A few weeks back, Mahnoor Shabir, a student at LUMS wrote a powerful status on Facebook outlining her battle with Cancer that has just gone into remission.
“I am a 21 years old who should be worrying about my quizzes and if I made it above the average, but instead I have to worry about my blood counts being in the normal range”, she wrote.
“I am 21 years old who should be worrying about my GPA, but instead I worry about the result of my biopsies. I am a 21 years old who should be worrying about a chipped nail, instead, I worry about the effects of chemotherapy. I am a 21 years old who should be worrying about relationships, instead, I worry about emotional attachment with almost anyone. I am a 21 years old who should be the one making trips to the hospital for her parents and wheeling them around, instead they are the ones doing it.”
In heart aching words, Mahnoor penned down all the struggle that comes with a disease that claims thousands of lives each year, all the while remaining strong.
The status has since been shared 8.8k times with prayers and messages of hope flowing in from all parts of Pakistan. Mahnoor’s last words to the world remain, “I beg you to all to keep remembering me in your prayers. And more than that, I need you to you to pray for my parents!”
Unfortunately yesterday, she passed away after remaining in a coma.
Today, Mahnoor’s sister Sammar Shah wrote a heartfelt and painful eulogy in her loving memory.
Stating that she feels she owes everyone a eulogy for Mahnoor’s passing after receiving messages throughout her journey and towards the end, Sammar writes,”Mahnoor’s relapse was discovered only 2 days before she was due to return to LUMS to continue her studies and while last time she didn’t shed a single tear, this time she wept inconsolably. Regardless, she was admitted and she fought to her last. A cycle of chemotherapy left her depleted of her immunity and her lung contracted pneumonia. She was admitted to the ICU and then put on ventilators. She survived for 10 days then. Her lung collapsed first and then organ failure happened and finally, a cardiac arrest took her life. I know that she fought till the end for when my father excused himself when asked to sign the ventilator consent form, I got to spent minutes in private with her. I told her what was happening and that she had to fight a little longer.”
Lying there gasping for breath, she gave me a thumbs up. She fought but then the fight became too much to ask of any human being.
“What can I tell you about Mahnoor? For once I’m at a loss for words. She was like that. She could render the gushing of the river to silence. Her laughter was loud, her emotions intense, her personality extreme. Her charm was her polarity. Her laugh could set birds to flight and her temper could ebb lightening. She was smart and intuitive and before the diagnosis, she knew she had cancer and before reports, she knew she had relapsed. What can I tell you about that girl? She was magic with the frame of a fawn and the strength of ten men. She fought for what she believed and acquired everything by pursuit and not by privilege.”
She bore the burden of this infliction with grace and dancing at her cousin’s wedding she didn’t look cancer-stricken.
“She endured the side affects of treatment with ease and confidence. Her goodness and sense showed in her reclusiveness. And she was the beloved of God. She was my baby sister. Our little Mahnoor.
This day all I hear is white noise and nothing anyone says makes sense. I can only hear the rustle of poplars at Kakul road and the din din of cars. But any words of sense I can’t register. Sometimes I go to your whatsapp, hoping to catch you like I would when you wouldn’t reply. Sometimes I call your name to hear how it sounds to the ear but all I can hear is ringing. I know it’ll get better. We’ll learn to endure. Your parents are happy your suffering is over but they miss you. We all miss you. You’ve been coming to me in my dreams sometimes asking about Shahmeer and sometimes telling me to feed the fish.
I hope you’re not lonely. I hope you’ve met Abu. And I hope you’re together happily forgetting the pains you’ve both endured.
“But remember us. We’re sick with grief. Your parents are sick with grief but they’re trying to be brave like you. You’re the bravest person I know. It’s been an honor to know you. Meri jaan. Mera bacha. Who used to come to me and talk about the things you could say only on the opioids they gave you for pain relief. When I’d tell you the way of the world you’d say ‘No sammy, I want to know what you think. What’s your opinion?’ and that made me feel so special. Mahnoor all our childhood flashes in my mind in a vague blur and when I see your friends, I feel your presence amongst them laughing with your mouth open and clapping your hands.”
I wish you could know how the entire world took your story so personally and wept for you.
“I wish you could know how much you’re loved. I wish you could tell Shireen that it’s okay. That she’s still a hero for giving you her cells. I wish you could tell Daud and Ismail how brave they are. And I wish you could kiss baba and ami goodbye. Your Versace noir still lingers in the air. It’s a smell we’ll never forget. I wish you could tell Ami you’ll tell her every little thing that bothers you and not bear in silence. I wish you could tell Yousaf our suicide squad is still intact but most of all, I wish you know how special and beautiful and magical you are.
Shahmeer asks about you every night and he still prays you’ll get better. I don’t know how to tell him his favorite is gone. I will miss our late night movies and foodpanda. I love you my dearest, darling. You’re my child. I wish you could still root for Tender Heart. Your friends come to see you every day. And they came to say goodbye. Like we all did. I guess it’s goodbye. You’ll forever live in our hearts. I wish we meet again someday.”
Mahnoor, wherever you are, I hope you’re happy and peaceful.
“Snuggling with me under the blankets you told me you didn’t want to die but you’ve left nothing incomplete. But there is one dream that you dreamt the past one year, of a cancer foundation to fund treatment of poor cancer patients and we’ll see that to completion. I promise we’ll see that many cancer patients have the privilege that you did. We’ll never forget. Please meri jaan, don’t ever forget.”
Don’t forget to say a little prayer for Mahnoor, Sammar and their family along with every patient and their loved ones who have undergone the terrible trials of Cancer. May their soul rest in peace.