Words fail me today. In this past one month, two of my loved ones lost their father.
I could never understand what death actually means or losing a parent actually feels like until I lost Aboo (my dad).
When someone lost a family member, I felt sad…I felt sorry for their loss. I offered my condolences. I prayed for the deceased and I prayed for the family to bear the loss. I reinforced to the mourning family what our belief as a Muslim is, that everyone has to go back to Him. I would also say how a sudden death is easy for the deceased because he/she didn’t suffer OR change my stance to – that Allah eased his/her pain, if he/she was suffering from a disease.
Everyone who cares for you, says these things to make you feel better and they genuinely mean it. But what no one understands (or maybe they all do) is that NOTHING that anyone says or does will make it any better for you.
Losing a parent is like coming under the direct heat of a scorching sun. It’s like there is no one to worry about you, or tell you things that you should or shouldn’t do (no matter how annoying we find that when they are alive). You feel a part of your heart has gone missing. You feel pain in your heart. Your eyes well up at every memory of your childhood that pops into your head. You want to reach out one last time to say a proper goodbye, say you are sorry for every time you misbehaved and fought with them. You want to hug them one last time and hold on to them wishing they would never ever leave us. But everyone has to go and every one of us has to deal with this loss at some point in life. Such a bitter reality of life, yet we shrug it off thinking – I can’t even imagine that happening to me.
But one day, it happens to us and that is the time when you feel how helpless you are in front of death. Everything that everyone says sounds like white noise. No one can help you (no matter how much they want to), nothing will make that pain in your chest go away. There is no shortcut to grief.. its a process and everyone has their own way of going through it… and it takes time – a LOT of time. Its almost like catharsis. You have to allow yourself to experience the emotion and go through it for it to go away.
When Aboo passed away, everyone in my family had a different mechanism of coping with the grief, one sibling would find solace is seeing Aboo’s pictures all the time and the other refused to be in any social media family group that shared photos of my dad.
They say it about marriage that the first year is the most difficult one, and I would say the same about death. Every first occasion after his/her death – be it his/her birthday, wedding anniversary or Eid, it will be the most painful of all the succeeding ones.
So hold on… hang on… reminisce the past…cry…cherish the memories… and every time you do that, say a prayer for them…
As bookish as it may sound, but “Time is the biggest healer”.. and I say that from experience.
It’s been 3 years now and I have come a long way.. I miss him a lot, but not every mention of his name makes me weep now. There are times I still cry, but there are also moments that make me smile back at the fond memories.
See? It does get better with time…