurt but stayed silent, she remembered all the looks and behaviors that she kept swallowing over and over until her dignity became unable to digest more disrespect. 

As she was coming apart at the seams, she burst into tears and asked him to take her to the hospital. She told him she felt different kind of pains everywhere. Shortness of breath, tightness in chest and contractions. Gregory hurried to the hospital while crying, shouting, and blaming himself for taking her with him to visit those who had never treated her properly. He made it to the hospital in twenty minutes, he hadn’t mentioned anything to the doctors, he was so afraid to say that this pregnant lady was exposed to a huge load of pressure, and what happened to her was a response to stressful situation. He was just afraid that anything could harm their relationship and destroy their marriage. He chose a corner in the hallway; he sat, cried, and prayed.

Seventeen hours had passed, Annabelle was still struggling, the doctors were still trying to help her and the baby while Gregory was still praying. Three hours later, his baby was between his hands, but his wife was between life and death. The doctors informed him that Annabelle was too weak to go through such a difficult delivery, she’d lost so much blood and her organs were failing one by one. They told him that Annabelle was waiting for a miracle to get back to life to see the baby that she’s been waiting for, for nine months, the baby that she’s been waiting for, for so long. 
The blame and guilt were growing enormously in his heart, and he was still praying for a miracle.

Ten days later, Annabelle opened her eyes and started to feel around her to know where she was. Annabelle lost her vision.

The nurse called the doctors, and as they entered her room they refused to let him in. Gregory collapsed again and started to pray loudly. One doctor came and took him to his office and told him that his wife was back to life but, alas, was now blind. Greg wiped his tears, stood up, took a deep breath and said, “I will be her eyes, I will be her sight, her guide. I will be whatever she wants me to be.” He went to her room and kneeled next to her and vowed to help her love life again, and to have the patience to help her overcome what she had been through. He sat next to her bed for weeks, he spent days and nights describing their daughter for her. He asked her, “Who do you think she’ll look like when she grows up?” Annabelle answered: “I don’t want her to be weak like me, or naïve like me, or fragile like me. I want her to be strong, defensive, and mature. I don’t want her to be that kind of girls who can be broken easily, I don’t want her to swallow bitter words and act as if she’s okay until she no longer is. I promise you Greg that I will raise her to be a strong and opinionated lady who doesn’t allow anybody to degrade her and from now on I will be doing only what I love to do. I will defend myself when there’s no one to defend me. I will exhale all the negativity on the spot and I won’t keep cultivating pain inside me. I don’t want to continue my life smiling while I’m dying from within. I’m a mother now, and I won’t let my daughter repeat my mistakes.”

Years later, Annabelle regained her sight and returned to work where she excels as a translator. She’s back to reality, stronger and smarter. She spends her day taking care of her daughter, Anna Sophia, her husband, and her career without allowing anyone to marginalize her.


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