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Death

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Of Blame Games
Stop. Let’s stop right there. Let’s have a moment of silence. Let’s take a moment to understand what is happening before pointing fingers or saying what’s wrong or right. A young man was killed by the mob; a wanted young man, part of a gang, and his mates now want revenge. But that isn’t the full story is it? There is a whole lot of things that have gotten us to where we are. One of which is the blame game.

Let’s stop because the too strong blame game will not bring any results. We need to critically look for a way forward soon and soon enough. We need answers not speculations. We need to come together not split further into antagonists and protagonists.

Of lost Youth, Drugs & Unemployment
What could have gone so wrong? Is it that we were raised in such a wrong way? Is it that our parents and leaders have failed us? Is it that we are too cool for planet earth? But no. We are all to blame. Parents, Teachers, Leaders, Peers…We have failed each other. We all have an equal role for we have brought ourselves down. Let’s not say there are no jobs. Let’s face it; jobs can be found. You just need to seriously look and TRY. Problem is, there are no jobs that we think we deserve. The problem is when we say, I have an education so I can’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t ever be a shopkeeper or a tailor or anything else that appears minor in our eyes. Let’s accept that our youth have gotten the wrong idea of life and success. Let’s accept that this is the generation that watches macho violent movies and we forget those are but fiction that we forget the part ‘Don’t try this at home’. This is the generation that is sooo obsessed with ‘Being Someone’ such that any way to get to that is good enough. Drugs that are easily found by teenagers, how does that happen under our noses? How are we training our young ones to be steadfast and upright in such a century? How are we being role models to the youth such that they can be something in this life without harming others? Allah (S.W) says in Surat Ra’d: Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Can we be the change first?

Of Tearful Mothers and Hurt Fathers
We can all agree on this; No parent ever wants to see their children lose their way, being in the wanted list or harming other people (Not unless the parent/s themselves are involved) So let’s not be too quick to say, ‘How did his/her parents let him become a goon like that? It must be that they were negligent.’ Okay maybe they are negligent. Maybe they failed at some point in their parenting. Yes maybe they should have brought forward their spoiled child for rehabilitation or for justice. Maybe they should have tried harder…but who are we to criticize when we haven’t even heard their side of story. How can we ever know how much they battled and wept for the children or they still do? Perhaps they also had some little hope for them to reform, maybe they didn’t want to give up praying just yet.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on what happened with Nabii Nuh when he was asked by Allah (S.W) to ask all the believers to leave with him on the ship as from the qur’an.: “And [Noah] said, “Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.

And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], “O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers.”

[But] he said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” [Noah] said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah , except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.

And the story goes on and he says:
“And Noah called to his Lord and said, “My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!”

He said, “O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.” (Ch 11:41-48 Quran)

Does that mean that Nabii Nuh failed as a parent? No. Or when Qabil killed Habil, did that make Adam (A.S) a bad parent? Some children are but tests to their parents and as much as some have contributed to their children’s ugly behaviours, some are nothing but helpless souls. We should be encouraging them to bring out their children for rehab instead of throwing off words to judge their parenting. We should join them in prayers for today it might be their child tomorrow might be yours. Yes, life is that scary.

Of misplaced priorities
Where is all our concentration? No, let’s be honest. What have we given our priority to? Hasn’t it been politics and what which politician did what or arguing over who is a better candidate? Hasn’t it always been on petty issues like what day was ‘real Eid’? Haven’t we put too much energy debating and roasting one another online over ridiculous issues like who holds a fake account and whose wife was seen where? For how long have these gangs been harassing different communities? Long enough to bring about call to action. I won’t discredit the efforts of some individuals and few leaders who’ve tried taming the situation but this should be something we all come together for; not with too much anger and remorse, but with wisdom, prayers and smart strategies.

Of unethical images and their widespread
Please people, it is wrong. It is so very wrong to publicly share photos of a dead individual especially when it shows his/her face or that makes him identifiable. It doesn’t matter if someone was a thief, a goon or a ninja assassin because when one dies, they just become a body. Those widespread photos won’t hurt him, but will hurt his loved ones who probably have no involvement in his/her actions. It is disturbing that you share those images even when you put a huge disclaimer that the photos are disturbing. I mean why are we so hungry to be the ones to spread some news? Please adapt the golden rule which says, ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’. Now maybe you are not a thief or a goon on the wanted list, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want such disturbing photos of your brother or friend or even someone you know being spread after they die or killed or suicide or during an accident…whichever the case is. Give the dead their privacy and respect. Their judgement is now upon the Most High.

Of second chances
I’m just trying to imagine, what if one of the gang members really wants to surrender right now?? But then there is the wrath of the people awaiting him. Would he really surrender? Should he? Would you, if you were in his shoes? We say we really want to help our young ones and children, but are we ready to give them second chances? Can we accept them back and forgive them? Perhaps they need reassurance. Maybe not all, but even if one is ready to repent then that’s a win for a community.

Remember the story of Ghawrath bin al-Harith. When the Prophet received word that some of the tribes of Ghatafan were mobilizing an attack on Madinah, so he undertook a small expedition toward their territory but they fled before the Muslims arrival.

However, while the Prophet was resting under a tree, an enemy warrior by the name of Ghawrath ibn al-Harith, who had pledged to assassinate the Prophet, quietly took the Prophet’s sword as he slept and suddenly declared, “O Muhammad, who will save you from me?” The Prophet awoke and simply replied, “Allah.” Ghawrath inexplicably dropped the sword and the Prophet picked it up and asked, “Now, who will save you from me?”

Ghawrath was astonished and pleaded, “Be the better victor!”
The Prophet Muhammad forgave him. He asked Ghawrath whether he believed in the truth of Islam and Ghawrath replied, “No, but I promise not to fight you or aid those who fight you.” The Prophet let Ghawrath return to his tribe, whereupon Ghawrath said, “Verily, I have come from the best of people.” (Mustadarak al-Hakim, Sunan al-Bayhaqi, and Ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah). Food for thought.

Perhaps there is too much bitterness right now; of harmed individuals and robbed people. There are also revenge plots looming, God have mercy on us…
It is understandable why people would choose mob justice any time, but can we come together to sincerely help them, forgive them? Can we come together to make a special prayer for our lost youth? Can someone who knows how to go about this, arrange please? I mean, last time we had drought we came together to pray asking for rain alhamdulilah, why not do it again, for our brothers and children and future generations too? After all, it is only Allah who can grant guidance to people. Why can’t we have these many sheikhs come together with our leaders and parents for prayers and for a way forward?? To ensure that those who need rehabilitation are taken there?

May Allah guide us and our young ones and our children and protect us from all evil and bloodshed. Let us remember to pray for ourselves and our cities and communities frequently. Ameen.

 

#3 Sin
He stood at the precipice of the world,
Watching the cacophony of
Automobiles
Tear through neon-lit storms
And asphalt clouds,
Turning shadow earth into walkways
Where
Sky winds kissed star dust.
He was an artist,
A prisoner to everything
That was beautiful,
And he willingly succumbed to its
God-crafted temptations
As if it was a
Blessing
To adorn its sin.
She watched him in his element,
Listened to the way
Her demons
Roused
To the music his presence sung,
Tasted the longing
That collided with
Bittersweet words he left
Unspoken
At the edge of her tongue.
It was hard to tell
What sin
She would do next,
Plunge herself into the rippling
Echoes
That called to her desire,
Or drive a knife
Into depths that were deeper
Than the extent he
Destroyed her.
Then again,
How bad could it be
If she did
Both?

***

She wasn’t prepared for this. Pain ruled her world now, & it seemed as if the world was daring her to die… to take the knife she’d been watching for the last 30 minutes and finally lift the veil that hung between her and the Other world. Time seemed to be irrelevant. She had been chasing it all her life, but now when she gave up on it, she was drowning in an anguish that tore its way through her, leaving separate pieces of her soul to drift into grey realities of Forever. It seemed ironic, that sorrow made her feel immortal, and not love.

Her cell phone kept buzzing by the minute, calls from family and friends sending condolences and making haste to conduct the funeral ceremony and get it over with, as if keeping her dead sister too long from the grave would disturb the reality of the living. It was hard to tell, part of her was angry that they were rushing her into the earth, far away from her reach, but another part of her didn’t really care. Why would she? Katherine was part of the reason she was broken for the better part of four months now, she probably got what she deserved.

“I can’t be thinking like this right now”
She murmured to herself, trying to latch on to the loose shreds of humanity she still had left within her.
“She was still my sister nonetheless”

She couldn’t hide the fact that the way she was killed was chilling in every way. She remembered Tiffany’s face cringe as she described the scene of her murder, keeping the urge to puke away long enough for her to be able to tell the entire story. T was strong, the strongest girl she’s ever known, seeing her at her weakest like that was like a sign that the world was truly coming to an end. She even fell sick in the morning, and it fell to her to get her kids ready for school. Redd, her husband, had decided to stay behind as well and look after his wife, not letting Luna do everything that he could do as well.

“Trust me Lu, I won’t hear the end of it when she gets better or if the roles reverse. Plus I love her just as much as you do, in the least, I have to do my part don’t you think?”

And so with that she was left to her thoughts by mid morning after exhausting every physical activity that she had set out to do that day and distract her mind. It felt strange somehow, spending days hating everything about someone to feeling completely alone when they are no longer there… when it felt like thinking about them was the only solution you have for making you feel like you haven’t lost as much as the whole world is telling you. When memories are all that you have of a life that makes you feel more alive than you are at the moment.
She let herself indulge to the days she grew up with Kat. The first time she knew she was getting a sister was when she was 3 years old, her mom heavily pregnant back then.
“Mom how come your belly is getting bigger than dad’s?”
“Well Luna, that’s because there’s a baby in there who is about to come out”
“There’s a baby in there? How could you mom?!”
“How could I what, honey?”
“How could you eat a baby?!”
That was probably the first time she ever saw her mother laugh that hard.

When Kat finally came to the world, Luna realized that her mom didn’t have a mouth big enough to swallow a whole baby, especially one that was as big as Kat. Then again, she was 3, anything she carried on her hands always seemed to be bigger than her. Her sister though, was as adorable as her name. She had a heavenly scent that was addictive whenever she came from being bathed, something that reminded her of the warmth of home…of waking up to eggs and fried sausages and pineapple juice in the morning…a scent that grew from the endlessness that their mother loved them. In a way, it made them inseparable. In the end, she learned to love her like anyone would love their own sister: to infinity.

And now here, she sat after having spent what felt like eternity hating her sister. Building up waves and waves of anger that never met the shores of her lips, cleaving away the stone cliffs of her mind with every splash the memories of pain spilled from the seams of her shattered soul.
“*sigh* I hope God can forgive you Kat. Wherever you are, I hope He can.”

She thought about Sin, and everything he took away from her after he came into her life.
“With a name like that, I must have been a fool for not knowing what I was walking into!”
Finally, with relative ease, she put the knife aside, and set out to get another kind of poison to kill the bleak voids of her mind. It was only when she opened the door that she stopped short at the figure that was now walking toward the threshold.
“You got to be kidding me?!”

He watched her with artisan eyes, taking in every color she spilt into the hollow canvas of the world, seeing how darker her shadow-brown eyes were, how tears ate away the blush from her cheeks, the storm that weighed down the feather-light wings of her hair, and the pain; pain that took everything else God gave her. His steps were careful, but with intent, like he could see dragons rouse in the spark of his presence. His black suit did nothing to drown the devil in his smile, even though he tried to make it seem sympathetic. A light wind pulled at his tie, and it hung to the gale like a cape tied to darkness as infinite as his sunless eyes. He stood a few feet in front of her, minding the space he left between the artist & the living portrait of anguish he created.

“Luna”

Sinclair finally called out, agitating the dead leaves of her heart with soft words that pushed through his lips & to the ghosts of skeletons in her closet. Her hands coiled into raging fists beneath the sleeves in her sweater, trying to lax the fire that burned in her mind as anger rose like a new-born phoenix. Between the split second moments, she found herself wondering why she left the knife on the kitchen counter.

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

It Began With Death

I looked on
At the death of your
Laughter,
Watched as tears came down your face
Like angels of
Life,
Gleaming like silver-winged diamonds
Caught in the gold beams
Of the sun’s web.
One after the other
They carried your laughter down
To the surface,
Where the rest of the world
Received everything that
Your sky eyes let go.
There,
The wind brought forth
Loose fragments of the memories
You left behind…
The blushes…
The love…
The kisses…
And gathered it over the grave
Where broken hearts lay.
And I could only watch
As your world
Collapsed
Into yawning black holes
Filled with
Undying ghosts of the
Non-existent.

***

She watched the world in silence, letting the solace of the cold winter wind wash out dying embers of a once raging inferno that still charred the inner parts of her being, drowning any semblance of light inside with blackness as ancient as night itself. It has been days, and time still persistently dragged her back to empty avenues of memory lane where pain rained on the reminiscence, soaking her reality in gloom that doomed blooming colors to a grey hell.

“Hey! Hey Luna! Are you listening to me?”
Tiffany was at her side, her black eyes straining to find the open latches to the windows of her soul, finding only hollowness instead. They had been sitting at the restaurant for hours now, steam dancing between them like misguided ghosts from the heat of their coffee cups.

“Lu I know what he did to you was wrong, but you have to let me in, I want to help you. You have to let him go. I have to see you letting him go.”
“I want to, I really do T. But I don’t know what kind of person I’m supposed to be anymore. How can I let you in when I don’t even know myself anymore?”
“I know its not easy. It can’t be. But I know your pain won’t last forever. Don’t look back, there’s nothing there…”

She was right. As cruel as Tiffany’s words were she was still right. She always was.

Looking back felt like she was looking for things she could never find…light she could never see…the touch that she would never feel…a face she’d never wake up to again…

“I’m trying, but its hard letting go of someone who could love you like that!”
She could hear how soft the words fell from her wounded lips, torn by the endless nights she spent sobbing, as she watched the girl in the mirror crucify her lips upside down. Tears that dwelled from the seams of her ashened depths were now rounding the corner of her glass eyes, willing them to break one more time. She held her breath, hoping to suffocate the growing buzz of his voice…
His words…
His eyes…
His deceit…
“…I just don’t understand! I just don’t understand at all! Am I cursed to be this way?! Do I fall in love too hard every time just so karma can stab another knife through me deeper & deeper again?! What did I ever do to deserve this?!”

Familiar hands wrapped themselves around her own, as Tiffany moved her seat closer to Luna to comfort her. She hated it all. Hated how this angel she has always known to be the kindest girl in the world could never be given the love that she deserves. She was perfect to her, more perfect than she could have ever been, and had a beautiful soul. And today is the third time she’s seen it crushed, but the hardest she has ever seen her hurt. It made her angry…vengeful…almost like she could walk out there & kill him right now…
“He deserves to die.”

It was a surprise saying it out loud like that. And they both laughed at the thought. It was the first time she successfully made her laugh in a long while since the breakup 3 months ago.
“Damn right he does!” Luna added.
They laughed harder this time. For once, talking about death didn’t feel like a bad thing. It was just simple. Innocent. A release from the grip of an already dying reality. An escape from whatever fate time had conceived for her. And they laughed on, chiming out the gloom like church bells in the rain.
…That was how it all began.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.hivisasa.com/

Apart from the Uhuru-Joho and #UhuruChallenge fuss, people like me consider the foot bridge to be a great blessing. And when I say people like me I mean the paranoid, the hysterical, the psychotic freaks, the ones suffering from agyrophobia (fear of streets or crossing the street); yep, the people who see a car rushing right into them, crashing all their bones when crossing a busy road.

So years back when I started uni, I was quite overwhelmed with the highway. I would always stand for moments and moments again before actually crossing the road. I would stand close by to the next person beside me and follow them right when they cross. If I am to die I wouldn’t die alone right? I mean, who wants to die alone? 😀 But then we do die alone so while standing next to the person, I would go their left side or right side according to which side the cars are appearing from. If the cars are coming from the right side, I would go to the left side. If we are to be knocked down, the person is to die first. It sounds so selfish nah? So I decided I should stop being selfish and take care of my paranoid self. I decided to use the underground pathway-under the bridge 😀

Now there is something about the Buxton underground bridge. It is dark and scary. It is old and smelly. And most of all, it is not the place for me to walk into. Once I was down the stairs, I would hold my bag firmly.
Phone stashed away-check
Money hidden in a paperbag, inside a zipped smaller bag, inside a smaller smaller bag-check.
Karate move-Urgh, I should have watched the karate kid more.
Walking steps-Fast, FASTER THAN FASTEST.
But then remains one problem, what if this bridge falls on my head?!

This is precisely what happens when you watch too much of final destination 🙁

Oh my God, I should have written a will. My diary should be taken by Husna, my best friend after ‘the tragic incident of underground bridge collapsing’. But who will tell my mum that I love her more than I love my phone and laptop? 🙁
Which is worse though? Bridge Collapsing or someone attacking you in this dark hole? Rape, murder or kidnap?
Oh my God, I don’t even have a daughter to share this tiny sweet paranoic love portions with ;( No no, enough is enough. Where is the highway route again? So I decided to go back to innocently stalking people crossing the road.

God heard my cry and sent me a blessing 😀 I had some lovely classmates who would always accompany me to the stage. Yeah, sometimes I would be grasping one of their hands because a car from the farthest end is approaching. They would wait until the childish me was inside a matatu before they left their ways. You know, just to ensure I don’t get kidnapped or robbed or have my intestines scattered on the highway floor after a tragic accident. So on the days one of them or more wouldn’t come to class, I would have a mini-attack.
“Where are youuu? Why haven’t you come to class?!” *weeping emoji*
“Ah siji leo, mwalimu aboesha (I am not coming today, the teacher is boring)
*Weeping emoji, weeeeeeping emoji* “I am going home alone today” *weeping emoji again*
“You will be okay” *laughing emoji*
*weeping emoji is even tired of crying*

Then comes a bully or more bullies, “You going home alone today 😀 ” But then some bullies are friendly bullies, so they’d escort me and wait until I am gone. No wonder one of my friends told me I was always walking around with bodyguards 😀

Right now when I think of those moments and now with the foot bridge up I’m like, “If this highway was to be speak, it would be proud of how terrified I was of it.” Not to mention that one night I almost got knocked down for real and in my pursuit to evade the car, one of my legs ended up in one of those uncovered holes. Don’t even ask me how I got home that day 😀

May the credit for whoever built the bridge reach them because one of my 2017 goals (ameen) is to walk on that bridge, take a perfect selfie and caption it like, “Well well well, guess who survived the highway 😀 Oh! and the underground too!” 😀 😉

Photo Courtesy: http://cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com/

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS VERY DISTURBING CONTENT

For those who know me well enough, they’d tell you you’d rarely see me in the middle of a crowd. It makes my head spin. In any event or occasion i’d either be within the two/three rows and most probably at the side-end of the line. It is always easier to get away you know. The nearer to the door, the better. So yesterday I was at the Iqra Youth foundation seminar and they had us to follow the lines. I ended up right at the middle of the third line. So before the event started, we had almost two hours. There were some nasheeds being played. One of the songs was one of the songs my late Mama two loved. Immediately upon hearing it, I could feel her face right in front of me. The memories, the laughter, her jokes…I started crying. I thought it would just a be a tear or two but then it almost became like an outburst of a spring. I was nervously and anxiously searching for my handkerchief in my bag with my head bowed so down almost getting buried in the bag. Obviously I didn’t want anyone see me cry. It was too early in the morning for anyone to be seen crying. I could’t find my hanky so I just used my hijab to wipe the over-streaming tears. My younger sister was seated next to me, I could see how deep in thoughts she was. I guessed that she probably was thinking about her too but no, I wasn’t about to let her see me in tears and make her cry too. I am the older sister remember? In that roller coaster of thoughts, my mind replayed all those depressing videos I had seen the previous night of Aleppo. I started crying even more. Here I am crying for losing one important person what about them?! Losing everything all at once; homes, schools, hospitals, families…Seeing your sisters being gang raped right in front of their eyes…God! It made me feel miserable. The helplessness, the burning feeling…God knows how many times I kept my head bowed down in my bag, pretending to still be searching for the hanky. Looking behind after every two minutes to check whether my best friend had arrived to my rescue. My head was spinning, I could hear the laughter around, people busy chattering away, heads bowed down to their phones with no easy exit to the washroom so I stayed put, had a monologue trying to stay calm while taking deep breaths. God knows how many times I’ve wanted to disappear in such situations; be invisible, dissipate totally if possible. That is what helplessness does to us. Makes one angry, stressed, sad, frustrated all at the same time. It makes one question humanity, question God, question so many things…

This is perhaps one of the worst times to live in, one of the worst centuries to exist in. You see the humanity burn away into ashes. You see misery. You see rivers of blood flowing in a river-less town. You see children being tortured. You see women being raped. You witness a lot while you can do NOTHING about it. NOTHING.

But then this isn’t about Aleppo or Syria only. This is not about religion, race or politics. It is about the lives of innocent people. This is about Yemen, Palestine, Burma and many MANY other places around the world. It is about humanity. It is about the universe.

They cry, they scream, they die. They are calling unto us? Where are we?! Where are we in helping them? As much as we keep tweeting, updating, blogging, instagraming about them, we have to REALLY ACTUALLY LITERALLY pray for them. Let us not just say, ‘let us pray for them.’ We need to take action NOW! We need to organize protests. We need to organize tahajjud for prayers for the whole world. We need to go back to Allah because He? He is the only one who can help them.

I am not trying to torture you too with these videos. I hope you can see the importance of your prayers and protests at this moment, to see the blessings in your life that you barely thank God for…to see how much privileged you are. Alhamdulilah ala kul hal.

Take heart people. God is seeing this all. He is watching and He is preparing great reward for all these people. Take heart that God has a greater plan. That He is still in control; always has been, always will be. Let’s all turn towards Him. Let’s complain to Him. Let us beg Him. Let us PRAY PRAY PRAY! Let us pray for the sake of all those who are gone and those still clutching onto the feeble straws 🙁

Ameen thumma ameen! ;(

 

Photo Courtesy: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/

Five young deaths just between December to February. Five young souls that had so many dreams of the future. Five young souls lost in a split of a second. Five young souls that were gone without goodbye… and that is just for the people I know. Probably thousands or even millions other very young souls have left the world since then. The more i hear these news, the more I dread checking the social media because I fear hearing of one more; gone. Been quite a shock on the death of Sajid Al beity; a brilliant young man and Aziz Bashir yesterday. I’m not even over the death of Ahmed Darwesh yet. Sometimes I turn on the TV and still wait to hear his happy voice and charming smile delivering the news. It almost sounds unreal, like a nightmare and soon everything will be back to normal with all these young people happily rejoicing life amongst their loved ones. Yet who are we to question God’s plans and wisdom? This is just but a journey and all of us will finally go to the same destination; our graves.

 

I’ve always been obsessive, possesive, all these crazy words; you name it. I have struggled to keep my ties with everyone intact. I have always been like the hopeless romantic who can never fathom or accept the idea of anyone; family, friends, workmates, colleagues, any person who in any way impacted my life…anyone, leaving their life. My friends keep telling me not to get too attached because you will always end up hurt but my ideology has always been different. I know the consequences of holding onto people. The end of it is usually terrible especially when there is no goodbye. But one thing I am glad of despite everything is that I am acting the way a human being should be. I am glad I have a soul that has emotions when so many people around act heartless. I keep saying all the time, LIFE IS TOO SHORT and my friends think i’m just being hysterical with the saying ‘stop talking like you are about to die’ but yes, I am about to die. All of us are at the verge of dying we just dont know when. Probably it’s this thought stuck in my mind that makes me seek people in my life who keep disappearing. And sometimes it’s almost like hide and seek. We talk then suddenly they disappear and i’d go down the earth like a crazy maniac to find out where they are. And it keeps going like that over and over again. But if anything, I am glad I am the way I am because I have no regrets whatsoever with how i dealt with anyone. I know I tried my very best to keep all my relationships with people in my life to be straight and I tried my best to never cut off anyone yet those who decided to leave despite my continuous trials, I rest my case. Apart from that, any mistakes are out of my human self of which I hope i’d be forgiven for by God’s will.

 

All this makes me think a lot; is it that I am abnormal or is it that people don’t have a subconscious mind? How is someone able to go days, months, years not talking to someone just because of something that can be resolved? How are people so okay with crossing roads and passing by someone you were once so close to like you are total strangers? How does your ego let you sleep so comfortably when you know you are the reason someone is suffering out there? How do you afford to be happy with yourself when you are sooo not ready to face God?? Why do we wait until someone is gone is when we value them and scrutinize what they said to us more than before? Why do we wait to say, ‘I wish he/she knew how much I valued them??

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There comes a time when saying goodbye is not an option and this scares me like nothing else. There comes a time when saying I am sorry, or I love you or this is how much I care for you to your mum or dad or spouse, your friends or maybe your siblings; is impossible. The thought that people don’t think of unsaid goodbyes bugs me so so much; I wish I understood how people are so comfortable with their lives forgetting that there is something called; sudden death? It makes me want to scream on people’s faces so that they can wake up. So that they can look at the world from this point of view that I see it; so that they can finally realize that when their time finally comes they will never have one more minute. But I know screaming at anyone never made any difference yet I still hope everyone dies while they are happy that they lived well, that they have nothing to regret about.

 

We were all sad when Ahmed Darwesh passed on and the even younger Sajid…and all the other young souls that died so unexpectedly but do we really learn the lesson? Do we learn from what God is trying to make us understand here? That our lives are too short and at anytime we could go too?? Do we just think about it for the few days after they die then go back to our reckless lives after that?? Whoa! I wish I could share my fear with some other people maybe somehow that will make them value life more. Maybe it will make them realize how we are just going back to sand at the end of it all. I have no words anymore; maybe just hope that God grants us death only when we are ready to face Him and for the ones who left already, May God grant them His jannah. Ameen.

I actually had to borrow this title from my new friend made, Maryam, whose blog is by this same name ‘in the now though not forever’ http://nownotforever.blogspot.co.ke/ Please do find time to check her amazing art 🙂 Meanwhile, let us talk about what made me borrow this title particularly.

Just the other day, I dreamt of her. She was in a wheelchair and my mum was pushing it out of what seemed to be the hospital doors. I went to her and she gave me a very long hug. I looked at her and said, ‘I haven’t seen you in a very long while. It almost seemed that you were dead’ and she said, ‘No I’ve been okay.’ I don’t clearly remember the end of that dream all I know is that it was too vivid and seemed too real and I spent the entire next day thinking about her; mama two. I probably never really got over her death, maybe that is why I keep having this strange dream again and again where she is alive and I keep questioning her, ‘I thought you were dead’. The conversations in all the dreams have always been the same, the only difference is the venue of each dream. Sometimes I dream of her at home and sometimes at the hospital. I have never really understood dreams or whether mine do have a certain meaning or it is just the nostalgia of being with her once again…all I know is that, a part of me may never be recovered.

Just one day after this dream, is when Ahmed Darwesh, the popular yet humble journalist passed on. I haven’t understood till this moment why his death came as a big blow like a knew him personally. Probably it could be because he died still very young. But there is always wisdom behind God’s actions and maybe we were meant to learn from his example and be more alert on our actions because when death comes, it doesn’t choose on the basis of age. Just after his death, the following day, a close cousin to a friend passed on too. I also didn’t know this young man personally, but i had heard a lot of good things about him and it made me empathetic since he was still very young; probably with so many dreams of the future ahead. May Allah forgive their sins and place them in the highest level of jannah together with the prophets Biidhnillah.

I remember during one of our classes during a writing workshop by Kwani? one of our mentors told us of her story and how she feared death to a great extent. And that at one time during a trip in South Africa, they were asked to write their own eulogies; as a psychological way to deal with such fear. So she wrote about herself and how she has been through her lifetime; talking about herself like another party. And she said of how she cried writing those details and it felt so real; she was mourning her own ‘death’. But it was only after that exercise that she realized that she wanted to be remembered as a writer; for the books she has written. She wasn’t even a writer by then but that exercise made her realize what she really wanted and she ventured into writing more deeply and she is now a very successful writer mashaLlah. Respect to my mentor; Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor; the author of ‘dust’ amongst other of her works.

After hearing this story from her, I always said that I was going to do that exercise as well but I kept postponing it; probably because of fear of what I am going to discover from my own words. But I know I need to do it because I have always anticipated my own death to a paranoid state.

I always saw death in everything and nothing. When I board a matatu, I imagine the most terrible accident happening to the extent that I see myself in blood until to the declaration of my death and how each person is going to react about it. It is almost as if i am watching ‘the final destination’ movies with me being involved. At that moment, it is almost as if i am in a trance and the imagination is so vivid that I start crying at my own death. I’ve imagined my death in a road accident, sometimes when cars pass by too close especially lorries i see them falling on me, sometimes when i used to walk under the bridge i would imagine it falling on me. By God’s name, no single day passed by without imagining my own death. I remember how my best friend and I had the laugh of our lives when I told her of the first time I passed through the bridge under tunnel and imagined it falling over me. It seemed silly but it is real for me. When I see policemen I see chaos starting and bullets running right through my body. And many a times people told me that I watch too many movies, while some tell me I am an over thinker. The irony is that horror movies are my best; probably because they act as a challenge to my deep fear. It is true I have always been paranoid and an over thinker; and as much this has damaged me too many times, it is sometimes a blessing. And sometimes before I sleep, I imagine this is my very last night and it makes me wake up, take my phone and text the people who mean the most to me with the notion in mind, ‘this could be my very last night.’ I never stop telling the people who i care for, how much they mean to me and sometimes they feel I am just being too sentimental but most don’t know what it feels like to lose someone all of a sudden and they are GONE. This paranoia that everyone keeps talking to me about is what makes me strive to be a better person everyday.

I am not going to write my own eulogy as Yvuonne did; I probably have to gather up my guts for that first but I very well know what the closest people to me are going to do upon the announcement of my death.

I know of how my lovely mum will shed only a few tears at a time, trying to be strong even when everyone around her is wailing. I know she will be patient and try to accept her test from God. But I also know she will sometimes sit in her bedroom and have her tears. She will say she misses her ‘partner’ and her ‘baby’ as she always referred to me. Being the tiniest in my family, I always got the advantage of being treated the same way like our last born. I know of how she will talk to my sisters about me for days. I know she will talk about my dreams and try to do for me the rest that i wished to do. I know she, along with my siblings will mention me at every mention of adventures that were in my bucket list. I know she will mention me for so many things and I know she will start blaming herself for so many things. I know she will start blaming herself for not letting me go for these adventures, for not letting me travel to the many places i wanted to go. I know she will blame herself for the tiniest things she didn’t let me do and she will feel guilty about it. I know that because she is just an over thinker like me and i can put myself in her shoes. I hope at that moment, someone will tell her that I really loved her and that I really appreciate how she raised us all. I hope someone will tell her that she did all she could to make me happy and that that was very sufficient for me. I hope someone will tell her that I never felt angry or deprived of anything for the little things she wouldn’t let me do. I hope someone will tell her that it is not true that I loved my phone or my job more than I loved her. I hope someone will tell her that I was always so busy and only worked so hard for her sake and not because I loved my family less than my job. I hope someone will tell her that all the people I talk to in the phone can never be close to how much she meant to me. I hope someone would tell her that I was never going to make her make an appointment so as to see me just because I would have become a very important person with a good job. I hope someone will tell her that I would never be arrogant once i became successful, just as she so much feared. I hope that person would take as much time as they can to make it clear to her that I loved her to bits and that all I wanted is to die with her being pleased with me. Because I very well know how hard it will be to convince her; I know that because I would probably do the same if in her shoes.

I know of dad too. I know he will only shed a few tears during the burial but that will be it. I know he will hide his feelings like he always does and no one will ever know how he is feeling. I know he will miss calling to come watch an inspiring story on TV, or any other story like he always does with the saying, ‘hey writer, come see this movie it’s a nice one.’ I know he will miss narrating to me anything that I had missed watching and he would tell me with the hope that his writer daughter will expand her mind and be a famous writer as well at some time in life. I know he will be strong for my mum’s sake and he will keep consoling her again and again. I hope then, someone is going to tell him that I loved him a lot and I always admired him to the extent of wanting a husband with his qualities. I hope someone will do that for I didn’t tell or show him that often enough.

I know of my older brother. I know he will stay at home for days; staying low profile. I know he will be deeply affected. I know he will recall all the times he would hug me and tell my mum how much he loves me and he would always add, ‘I don’t know why she doesn’t love me’ and I would pretend to be serious like I don’t really love him. I know he will probably question himself what were my real opinions of him. I hope then,, someone will tell him that I really really really loved him and as much as I was hard on him on what he should do and what he shouldn’t, I would want someone to tell him that all I ever wanted was the best for him.

I know of my elder sister. I know of how strong she would be; just like dad. She would be the one to console mum as well. I know she will also cry secretly at times but I also know of how patient she will be. I know of how she would tell her son about his aunty who would only call him ‘baby habiby’. I hope someone would tell her then that at her every epileptic attack, I lost myself in fear of losing her. I hope someone will tell her that she was my strongest example to follow; a role model in patience and faith.

I know of my younger sister; the one who follows me. I know she will cry a lot but still, in silence. She will still tell people not to wail and that it is haraam. I know she will miss her ‘commander in chief’ as she would usually call me. She would miss the supervisor of the house as mum would call me and say that when I am not at home things just go haywire. I know she would miss me because she considered me her best sister and closest at that. I hope someone would tell her at that point that I would have missed her very much as well, if she were to be gone before me. I would have missed coming back home and her hurrying to me with a smile to say she missed me and to ask how my day was. I would miss her forcing me to smile when I couldn’t.

I know of my second last sister. She is the one closest to my nature; the aspiring writer, the poet, the adventurer yet she is more bold and filled with charm more than I ever was. I know she will cry a lot too. I know she will miss giving me an unexpected pinch or slap and how much it annoys me. I know she will miss telling me ‘give me a smile…no, i don’t want that one. I want the million dollar smile. Give me the million dollar smile!’ and that would make me smile without effort. I hope someone will tell her that even though I didn’t have time to listen to her endless stories, I still loved her like she never knew.

I know of my baby sister. Oh, my favourite. I know she will probably look at my sisters and mum as they sob. She will look at them silently as if she doesn’t understand what death is. But I know she knows. I know she understands because she is much smarter than anyone of her age. I know she understands and she is so observant over everything that happens around her just like she was the only one who ever noticed my secret tears. Like how i would go to the room after something has happened and i would see a small shadow following me to every place i went. She doesn’t make it seem obvious but I’ve always known she was following me and when i lie on the bed, she too would lie down in pretense that she is sleeping yet I know she is checking out on me. I hope someone will tell her she is the sweetest and most intelligent little thing I ever came across. I hope someone will tell her that she is lovely, loving and that she meant the world to me.

I know of my half siblings in Yemen. I know they will really be sad and cry too. I know they will say of how we haven’t met in more than fifteen years. I know irregardless of their own suffering in their war country, they will mourn for their gone sister. I hope someone will tell them then that as much as i didn’t communicate with them much it was because I was dying every time they talked of the bomb lasts and the chaos there. I hope someone will tell them I really cared even when I didn’t say it. I hope someone will tell them that I anticipated and day dreamed about meeting them and my lovely nieces and nephews always. I hope someone will tell them that it is not true to say, ‘out of sight out of mind’.

I know of my half brother who i have never met in my life. A very successful radiologist in Suudiya. I hope someone will tell him how proud of him i have always been. I hope someone will tell him that i always wished to meet him and his family someday. I hope someone will tell him even when i didnt keep contact much, I still cared and loved him.

I also know of my extended family. I know they will remember me as the workaholic i have always been. I know they will talk of how i was always busy and up to something. I know they will talk about my smile because it is the only thing they quickly notice when i am not putting it on. I hope someone will let them know that the lack of my smile never meant i was being moody..it is just that at times, i was too tired to stretch any muscles including my lips. I hope they will also know they meant a lot to me.

I don’t really know about my best friend; she is the only one i can’t guess her reaction. She always had her unique way of dealing with difficult times. I don’t know how much she will cry or even if she will, and that is because I don’t really remember seeing her cry; ever, except for once and it was just over the phone. However, I know she will probably go low profile for some time and she will probably be writing my biography just like she always said she would. I know she will write about me a lot in every avenue she will get to talk and write about me. I can imagine of the things she will write; the silly things we did together in the 8 going to 9 years. I know many other people will try talk about me too but she will be the only one apart from my family who will have the most authentic information about me. I know she will miss me a lot or who else was going to cling to her neck? I know I have always told her how much she meant to me and that she is the most precious gift from Allah so I am sure she wouldn’t really need a person to reassure her of what she meant to me. Instead, she will be the one reassuring my family and my other close friends. She is the strongest girl I ever met and probably one of the craziest. Nonetheless, she has always been the one who pushed me to take mature decisions in life. No one was ever going to replace her in my life. I am not worried about what she would do without me, Instead, I would be the one who would be totally lost if she was ever gone before me. After Allah, she is my biggest strength. No one has to tell her anything. She knows it already, she always did.

I also know of my very few close friends; those who were really sincere to me and had no ulterior motives. Those who have always been there at my worst and at my best. Those who never left me just because i was different or paranoid at that. I know them very well and i know how to differentiate between them and my other ‘friends’ who were only in my life for their own benefits. I know how well they will write about me (coincidentally most of them are writers!), how an intense and deep person I was and how they appreciated me. I know they will miss everything about me; including my paranoia. I hope someone will remind them then that I really appreciated that they understood me even when it was so hard to do so. I hope someone will remind them that when I used to tell them how much they meant to me, then I really really meant it.

I know of the very close friends that i was so attached to, who left afterwards. I know of how they will remember the good times i had with them and our deep conversations. I know they will remember how much they meant to me. I know they probably miss me then. I hope someone will tell them then that it always ate me up why they left without any goodbyes or where i ever went wrong. I hope someone will tell them that i cried several times for that. I hope someone will tell them that i scratched my head for answers to the extent my mind became inflamed. I hope someone will tell them that i missed them…and that whatever in me that made me leave, was never intentional..and that i loved them sincerely.

I know of my old friends and teachers that i never talked to frequently but who would still check up on me once in a while. I know how they will remember me for the personal encounters with them especially my high school classmates. I know they will laugh at the many funny moments we had together. I know life kept us busy but i hope someone would tell them then that i still treasured them, loved them very much and wished them the very best wherever they are.

I know of the ones who used to call me names and of those who thought and said i was being hypocritical pretending to be holy when i wouldn’t shake men’s hands and so on. I know of those who smiled at me yet they talked at my back. I know of those who mocked me right in front of my eyes and bullied me emotionally. I know that at that time, they will scrutinize everything that i ever told them. They will try to find deeper meaning in every conversation i had with them. I can very well point out and bet who will then feel guilty and those who just wouldn’t care even then. I hope someone will tell them then that I actually never hated any of them and that I only felt hurt whenever i met them once again. I hope someone will tell them that whenever i met them, i debated with myself whether I should just forgive them or leave it upon God and we let Him be our judge on the day of judgement. My heart would always flip from forgiving them to letting God deal with them…i hope someone will tell them, as much as they damaged me, i still hope when my moment of death comes, my heart will be at the ‘forgive them’ side.

I also know of those who just knew me because of my writing and those who considered me their mentor. I know they will probably miss my posts and they will be motivated to follow my footsteps in writing. I also know of the ones I used to persuade to read my work so that they could give me their opinions and they never did; i know at that instance is when they will rush to see all that i wanted them to see but it will probably be too late to give me their opinions and criticisms. I hope someone will tell my writing fans that they inspired me as much as they considered me an inspiration to them. I hope they will keep writing and that someone will tell them that i loved them , even when i never knew them personally. I also know those who just knew me because of the extra ordinary samosas that mum made and no one could ever have enough of them lol. I know some wouldn’t even remember my name but once they mention the samosas to their friends, they will remember the samosa girl lol. I can even imagine how they will write their encounters with me while buying the samosas…the thought of it makes me laugh. Who ever thought i will be remembered because of food?! hehe

I know of those who misunderstood my intentions, my words and my actions. Those who thought I was being selfish as I whined and complained over my messed up emotions. I hope someone will tell them that I lived with fear, that my thoughts ate me up like the way fire finishes off wood. I hope someone will tell them that I only sounded selfish coz of my over reactions and my repeated statement of what is going to happen to me. I hope someone will tell them that I always cared for them more than I made it seem. That by Allah’s name it was never meant to be selfishness; just deep fear in disguise…

Life has taught me to never take risks when it comes to the people you come in contact with. The smallest of things you do can change their lives forever and it is humanity that eventually gets restored. This may never really help deal with my anticipation for death but i wanted to have a permanent posted reminder to all those that crossed my life at some point; that when i said ‘i care for you’ then i really meant it and for those who misjudged me and took me wrongly by my words or actions then i beg for your forgiveness. Truly life is too short and we never know who will go first. Please forgive me for anything wrong i did to you and if i happen to die before you then please pray for me. And if you get to jannah and don’t find me there, please ask for me. Who knows, maybe your duas is what will make me get a place in jannah in shaa Allah may we all meet there. It is true, I am in the now, but i very well know, it is not forever…may we all have husnul khatima in shaa Allah.

MAMA TWO; THE WOMAN THAT WILL FOREVER LIVE

By: Lubnah Abdulhalim
Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

THE MAGIC PEN

The illustrations just couldn’t be comprehended,

Every feature just seemed faceless,

What was happening?

What were all these creatures etched like lines?

In circles, squares and straight lines

They just didn’t make any sense

but wait!

in came the illustrator with his magic pen and of course just instantly he got to work

and wow, behold! Suddenly everything made sense.

All the illustrations came to life

All that were lines became features

These features were of beautiful people and trees, houses and furnitures

Then it all made sense

And I realised

That he had done it again,

The illustrator and his magic pen.

My aunt was reciting the poem to the illustrator who was seated in front of him. With a lot of excitement, the illustrator’s eyes twinkled.

‘I am going to print that out and frame it,’ he said as he went on taking notes on the descriptions of the characters in my aunt’s storybook. And as for my aunt, she went on giving explanations with such joy that I could imagine the characters in my head. For months that followed, the illustrator was a frequent visitor at home and my aunt was at the top of the world.  At last her dream was going to come true. After almost ten years, she was finally going to publish a few of her many short stories that she had written for us while we were young.

Being a prospective writer, I usually found it interesting to hear her give descriptions and plan on her books. She was my mentor and I loved that spark of life in her. She was a perfectionist and she was very particular about everything.

All throughout my school days, she was the one who attended parents meetings and came for not only my report card but all my siblings’ as well. It wasn’t because my mum was too lazy or negligent do it herself, but my aunt was just really insistent. She loved it. The teachers got so used to this charming woman who always had something to say about the children’s perfomance and behaviour. It was naturally in her; that magic touch that she shared with everyone she met. I remember how she would make us create study timetables and she frequently held pep talks with us. We were what she couldn’t have; children that she could consider her own.

She had married late and unfortunately her marriage was short-lived, but she has lived with us as long back as my memory goes. She was the first woman to hold me in her arms, even before my mother. And I remember how much she loved that I resembled her and how many people thought that I was her daughter. And there are just so many memories attached to her. The woman who, when any of us was preparing for a national exam, would transfer us to her room and take it upon herself to wake us late at night to study. I remember how she would always arrange the study table and every once in a while she would stick an inspirational note on the wall throughout the year from the word go.

Several months later,  she had her first two books published and I could read the enthusiasm in her eyes.

‘You will be my personal secretary,’ she told me and ever since, I became so. Days turned into nights and nights into day as she went up and down marketing her books. Her diabetes was eating her up but she wanted to live her dream and so she did. Then slowly, she started losing her eyesight; her diabetes was acting up again.

When she went for the first operation on one of her eyes, she feared it was probably the end. She wanted to give the power of attorney of her books to my dad but my mother quickly refuted; she didn’t want her to think it was the end of her odyssey. As time flew by, her second eye got weak as well and she had to go through another operation. I woke up to days where she would sit for long hours struggling to write. She could no longer write in a straight line and her letters were playfully scattered like that of a child learning to write. I saw her strain futilely to immortalize pieces of her imagination in writing.

Her health deteriorated and she spoke less. I remember those nights I’d hear her coughing uncontrollably and I’d close my ears and turn to the wall. I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to feel. Those days we grew apart and I could barely look into her eyes. And many of the nights when I’d hear her in the next room struggling with an attack, I’d sob slowly and squeeze myself so hard to the wall as if expecting it to hug back or maybe swallow me and let me disappear. After I had had my share of tears I’d slowly tiptoe to the washroom and would still hear her groans of pain. Most times I would avoid her and she would notice that I did. In the morning I’d walk into her room and kiss her cheek and walk away before any other conversation could come up. Days seemed to be dragging on and the nights seemed longer than the days.

Soon after, she was diagnosed with a swollen heart and was soon admitted to the hospital. But upon meeting the doctor for the second time and showing him her blackened toe, the doctor informed us that the toe was a worse issue than the heart. Since she was a diabetic, the blackness in her toe was poisonous and dangerous. So she was transferred to the hospital…and that was the last time we ever saw her at home…

On the first night that she was admitted, I promptly offered to spend the night with my her at the hospital. Hours later, my mum informed me that my aunt didn’t want me to stay behind with her. And I felt stung by those words.

‘But why?’ I asked my mum as a bitter lump formed in my throat.

‘She said that you couldn’t even look at her when she was at home so how can you tend to her at this situation?’

And my heart broke to a million pieces. It hurt so.

‘Mum..I just can’t stand seeing her wither away like that. I couldn’t see her hurt and ache. I just couldn’t. ..’ I said between tears, ‘but now I want to be there for her…’

‘You can’t keep on living like this. Were your children to get ill, would you dump them to me just because you couldn’t take it?’ And my mum left me with that. So it was decided that my big brother would be the one to spend the nights with her.

Sorrow engulfed our house and our schedules changed drastically. Every morning, I would wake up to an empty house. Everyone had left to their busy lives while my parents rushed before sunrise to relieve my brother so he could rest as well and I stayed at home all alone and it got to a point that I could actually hear the walls vibrating due to the deathly silence. It was a lonesome time. Every evening I would visit my aunt at the hospital before going for my classes. It was a large ward and her bed was at the farthest corner. The cries of agony, the groans from the first bed were clinging to my head like the limbs of tiny insects. I couldn’t stand the tense pain-evoking environment and I remember that the tenant of the first bed was a young child who was burnt from a fire. I would often hear her scream as she was being nursed. My heart was aching and the acrid smell of the medication made my head ache as well. I would glance at the occupant of each bed in dismay.  Truly, people undervalue their bounties. And here was my aunt, still talking less but groaning unbearably in pain.

The doctors decided to cut her toe to stop the poison from spreading . Unfortunately it had already spread and the second time, they severed her whole foot to just above her ankles. I remember how she would scream loudly and would sometimes get hysterical when she was being nursed and my mum would whisper softly  ‘Calm down..everyone is watching you…’ and she would reply even more loudly, ‘Ah I’m in pain..I don’t care.’

It was somewhat comical how she would act at times; instructing the nurses loudly not to hurt her or how sometimes she would slap my brother or tighten her grip on his hand so hard. We would smile silently and the nurses informed us that that was because of the many medicines she was taking. She would hallucinate frequently and she slept almost all the time.

Her complications stretched in number; her heart, high blood pressure, the poison rising in her leg and she suddenly had ulcers as well. The doctors noticed that the medication was not effective and they kept writing different prescriptions each day. The medicines were complicating it even further. Sometimes the medicines for ulcers would react with her diabetics or the medicine for ulcers would react with hyper tension and for the doctors, it became like a game of trial and error.

Just across her bed was another woman who had her entire leg cut off and had stayed in the hospital for months since she was unable to pay her bills but she looked quite strong and she was even walking around sometimes. This woman’s survival story was our glimmer of hope; hope that our aunt would survive, that she would be able to walk even with one leg. On the left side of my aunt’s bed was a young girl of my age group who had had a terrible motorbike accident.I always used to hear my mother mention how patient the girl had been and one day during the visits to the hospital, I asked her to show me her covered leg. What I saw was certainly not a good sight.

‘They have to slice part of my thighs to patch it to the leg.’ I took another look at the red leg that seemed to have all of its skin sheared off. I was becoming so affected that I could no longer stand these visits. It was unbearable.

The first time my story was published in a newspaper I rushed to the hospital and showed it to her and she nodded slowly, like in appreciation of  my hard work and murmured, mabruk. I knew she couldn’t see what was written well but I still wanted her to see it. I wanted her to see the fruits of her inspiration.

Day after day, night after night found my brother in the ward. He would feed her and take her to the washroom and bring her curtains so she would bath right where she was and when bad got worse, he was the one who bathed her and nursed her in the washroom as well. My heart melted at that. Maybe I had really underestimated my brother’s kindness or maybe I just hadn’t realized how much he loved her. All the other patients in the ward would be mesmerized at my brother and kept asking whether he was her son and when she’d say she’s like their second mother, they’d be awed even more at the beauty of it. Then came the night when she suddenly became unconscious and was taken to Intensive care Unit and we thought this would probably be the end of it. We went down in prayers and each of us at home silently sat in a corner; deep in thoughts. We needed her, we needed her charm and her laughter. We needed to hear her scold us about our duties and responsibilities.  We just needed her beside us.

God answered our prayers. By the next afternoon she was fully conscious and was sent back to her ward. That night as my mum was wishing goodnight to the other patients around my aunt called out to her, “You are wishing everyone and you’re forgetting me huh?” And we laughed lightly at that; at her undying humour.

It was the 7th of June and my younger sisters went to visit her after their annual sports day at school.  The sister right after me had won an award in the sports and she went to show her it. Mama two just mumbled slowly, mabruk. My mum told my sister, ‘Ask her if she has recognized you.’ and my sister was like ‘Seriously mum? Why wouldn’t she know me now?’ But mum insisted, ‘Just ask her.’

‘Mama two…who am i?’ And she said, ‘Lubnah…’ My sister was surprised that she hadn’t recognized her and actually thought she was talking to me. Feeling a lump in her throat, she kept quiet. She also had the same fear that I would have later in the day; that maybe she had already lost her sight then.

That same evening, my mum called me as I was left from uni. It was already dark and I was so exhausted.

“You have to come to the hospital.”

“I’m so tired mum. I don’t want to come that side of the town now.”

“You have to. Your brother hasn’t arrived yet and we can’t leave her alone until he comes by. Your younger sisters already saw her this afternoon. You have to come.”

After a lot of complaining and whining I still went and when I got there, my dad was trying to make her lie well on the bed.

“Mama two,” I called out as I patted on her hair. She didn’t say a word.

“Mama two…” I called her again and she looked up at me but her eyes seemed different, like they were seeing in opposite directions and for a moment I feared she had lost her sight. Then my dad called out her name

“Naima?”

“Naam,” she whispered and my dad was giving her instructions what she should do so that he could make her comfortable on the bed.

As she turned over she suddenly screamed ‘SubhanaAllah!’ before she went back to her mysterious silence. And those became the last words I ever heard from her. I stood helplessly beside her, trying to hear anything more from her but alas. My brother soon arrived and we all stood stiffly by the bed. I had a lump in my throat and my face was filled with sorrow and that’s when my brother teased at my disastrous posture and came and stood by my side. I understood he was trying to cheer me up but I couldn’t take my face away from the withering flower in front of me.

As we were leaving,I kissed her on the forehead and said goodbye. I walked a few steps ahead and suddenly had a premonition and quickly went back to her bedside, ‘I promise I will take care of your books’ before I kissed her again and left. Now, thinking about it I wonder why did I say goodbye and not goodnight as I always did. Why did I make that promise precisely that night? I never understood why.

It was way past midnight; almost dawn when my aunt called onto my brother.

“My chest…my chest..” she murmured with much difficulty. She was running out of breath. My brother took a glass of water and recited Surat Yasin on the water and made her drink it. And she was still complaining of her congested chest.

La ilaha illa Llah,” my brother kept saying to her and in slow bits she followed, ‘La illaha illa Llah.’

Muhammad rasulu Llah,‘ my brother continued but this time she could no longer speak and in a moment, she took her last breath peacefully as if she had been rehearsing for that moment for so long.

It was earlier on, at around 2 a.m when I suddenly woke up from my sleep and I remembered her. I said a short prayer for her; I asked God to let her live at least till ramadhan or until after my sister’s wedding. We needed her. We still greatly needed her. When my aunt’s health had become really critical, my brother called my mum to inform them to rush to the hospital. Just when they had reached downstairs at the door, they received another call from my brother again. She was gone.

It was on 8th June. I will never forget that date for it was the day I was woken up at fajr hour with silent cries at the corridor. I held my breath as I jumped out of my bed just to see my two sisters hugging each other tightly as tears welled up their eyes. My heart stopped for a moment and I stopped still in my tracks.

“Don’t tell me!” Is all I said as my heart started racing. “Please don’t tell me.” I repeated. But they didn’t have to tell me the obvious. I knew very well why they were holding each other like that at such a time. I knew they wouldn’t cry like that for anyone else so I just joined them in the group hug.

Our parents had already left for the hospital to plan on removing the body from the hospital. We were all alone at home now and just after the prayers, we were all seated narrating of all her last moments with us. That seemed to worsen the pain. It was like living in a worldly hell. I had never lost anyone I loved that much. I had never even thought about her death this soon. And all of a sudden I was lost in a trance. Remembering, remembering, remembering…I couldn’t even cry anymore.

After we had cleaned the house ready to receive the visitors, we realized that our seven year old sister was not with us. Rushing to the stairs, I found her seated silently at the stairs. She wasn’t crying nor did she seem sad but she seemed aware of what was happening. I hugged her.

“Do you know the meaning of death?”

 She nodded.

“Pray for her okay?”

She nodded again and I took her with me.

Plans were changed and the body was no longer going to be brought home but rather to our family house and so we had to leave immediately too. By the time we got there, it was too crowded. And the moment we stepped in, everyone rushed towards us. They all knew we were her children and she was our mother; mother not by birth but through sentiment and all else that is good and heavenly. She had already been washed by then and people were just kissing her goodbye now. We walked in to the room where she was and just found several people hugging me. I just went numb and broke down. I wasn’t crying coz of the death but more because of how the people around were wailing. The louder they cried the more tears silently rushed to my face.

“Please don’t cry like that. Haraam.” I heard my sister say constantly to the people hugging us but they went on. So we ended up consoling the rest instead of it being the vice versa. None of us screamed or wailed or overreacted. We were just there as silent as we’d always been. Mum was seated at one corner and even when I went to hug her,  we rubbed each other’s tears and consoled one another. We were the ones who loved her more than anyone else. We were the ones who knew her pain and sorrows. We were the ones who knew she wouldn’t want to see us wailing for her sake.

There were so many people at the funeral, majority of whom I never even recognized. Some introduced themselves as her high school classmates, some her long time neighbors, some her old friends. ..I looked at the many faces; grasping none but remembering all those days she’d narrate of her days at school, her very many awards in drama and plays. Her days as an exchange student in America. Her re-known eloquence and her boldness on the stage. She was a legendary storyteller and that crowd was just meant to be there at that moment. Thinking about it, she would have loved to see all these people around her…only they came by a little bit too late.

My friends appeared and we talked and I talked like nothing had happened. They were trying to cheer me up and I played along. When my best friend finally appeared just outside the house I rushed out and gave her a tight hug. Surprisingly, I never cried then. Maybe it was because I was confident that she knew my deepest sorrows just by glancing at me. We walked in and we spent the rest of the afternoon together; talking about everything else and barely touching the topic in hand. The hours were very slowly ticking away. It was the longest day of my life.

That night when we got home I was the first to ask my mother for food and she was surprised.

“Really?? Do you even have the appetite? None of us is thinking of food right now.”

Did I have an appetite really? I don’t know. Maybe I just wanted to get busy with something or just to fill my stomach and numb the acidic lump of pain there.

“You are stronger than I thought,” mum continued after a moment of silence. “In fact today you proved to us all that you were the strongest of us all.”

Was I? Was I really the strongest? I shrugged.

About two to three days passed by and the house was full of gloom. It wasn’t until one of the nights that I dreamt of her. And I broke down. I broke down in the dream and it was so severe that I woke up to find myself crying in reality. And I cried and cried and cried like never before.

“There..now you will be okay. It had just not yet sunk in your head,” mum consoled me. But the next days that followed, I constantly found myself dreaming of her. Dreaming that she was alive still. That she was healthy. And sometimes I would dream of her at home and ask her ‘but are you not supposed to be dead?’ It was haunting me now. It was haunting me that maybe she still died thinking I never cared for her. That she died thinking I did not want to take care of her. That I didn’t love her all that much. I was torturing myself with the thoughts now. Did she die knowing that I loved her so much? Did she understand that I stayed away only because I didn’t want to see her suffer?? Those thoughts never died away but sometimes I think of that last night that I didn’t want to go to the hospital and I say to myself, had I not gone to see her that night then I’d never have forgiven myself. And now I appreciate that night so much like never before and although she didn’t really talk to me but seeing her during her last moments was the best gift God ever gave me.

Almost two years later now, I still dream of her. I still turn to my wall and cry for her but mostly, cry that I stayed away. Had she forgiven me for that before she died?? I hope she did. I hope so…

We all still remember her in everything we do. When we see her favourite food, her favourite tv shows, her large mas-haf that she used to read as she was slowly losing her sight, her photos…and sometimes we just remember her for no good reason; just like that. But what I would never forget is the days we used to joke around about the future. Of how each one of us would have our own family and how she and mum would have special turns visiting each and how they would go to hajj together with dad too and how the house would be more peaceful without us.

I look back at all that and think…she left just too soon. Just too soon. She was the youngest in her family; a woman full of life, and even though she was playing at the early fifties she still had many dreams like she was going to live forever. But who am I to deny God’s will? I know she would have loved to know that I wrote about her. She loved being appreciated. She deserved to be appreciated.

Then one day my youngest sister came and asked my mum, ‘Will we meet aunt Naima in Jannah?’ We were all mesmerized by her question and all mum did was kiss her and say, ‘Ameen.we will all be together in jannah.’ And as I say this ameen, I swallow a bitter lump in my throat.

Ameen Ya Rab, Ameen!

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

TAP…TAP TAP TAP… can you hear those sounds? TAP TAP TAP TAP can you hear those fading footsteps? How comes? How comes, I only hear them?? The place is too cold, too dark, too narrow. I look around and I see no one. The walls beside me are of sand and a piece of wood is above me. I look around once more in bewilderment. Where am i?? I try to call out my mother’s name, my father’s, my best friend’s name but my throat is totally dry. What’s happening? Two strange creatures appear-none I’ve ever seen. Can you see them? I’m petrified and I try to run away but I can’t move. There’s no space at all. The creatures stare at me, glaring hard at me. They make me sit upright.

“What did you say about this man Muhammad?” they suddenly ask me with voices I’ve never heard.

“I don’t know. I used to say what the people used to say about him.” I answer, but that’s not what I want to say. I want to say, I know Muhammad(PBUH) and I only said good about him-I even followed him, but my mouth says the exact opposite words.

“You claimed to be a Muslim, you vowed into Islam but neither did you pray nor did you fast nor did you respect nor did you obey…” the two creatures say.

They hit me with a metal hammer and my mouth screams out a loud bawl. Can you hear it? I think the animals do, for I hear the dogs bark and the donkeys braying. Can you hear them?

The place suddenly comes close together, tightening me…aaaah! My ribs…and now I realize something that stupefies me. I am in my grave!! Oh no! my mother is still mad at me and…all of yesterdays prayers I didn’t pray. Oh my Lord! Those girls I disrespected…and the phone that I stole…and my teacher, Lord please have mercy on me, I insulted him.

I cry in agony as the place grows darker and much much more narrow.

The two creatures appear once more again and I’m exposed to a huge screen. I see a large raging inferno and they say to me, “that will then be your home.”

I cry in pain, horror and shock. I wish that day never comes…I wish…I wish I had one more day on earth. I wish…I JUST WISH…
Note: Pray before you are prayed for, give before you have nothing to give, obey before everyone disobeys you, respect before your respect is stained and help before anyone offers you help. Care, care to the fullest, care to every word you say, each action you take, care for everything around you, everyone about you. Care for there is no other place you will ever care. This is the time to change for this could be your only opportunity. It’s never too late to repent a sin done…

Photo Courtesy: http://bazikyanlaw.com/

If only people could know when their last day would be then they would definitely arrange and critically plan everything of theirs well. It is at that moment that the person would start scribbling down their will and dividing their wealth before death separates them from their loved ones.

A will is a legal written or recorded document that says what is to happen to somebody’s money or property after they die. When a person is writing their will they surely know what they want and are sober with their decisions since witnesses are also available. When the person finally dies the only thing that could have pleased him, would be to see his final wishes being fulfilled. It is very important that everyone respect his last words and follow them to the latter. Whether anyone thinks the deceased took wrong decisions in his will or not, we should all note that our opinions don’t count in this situation.

This document has proved to be extremely important especially in our modern life where love for money outdoes everything else. Inheritance has caused a lot of misunderstandings, chaos, rivalry, divorces, and conflict amongst families. Many have seen how blood family members break up relationships all due to the yearning of the bigger share of the inheritance and while the will has helped a lot in such circumstances; in other situations it brings more conflict.

While some honest individuals would adhere to the will, some use it to their own benefit. They do what in the will would raise them in their status and ignores what could be a ray of hope to others. They take advantage of being responsible of fulfilling the will and many get to suffer from behind his/her actions.

Ironical enough is that, many of our ancestors set aside money for their children and next generations to come since when there were no banking systems to the modern technological world but yet still we have family members doing harambee in the neighbourhood to pay hospital bills. They have money and properties which are their right but they still suffer in the hands of a few malicious beings who are promoting themselves on the wellbeing of others. Fathers run up and down looking for scholarships and sponsors for their children education, they go through a lot of humiliation and hardships to ensure their families have proper education but who ever dared to face the people manipulating your legal rights of being taken care of using our ancestors money and property? No one dared…because we don’t want to break our blood relationships, because we don’t want to have rivalry between us, because we don’t want to seem ‘the bad ones’ by asking for their rights. The truth is, ‘truth is what should stand’ and if you don’t stand for your rights today then the vicious circle of manipulation will go on and on into your children and grandchildren generation to come.

We should be brave enough to ensure that life isn’t made tough to anyone just because some few individuals wouldn’t fulfill your rights. It’s high time everyone lived a better life than that of not knowing what I will eat tonight while your brothers are eating in plenty using your shares of right.

As for those given such a huge responsibility of sharing people’s properties as per someone’s will, be careful not to eat what is not yours today because one day you will also die and your family may be manipulated just as you did to other family members.

A will is like a trust and responsibility put in your hands, before God, before witnesses and before many people. Do always remember you will one day be accountable of how perfectly or imperfectly you attended and adhered to someone’s will. So beware…life isn’t that long enough.