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Illness


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2020 hit me like a train. From the word go, from the very beginning of the year, even before Corona, everything seemed to be falling apart. I have a feeling it has been like that for most people, and on my side, I was holding by the thread. I remember when I was young, my mother would often tell me ‘don’t carry those mountains on your shoulders’. I was the cesspit of every worry. Every sadness. Every wound. I would carry it all, the scars evident all over my soul. Sometimes I look at my nephew (my happy place 1, remember?) and I see how intense his emotions are. As a highly sensitive child, he cries too passionately, you can literally feel the sob come from the deepest part of his soul, and my heart breaks a little, or maybe a lot. I want to tell him, ‘oh baby, this world is cruel, it will ruin you’ and I want to hug him so tight. I want to protect him from the world. And God, it worries me a lot. But then I do know that I have to let him have his journey like I’m having mine. Let him live, do mistakes, fall, stand up again, perhaps get his heart broken,feel all the emotions in his heart and live with it. Such is life I guess.

Then amidst all the Corona chaos, several family members got affected. Not the first time when Mombasa was allegedly a hotspot for the virus. During that period almost none of the Mombasa residents knew anyone who’d been affected. It is now that we are seeing people dying right, left and center, and everyday, more people are succumbing to the virus. And you know, with these things, even when you are taking precautions with the virus, you never really realize how bad it is until it hits directly home.

One of my favourite humans died then. Just three days after he informed us that he was ill, he was gone. At first I seemed okay. I cried as any bereaved would but I was mostly okay. I talked to my friends about his death. I prayed for him. I remembered him. But grief for me, comes like a trickle of blood. Thick, heavy and very slow. A week after his death, we were remniscing about good memories of him, and we laughed and smiled and joked about him. Then that night, it all came down with a thud. Curling up in bed, I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t stop. I was trying really hard to suppress my weeping so no one would hear me. But it was too much. I was crumbling and I felt like I was falling apart. I desperately needed someone to hold me. To just hug me tight. To hold my pieces together. So I went to my mother and cried to her. She and my elder sister talked to me for a while before my mother led me to her bed to sleep with her. For hours, she held me in her arms, patting my hair, encouraging me to sleep yet all my eyes could do was wander around the room. I had lost someone so important to me. We all did. But no one prepares you for such a sudden death.

A day before he died, he called me, and funny enough, he was the one asking me how I was. It was such a short conversation. He seemed to be struggling to talk, so I made a dua for him and that was it. I wish I had told him I loved him. I think he knew, but I wished I had said it. I can barely even remember the last time seeing him or what we talked about that time when he was healthy. But I have all these many memories of his inspirational advice, his oozing, extremely sweet kindness, his laughter, oh his laughter! When I was a teenager, he would do this loud, funky laughter that I just found to be too hilarious so sometimes I would try to imitate it and my family would burst into laughter too. He had this good sense of humour that I will forever miss, his magical, mind-blowing, creative ideas, his beautiful smile, his many many jokes, his pride of me-and us all-I can still see him in front of me. His voice still rings in my head. More than once I have dreamt of him and sometimes,thoughts of him keep me awake at night. Out of blue, I’d notice tears coming down my cheeks, so randomly, so easily, I can literally feel the emptiness in my heart.

Just two years ago, it used to be the four of us around the small dining. There were two phenomenal women; the storyteller, the heart of the family and several times, whenever he was free, he would join us too; the tree lover. I was there frequently; in between meetings, waiting for someone, resting before going for another errand, a place to pray, or eat, sometimes with my friends…I got too comfortable I even started taking naps in the bedroom when I was tired. It felt like home. Sometimes I was there as early as for breakfast meal or brunch or lunch, on lazy afternoons, sometimes even dinner. 2018, the story teller left us. Then last year, the heart did. This year it was him. And now, whenever I think of that table, my heart sinks. Their faces still so vivid in my memory, and our conversations, moments, jokes, the meals we shared, still so fresh. There are people who die and we mourn them and we move on, and there are people who leave this earth and the world shifts a bit. It will never be the same. Never.

My favourite human was very passionate about trees. He was extra-ordinary and phenomenal and no words could ever suffice to describe him. I pray that his grave is a garden from the most beautiful gardens of Jannah, with trees and flowers so beautiful he has never seen, and that we get to meet again, the four of us, and all our loved ones in a bigger table, with more laughter, zero worries and absolute bliss. Ameen.

I won’t curse the year. After all, whatever Allah wills for us is the best for us. This year has been life-changing for me and so many of us. I pray for ease, patience and better days for us all. Ameen.

Please do take care of yourself. You have the information on Corona please act responsibly. As the prophet said: ‘Tie your camel then pray to Allah’ So do the necessary to protect yourself and your families. I met a friend who told me they buried four people from their family and friends within a week and on the day we talked, there was one more, all Corona deaths. Doctors keep sharing even worse news on Twitter that they have run out of beds and there are many Corona patients walking around. Please take care. May Allah protect us all. Ameen.

P.S: Please do remember to make a dua for my person. Thank you 🙂

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As you might have realized, I haven’t written in a long while. I have probably lost my ‘mojo’ but please bear with me.

Thank you for taking the time with my blog. I appreciate it 🙂