Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Quora Question: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?

Thinking I knew what was best, by making a decision without consulting my brother.

My dad’s health rapidly deteriorated around the time my brother was preparing for his final exams. I’d always taken exams seriously, but I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as him. His life was consumed by it, the only breaks he took was to visit our dad in hospital.

We were warned by the doctors that the prognosis wasn’t good. He was in and out of a coma. Then that dreaded call that his tests came back, he wasn’t going to make it. He could go at anytime, but we could avoid prolonging the inevitable by making the decision to switch his life support machine off prior to that point.

That day was my brother’s last exam. He was mentally exhausted. My eldest brother and me told my mum that we shouldn’t tell him we’re going to switch dad’s life support machine off. It wasn’t an easy decision, but at the time, it was one that was done out of love. I knew dad’s wishes would have been for him to concentrate on his exam. My mother warned us that she didn’t feel it was right.

Sadly, we were to learn that our judgement of the situation was misguided. When my brother learnt that he missed the opportunity to say goodbye, he was extremely angry. It set him back emotionally, taking longer to grieve than the rest of us. While he did us all immensely proud, smashing his exams gaining a first-class degree, in addition to being the top of his graduation year, that all meant nothing to him.

It will always play heavily on my conscience that I took away his chance to say goodbye. I learnt a painful lesson that day, the mistake of lying to protect a loved one from sadness. I won’t ever do that again. Life just doesn’t work out the way you expect it to…

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