My mom got pregnant with Yama at sixteen years old but she was married at the age of fourteen. In Afghanistan, it is common to get married very young. She went into labor at 6am and gave birth to Yama at 7pm. He was 9lbs…a big baby and mom was tiny. Delivering Yama was very difficult but it happened.
My mom’s first born was loved by everyone. He was the first grandchild, first nephew and all that jazz. Our grandmother could not put him down for a second and neither could his Aunts and Uncles. He was the definition of unconditional love.
When Yama was five years old, his hands and legs would stiffen up. He would not be able to move. The doctor diagnosed him with rheumatoid arthritis. He had to take a shot every month to help with his condition but he stopped taking it at twenty one because of the side effects.
My mom always says that Yama helped raise all of us. He was the oldest and he was extrememly caring. One of my mom’s favorite and funniest stories is when she went to the gynecologist and she took Yama with her to translate. My parents didn’t know English so Yama was the translator. My mom didn’t want to have any more kids even though my dad wanted six more because he is literally crazy. My mom wanted to get her tubes tied after she had me…so Yama helped her answer the questions the doctor asked. Some of those questions were about my parents sex life….EWWWW. He was about twelve years old.
He graduated high school and got a job at the 99cent store. He went to a trade school to study X-Ray technician and he thrived in his field. He worked in hospitals and clinicsand made a pretty stellar reputation for himself.
The family was so proud of the man he had become. He helped my parents in whatever way he could. From the day he started working, he gave my mom $300 dollars every month. We were poor and as soon as he could..he got a job to help out. He would take all of us to school whenever he could. During back to school time, he would take us all shopping for new clothes. Saturday nights was movie and pizza nights. He would take us to blockbuster and we could get whatever we wanted and he would order us take out.
We had water gun fights and would play hide and seek in the dark…even though he was way older than us.
He protected us no matter what and although we didn’t have much….it never felt lacking.
Honestly, we loved him too. We were proud to call him our big brother and we looked up to him. We celebrated his birthday every year. My siblings and I threw him a surprise party. We decorate the entire living room with balloons and string. He was working late that night but we stayed up late until he got home. We heard his car pull into the driveway, so we turned off all the lights. When he walked in and turned on the lights, we yelled SURPRISED! This became a tradition for the next couple of years. In America his birthday was on July 3 so we celebrated 4th of July and his birthday at the same time. We don’t when his real birthday is because in Afghanistan its different how they keep track of birthdays and what not. On one of his last birthdays, Geeti and I got Yama finches and a beautiful cake. We celebrated at my grandma’s house with the entire family but he was not having the best night.
There’s something about siblings and the bond you hold with them. Maybe not for everyone but it was true for us. The six of us had this magnetic bond…it was a force so strong that at times it would become to powerful and dark. When Yama died….a part of each of our hearts died. The moment his soul left…a part of us left with him. We couldn’t follow him..we couldn’t save him. We couldn’t save him guys…We tried…the next part to this saga…how hard we all tried to save Yama or did we not try hard enough?
Thank you for reading. Thank you.