There are subtle passing moments, where realisation of your absence passes through like cold winds. 2 years of irregular hour conversations behind invisible walls, watched heavily. The goodbye, the final hug, I cannot grip tighter and I am forced to let go. I miss our late night chats, movies with popcorn, arguments, snacks in the kitchen and your shout of defence. My attorney, my lawyer – protecting me and sharing my sadness; crying my tears when my wells are dry. You taught me how to be loved; you set the bar. Brothers show you what a man is, what a man can be… you showed me respect taught me the world is a mess but as long as you have good people around you there is plenty to dry the spill.
Death is not sadness. It is a new found emptiness. Tears attempt to fill the irreplaceable void, so the darkness of the abyss is not as near frightening.
10th January. She hadn’t spoken in days and doctors are sure she will not make it past this weekend. Everything has stopped for her fraction of this Dunya, whilst our work, family, duties, bills – the components of livelihood, compel us forward. Force us to rejoin our unraveling Dunya, no matter how much we ignore it, it will spill out until we notice the mess and clean. Completion of overnight watch duty; it was time to head to youth work. Left for 3 hours. On the platform to 3 stops back to the hospital. No signal. No network. Just Wi-Fi. A single message broadcasted. One whatsapp call. 1 minute. 3 it’s true and a lifetime of tears.
Tears flooded and gasps for air frightened commuters as several trains left me stranded. A woman in a hi-vis tapped the shrouded shoulders and caused a momentary return to reality.
“Are you alright?”
As if my sadness required an apology, it did not mean to infringe on your happiness.
To escape the torment of crying in public, scurried on the train and held the pole of the central line. With no where to bury my head, I let single tears stream down in the hope they were invisible.
The last time I cried in front of her was as I sprinkled rose water over her body.
27th October. Her lungs are being lousy. She needs forced oxygen. No talking today. I stayed the night. all alone. Turned my head for one minute. Her chest stopped moving. “No” echoed through me. I felt her heartbeat slip a way. Read the shahadah. 5…3..2…….1. Then she comes.
“Am sorry honey. She’s gone”
2 minutes of internal screaming. 10 minutes of trying to utter the words. And a lifetime of a chipped heart.
When she stopped breathing I did to. My lungs forgot how to operate. I now choke on the very oxygen that left her.
The last time I cried in front of her was just after the Janazah prayer where I refused to leave her.
Anyone can rationalise death. I’ve done it both times. No amount of explanations and understanding can ease the pain of lost future memories or the permanent imagery of a vessel with no soul. But what comforts is the beautiful reel they left in the wake of their life. The sweet moments like when she saved you from your mum, who loved shoving shampoo in your eyes or when she told you a story on Eid and you fell asleep with a handesh in your hand. Death is inevitable but what is unwritten (in essence) is how we decide to live our lives. I choose to be present. I choose to love relentlessly. To forgive before being asked. Let my life be a beautiful story, let generations tell my story at campfires, where the warmth of the lingering ghost of my soul keeps hearts from catching hypothermia.
And we are back here again; 748 days later I am staring into the abyss. Afraid of returning. Back to a world I barely escaped. How many wars have I fought? But the enemy doesn’t go away. The omens, the signs are all there for it’s return. I can see it hiding in the shadows, behind corners and amoungst the memories of former feelings. How many more times will I have to declare “I am stronger and I will defeat this”. Will this be my final battle cry?
Alhamdulilah. One year, your life can be cast into the abyss. Actively seeking the light; an escape from the torment. Running away from oneself. Trapped by the demons, which inhabit your soul; created and fed with our very own hands.
It is not your fault, the circumstances gave the demons life. The moments when life failed you, the world failed you. The only mistake you made was not standing up. Allowing the whispers to take you. The real wins are the failures. There are lessons only found once the dust has cleared. They reveal a rarity of something magnificent. An uncovering of your true soul. One not conditioned by society.
I am proud of myself. From where I’ve come, the whens, the whats and the whys. There were moments, when my mere existence in this very moment of time was questionable and not plausible. I take pride in my journey. Some may not understand it. People will judge. But the beauty is, it is MINE! What I have learnt over this year, is to not wait for the acknowledgement of others to be proud of my accomplishments. I am in no need of their approval or hand clapping. In life the only person truely in your corner is yourself. Only YOU know the depths of the difficulties YOU have over come, only YOU are aware of the strength you poured in when YOU had none. We live in a world which has conditioned us to only feel happy with ourselves at the approvals, likes, retweets, envious congratulations of others. Because we are always doing it for the gram, fb and tweeting till the sunrise. But whilst our face remains glued to the screen, we miss the beauty of the world for what it is and miss the most important part – the documenting of our journey. The journey we will play back as we see a new generation of kids and we rock back and forth, thanking life and preparing for life after the dunya.
Today’s marks the end of exams; all I have to say is I’ve made it. Some know that this spec of a moment right now is euphoria in righteous tears of something which was deemed unimaginable.
A boxer’s marked strength is not in his fists, but in the moments he exhibits resilience and stands again. Positioned firmed and rooted; shaken but not enough to be put down.
It’s easy to forget the progression of life. The natural order of life’s events may feel like ultimatums in our conquest for happiness. Yet, when we step back and adore the painting of our life, we notice the harsh strokes are the most detailed and beautiful, because that is where the vibrance in differences and struggles resides. Taking ownership of the brush we can create precision and governance in our unique masterpiece.
Driven into the ground, we can become quite acquainted with the dirt and somewhat bury ourselves. But the heroes dig out. It was never a choice between fight or flight; rather fight back so they can fly free. Never stop the good fight. Life’s calamities does not kill them, rather enriches their experience. And these experiences that is what strength us, that is what flexes the muscles of our soul. So you feel a little deeper and stand a lot taller.
Floating amongst dancing clouds,
We are a long way away from home. So far. Some further then others. The further you get the less it feels like home. Until His words become unclear and forgetable.
Eventually you only walk in one direction; the opposite. If you make it, on the rare occasions all the way back round to home; the final destination is the same as it was first intended. But life is not that simple, the avoidance of obstacles extend your trip. Some do not make it to the end of their journey, remain forever lost in the jungles of their desires. There is mercy in rainfall and calamity. They force you back; they remind you of your destination, your abode. It does not exist on this Dunya. We chase the dunya to get a negligible fraction of what Jannah will feel like (our real home) and to satisfy our needs and wants.
This journey I speak of is one that I’ve undergone. I too could not see my home no longer. My connection, my network weakened so I started to forget. That’s when I said hello to mercy. I’ve been struck by calamity several times and each time I remember Qadr and Jannah. This is not the end. This is the character development, the training and preparation. The grafting and hardwork are needed to appreciate the view. May Allah bless us with this view and not that of fire.
“O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement.”
Silence raging war with running thoughts.
Unread messages and missed calls.
Lost moments and endless pardons.
Rhetorical reasoning with imaginative assumptions.
Heedless to the attachment of warmth and care.
But the storm came with warning.
Filtered and dulled to a distant whisper.
Living for the fragments of showmanship,
Negligent to the glass casing,
Left unattended and in the mist of shatter.
Unspoken inner thinkings.
No one reads minds,
Cowardice behaviour to assume I would assume.
Unconditional adoration with the dismissal of wanting.
Clutching on to the flutters,
Loss of focus in bewildered smiles.
But this time cold air exuberates inner existence.
No longer warmed to overlook the faults.
The dazzling specs refined.
Revealing what was seen by all besides me.
At that precise moment; glances to the stars reveal hope.
The moon creates rainbows in darkness.
And remembrance of “the sun will rise again”
Sets free the one imprisoned in the woes of emotions.
Dreaded beating of the heart.
Basics of life; too difficult to function.
Facilitating death of the soul.
They attempt CPR.
Throw help in the form of divine light.
And her name hovers in the hostile air.
As the bitter taste approaches,
Familiarity edges forward.
Remembering the pain.
The inner ache.
And she asks,
“How did I get here again?”
Life mapped to avoid this detour.
Yet she returned to the spot.
The spot where it all happened.
Where traumas never die and life never prospers.
Maybe it isn’t a place.
But more like the weather.
And just like the weather it will pass.
Musky night sky,
With the lingering smell of yesterday,
And the perfumed scent of tomorrow.
The wrongs of the days passed,
Will be the rights of the days to come.
Lest we waste the time of the past on the condolences of the future.
Be today, to be alive.
Be the seconds, for they add up to the minutes.
If that is true then truely your hours will be your days.
With ownership – lead your life.
With remembrance – He never promised a tomorrow.
With steadfast – like the wind which never stops blowing in spite of its destination.
With Sabr – believe in His plan, and disappointment will steer clear.
With eemaan – illuminate your darkness.
With eyes – lower in humility and modesty.
With tongue – be wary of its evil and keep Dhikr alive.
With hands – give. Always give. Help. Always help.
With heart – Keep Him at home and remain determined to discourage any replacement.
With love – find your way back, call Him, read His words.
And may He unlock the chains around my heart. Ameen.