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“Tayta” Em Nashaat: a story of love, sacrifice and survival

All grandmas are supposed to be nice and sweet. My grandma is the nicest and sweetest of them all!

I’m not exaggerating, She is. It’s been a while since I wanted to write about her because she is one of the most important women in my life.

My grandma (Tayta) Ymn Kanj AKA Em Nashaat is Mrs AbdulKader Finge (May Allah bless his soul) . She is the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Khodor “Bek”  Kanj. She was married when she was 14 to a guy almost 16 years older than herself. They had 8 kids, a happy short life together, then my grandpa got sick. She can tell you stories, heartbreaking stories of how she used to care for him,nurse him even carry him on her back when need be..She once told me that when he slept she was afraid he’d wake up at night and need her so she slept hugging one of his legs or arms: this way whenever he woke up, she’d know. Then, he died. She was a widow with 8 kids at an early age of 35. She was beautiful and got several tempting proposals to remarry which she categorically and emphatically refused. She raised her children alone, the best way she could. She had 4 boys and 4 girls. She taught, embraced, loved, cared, pampered, indulged, scolded, encouraged. She did it all! And she did it without expecting anything in return. Even now, with 25 or so grandchildren, she still finds the energy to care and love and give.

To me, she represents the limitless endless love. She amazes me with her ability to find positive things even in the worst situations..

I love how she defends people even when they do something wrong: “What if they didn’t see you?” “Maybe He didn’t know” ” Who told you she did this? ”  ” I’m sure there’s a mistake” …

I love how she always finds something nice to say when you’re down: ” you’re better off”.. ” Allah will never forget you” ” You are strong, you can do it”.. and how she always has an appropriate response for anything you say..

I love how she still morns following traditions ” Ma helweh ya setti” and how honestly she feels the loss of a relative. Her tears flow silently and her face gets pale.She wears black, refuses to attend events, enumerate their qualities and remembers anecdotes..

I love how she always finds something to do: cleaning a closet, knitting a sweater, rearranging crystals…

She taught me that being a woman means being strong, caring and responsible. She taught me how to love and expect nothing in return. She taught me how to sit, how to laugh, how to smile…

Thank you Tayta, you’re the best!