01/01/48 – 08/05/18
This morning marked it having been a week since you passed, I haven’t even had it in me to wear contact lenses so I can see properly let alone cake my face with make up and study. This past week has been difficult to say the least, we were so close dadima and I miss you more than anything, I’m slowly trying to get better but I know healing isn’t a process that I should speed up. On the day you passed I wrote poetry for the first time in weeks, let out my hearts cries and decided to write letters both to and about you. It’s what’s helping me be ‘okay’. I’m not one to hide my bad times if I’m showing my good times as well, so whoever has asked me how I am I have told them I am not okay, when I am feeling better I tell them I’m slightly better. I want to keep it real with the world, from Allah we come and to Him we return, what people think of me doesn’t bother me, I have no reason to hide how I feel. I told Instagram when I am strong enough I’ll share the story of this past week and here I am.
Tonight I write, but only because my heart bleeds. I didn’t know when I took her into hospital that night that she wouldn’t be returning home, I knew her time was close I just didn’t know it was this close. My sisters started messaging me frantically, I was in anatomy confused as to why they wanted me to come out, the worst I thought it could be was my clumsy cousin brother having had broken his leg. My eldest sister rushed into the dissection room and asked my professor if she could speak to him. When my professor didn’t understand a member of my group started laughing. I stopped him with a glare and told him not to dare laugh because that’s my sister. She was a complete state, tear streaked make up and all-at this point I realised it must be something bigger than my brothers maybe broken leg. My professor allowed me to leave, still in the dissection room my sister breaks the awful news ‘dadima.. dadima has passed away. Cardiac arrest’. My first response was to shout no. ‘No. You’re joking. She can’t be gone. No. Not yet.’ Feeling suffocated I took off my lab coat and stuffed it into my bag. My sister started saying ‘she was supposed to be getting discharged today. She was meant to be going home’ my group watches us leave, worry written all over their faces.
We walked to my other sister and cousin brother. I didn’t shed any tears until I hugged my sister. My brothers’ eyes were bloodshot but he didn’t let us see him cry. They told me about how he was on the phone to his mum when our grandmother started having the cardiac arrest, how the last thing he heard before the call disconnected were the doctors rushing in and his mum panicking whilst watching her mum die. Of course he didn’t know it was going on or that it was going to kill her. My sisters had an exam at that very moment, the eldest was hysterical and needed to go home straight away, but the other had spoken to my grandma shortly before her attack. My grandma first asked her how I was, how my other siblings in Sofia are, she asked how our exams are going and told her she’s praying for our exams to go well. Literally two days before my only female cousin from my dads’ side was born. Dadima was so happy; I’ve been the youngest girl for a good 19 years. My sister told her she had an exam in a while and that she needed her prayers, the standard before any of us go to sit an exam. She didn’t know her dying prayers would be for her to do amazing in her exams and for us to become the best of doctors someday.
Understandably our worlds collapsed around us. Growing up, especially over the past five or so years, we haven’t seen much of our parents but we’ve always had both our grandmothers. We’ve always had my grandmas’ faces to come home to. Our grandmothers have taken so much care of us and we are so incredibly attached to them, as a child I would sleep with my dadi ami in my parents’ bed. The relationship between my grandmothers was such that they were like sisters to one another, both of my granddads passed away years ago and they’ve had each other to lean on since. They lived in the same room, spent all their time together. Fought like a married couple but loved each other immensely at the same time. Now my nanima is my only living grandparent.
Recently my aunt and I would laugh at how happily my dadima would tell doctors and nurses her date of birth ‘1-1-48!’ She would say with an undetectable accent and massive grin on her face. I would call her ‘English’ because she couldn’t speak much, or ‘my two toothed lady’ because she only had two teeth left and people know me for my teeth. She always wanted me to be working hard, when in hospital she didn’t let me plait her hair or take selfies with her until I promised I would sit and study in front of her immediately after. No old fashioned Pakistani grandmother from a village back home let’s all three of her young granddaughters move halfway across the planet to study when she knows she’s dying, but she did – only because her dream for us was to become the best of doctors, to be known for our hard work and to help heal others. She would go around telling everyone ‘all three of my granddaughters are doctors, my grandson too!’ It would make her so happy.
I used to make snapchat videos with my dadima, she hated most the filters but loved it when I recorded her and told her how pretty she looked. Looking back I’m realising I’ll never be able to tell her how beautiful she is again, and that tears my heart into pieces. I wouldn’t leave the house without giving her a hug and a kiss. It’s reassuring knowing she was happy with us when we left, it’s reassuring to think that in shaa Allah I’ll see her again someday in Jannah, if we both make it there. All she would ever do was pray for us, even in her sleep she’d be praying for us. Her wish for me was to study hard, I’m not the smartest out of my siblings, more on the stupid side but her prayers have always worked miracles for me. But she’s not around to pray for us anymore. I miss her more than anything.
Today has been tearful, perhaps more than yesterday. We flew back to England on the first flight we could get, landed at Luton airport and mamoo (my mums brother) came to pick us up. Bless his soul, he tried taking our minds off the situation at hand and reassured us about what was to come. My youngest aunt who’d just given birth had now been informed. She’d had a C section and my sisters began worrying about her stitches opening up and about her general health, she’s in Pakistan without any of her siblings. I thought about how if I hadn’t had my siblings with me on Sofia I’d have gone crazy upon hearing the news.
We arrived in London after what felt like forever and were home, before we’d even entered I saw her Quran in the window of our prayer room and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. My youngest brother, Hassan, opened the door, he’s been crying nonstop since he’s found out. We hugged and cried with everyone, prayed so much that’s all my brain is full of the words of Allah and duas and saw so many faces that I’d never seen before. My mamijaan (mamoos wife) cooked for us and others brought even more food. The way people have been taking care of us is honestly such a blessing. There is a hadith saying ‘you will die the way you lived’, my grandmother passed peacefully whilst remembering Allah, just as she’d spent her life.
We spoke about her a lot today. About how happy she was, about so many happy and sad memories. Asking who will pray for us like our grandmother used to. I ironed my father, aunt and mothers clothes for her Janazah. Imagine that- I was ironing the clothes that my dad will wear when burying his mothers body, the clothes my mum and aunt will wear when washing my grandmothers body for the final time. The emotions hit hard. With a house full of guests who’d somehow managed to make my family smile and laugh a little I burst out into tears in the storeroom. She would ask me to iron her clothes for her all the time, and when she thought I was taking too long she’d start doing it herself.
They told me how she’d passed today, but properly this time. Dadima had been so bubbly that morning; she was going to be discharged that afternoon. Around 9am English time she had a heart attack whilst the nurse was about to inject her with some medication. Immediately curtains were drawn and the resus team and various others were called. They brought her back, a registrar called my mum who was at UCLH that morning and after about fifteen minutes or so dadima was gone again and they couldn’t bring her back. She didn’t move out of pain, she was just gone. My mum called her brother and he got to the hospital straight away, my dad was called and was on his way as well. Then my nanima found out and the list goes on. It was a mess, she was supposed to be being discharged that day, she had spent over a month in hospital.
I didn’t eat today. I don’t know why. I’m sleeping with nanima tonight; I want to stay with her for as long as I’m here. We spent an hour talking about yesterday, how we found out and the details of the day and everything in between. I have never seen my house so full of people but so lifeless at the same time, you were the happiness of our house dadima. I haven’t even had the strength to go into your room yet, just seeing your orange chair made me cry my eyes out for a good hour or so, I’m praying I find the strength to before I leave.
Now whose hair will I plait so I can send pictures to my whole extended family? Whose forehead will I kiss before I leave the house? Who will I get to tell my dad off for not listening to me? Who will I ask to pray for me before exams? Who will sit there listening to all my stories and actually be entertained? Who will be excited to see me coming home everyday? Who will sing songs about their love for me? Who will dance with me? Whose legs, forehead and shoulders will I massage? Who will I do mini fashion shows for whenever I buy anything? Who will I tease about only having two teeth? Who will pout and pull funny faces with me? Who will I call my blue eyed lady? Who will make a face and tell me off for drinking coffee or having chocolate? Who will mimic me when I tell her how yummy whatever I’m eating is? Who will go back to Pakistan and tell everyone who comes to see her how close we are? Who will pray for me even when shes fast asleep? Who will give me as much love as she did? No one. It was her. Just her. My 01/01/48. Her love was endless.
I woke up to the women of our house getting ready to leave to go masjid and wash your body for the last time, I was getting ready to go with them. Mama found me just as I went to iron my clothes and asked me if I would be okay with not going to give you your final ghusal and if I could stay at home and look after nanima and help her prepare the house for guests later. Nanima felt like she didn’t have it in her to go and wash you or see you again just yet. So many companions of hers have passed away now, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain she carries within herself. I decided to stay home, I didn’t go to do that one last khidmah but I stayed with my mums mum and cleaned our house. You loved our house spotless. The men left shortly after the women to go organise things at the masjid and the flowers for your grave, the kids as usual were still asleep. I went into your room today, sat on your bed and cried my heart out then gathered some strength and cleaned your room. We laid out sheets for everyone to sit and read quran on one they got home, showered and nanimas little sister came. Mama called and told us to come to the masjid as well now. It was time.
I entered the room in which your body was and immediately began to cry. The only people in the room were my remaining elders, they all came and hugged me and told me to read the words of Allah and pray for you. Slowly more people started coming, some of whom I have not seen in years. The room filled up and everyone was busy praying for you and reading Quran for you. I began to think how blessed you are to have so many people who loved and cared about you, so many people who will pray for you even after your death.
A lady came and said we could finally see your face, it was a very ‘ready or not, here I come’ moment. My love, the way our family shed tears in that half hour we had to see you for the last time. The men of our family had come into the womens side and we all cried our hearts out. Even typing this is hurting me, but my love I hope you’ve forgiven us all for whatever wrong we did to you during your life, we tried our best but we’re not perfect. Mama said that we shouldn’t even think twice about you not having forgiven us, you were so incredibly happy with us all when you passed, on your tongue were words of prayers for us. You loved us immensely, we were your world.
They told us about how when they washed your body the bruises you’d gotten from always being poked and prodded by needles had vanished, your body wasn’t stiff and moved with ease, you didn’t even smell. Mama is a doctor, my sisters have spent two years with cadavas, they know what the dead smell like, but my love you did not smell. You were always conscious of smelling good. When I saw your face you looked peaceful, the wrinkles on your face had now gone and I could easily imagine what you would have looked like in your youth. You looked beautiful jaanu ji, as always.
I keep telling everyone, you were meant to be getting discharged and go home that day but we plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners, He saw it better to discharge you from this world and take you back to our real home. From Allah we come and to Him we return, I can only pray now to be reunited with you in Jannah some day.
The athan was called and you were taken away. We prayed Duhr and shortly after we read your funeral prayer and the men went with you to the graveyard and buried you six feet under. There was beauty in this as well, such a beautiful coincidence. Your grave is so close to Aunty Safiyas. You and her were like sisters, such good friends, even when her health deteriorated she’d come to see you and now look, you’re right by each other until the end of time. She didn’t pass too long ago either, and she was like a grandmother to me as well, but again, Allah is the best of planners.
We stayed at the masjid until the men had returned and asr was about to come in then went home and prayed and read more quran for you. So many people were at home but then I asked Papa if I could go see you, and we went. I have only been to a graveyard once before, that too by accident thinking it was a park. I read surah fatiha and left. We drove to where you are and I don’t know what graveyards should smell like but I’m assuming they shouldn’t smell good. Where you are smells so good jaanu ji. After visiting you and Aunty Safiya, papa asked for time alone with you, so we went around to the other graves making dua and reciting quran for whoever was buried. A certain grave really stood out to me though, it belonged to a baby boy who passed after having only been alive for a day. Not a month, or a year but one single day. By his grave were birthday balloons with the number 4, his gravestone read 2014, imagine burying your one day old child.
We left as maghrib came in and returned home. Our house was still filled with people coming to give their condolences and pray for you. I didn’t have it in me to see people so vanished upstairs like I always do. My back has been knotting up ever since I found out you left us. I told my aunt I’m taking your eye drops and the cardigan I last saw you in and your favourite shawl.
Night fell and nanima started telling me about how she found out you’d gone again. She had been preparing the house for you to finally come back to; she had breakfast, got herself changed and ready when she got the call. I don’t know why but I keep smelling the ittar they’d put on you, it calms me so much. Seeing you today made me feel better, knowing you’re now in your grave and that I can come to see you whenever I’m in England really puts my heart at ease. I am so glad you’re buried here and not back in Pakistan. I’m still going to get someone to tell you whenever we have exams; I’m not ready to break that tradition of ours.
The only way I have ever accomplished anything in my life is through your sincere prayers for me, I don’t know how I going to go through the remainder of my life without you but its something I have to do. I have to hold my head high and keep going. As much as this time of separation is tearing me apart, I am at ease knowing my Lord is the Most Merciful and Loving. People are praying for you in the blessed lands, I hope knowing this brings peace to you.
It’s not the same without you but were trying our best. Trying our best to keep smiling. You loved seeing our house full of people and laughter.
We were sitting in the lounge earlier and mama asked me to bring her your passport, you’d only used it once or twice. I saw my mums passport there too, came downstairs and asked her why she had gotten a new one, I used to go through her passport pages trying to find space for stamps. She said she’d ran out of space and needed more pages so got herself a new one. My uncle started laughing and a smile came across my mums face. You loved my mum so much. You’d tell the whole world ‘my daughter in law is such an amazing person, she’s such a good doctor, I’m so proud of my daughter in law.’ It used to make you so happy knowing my mum was part of your family. Mama took so much care of you throughout your life, you weren’t her mother but she took care of you as though you were. Mama really loved you dadima.
I hope you know we all love and miss you very much. In shaa Allah we are reunited some day and I can hold your hands and sit with you once again, but until then my love, I am here to pray for you as you once prayed for me. You spent most of your time sitting there on your bed talking to Allah about our loved ones and I and praying for our success, peace and happiness. Now it’s my turn to do whatever I can for you. You were so happy and proud of us when you passed, which is strange since you’d usually randomly become upset with at least one of us. But you were so happy. So so happy. And that’s how I want to remember you, with that cute smile of yours and the way your eyes would light up whenever you did something you probably shouldn’t have done.
Though todays been hard and I spent most my time curled up on mama and papas bed, I’m trying my best to be strong and somehow get back into a daily routine; you knew how much I loved those.
My pain is different to the pain others are feeling. My cousins pain isn’t the same as the pain my siblings and I feel. My pain isn’t the same. I was the one who took you to hospital on the 4th of April. I was the one who spent her holiday in hospital with you. I was the one who you’d always get angry at for no reason. I was the one who would sleep downstairs with you when nanima wasn’t here and you were well. I was the one who you’d always ask to massage your legs, head and shoulders. I was the one who you’d always be silly with. I was the one who would plait your hair best. I am not saying my pain is greater than anyone else’s or that I’ve done more for you than the rest, may Allah forgive me. I haven’t, we all did different things for you. All I am saying is that my pain is not the same. My pain today, aged 19 after having lived with you and always having you to come home to, is definitely not the same as what others are feeling, maybe similar but not the same. Had you passed before I was 16, this probably wouldn’t have had affected me as much as it has because despite having had always been so close to you, being an adult means I’ve been old enough to do things for you that I wouldn’t have been able to do before. It means I have been able to understand you at a completely different level to before. It’s different. No pain is felt the same even if the source is. My fathers’ pain is different to the pain of his sisters, but they all still lost their mother.
We’re leaving for Bulgaria tomorrow and somehow I’ve woken up crying my eyes out every single day so far. I haven’t worn lenses so I’ve been wearing my broken glasses, I haven’t worn make up and you know I would never step outside without caking my face. You loved seeing me in Pakistani clothes so I’ve been wearing them everyday, we’ve spent a lot of time at the masjid since you’ve passed, a lot of time by your grave and at home praying for you and spending time with family and friends. From when you were healthier I remember you to always waking up super early and reading quran before going about your day. Your life was spent in the remembrance of Allah, jaanu ji. I wish to live a life full of His remembrance too, I will add parts of your daily routine into mine, that way a part of you will stay with me.
The way you wouldn’t let me sit with you in hospital and plait your hair if I didn’t take out my books and revise immediately after. That’s all you ever wanted from me, to study well and become an amazing doctor. So that’s what I’ll do, try my best to smash every exam and become the doctor you always wanted me to be.
I went into uni today, I attended my anatomy seminar as I did last week. I have to stop myself from zoning out mid conversation and try not to want to cry and hide in a corner, but I am getting better. I have no doubt that you’re in a better place, you have returned to our Lord, the most loving and I should be content knowing that. You wanted us happy; you absolutely loved my smile and my teeth (if you’ve seen them you’ll know how much someone with 2 teeth would love them). I have decided to drown myself under my workload. It’s part of my coping mechanism, it’s not running away from the truth, it’s using my time productively so I can make you proud. After uni I went to a library at the other uni in Sofia, Ramadan began tonight so I won’t be able to coffee shop revise until Eid.
I keep remembering all the times you’d laugh at and with me. The time I came back from Italy after having spent Eid there and I showed you the matching ring I’d gotten with Larry and you got so jealous and asked why I married her and not you, then I reminded you that you’ve been my wifey ever since my granddad passed away. I remember all the times I’d been baking something and you’d come into the kitchen asking what I’m up to and when I said it’s got anything to do with sugar or chocolate you’d make a face, tell me I shouldn’t and go back to your room. I remember all the times I’d made snapchat videos of us and you’d complain about the filters and not be able to recognise yourself with them and then tell me that my friends must see these and think ‘oh her grandmas so old’ and I’d always explain the filter to you and remind you that you’re still young. I remember the times you would sit there making up all these songs in Punjabi expressing your love for me, all the times you’d start dancing out of the blue.
But then I’m also remembering the night I took you to the hospital, I’m remembering the way you kept saying you’ll die and the way I would convince you to let the doctors and nurses take more blood from you ‘dadima they’re taking a little bit of blood from you right now but they are going to give you lots more later’ then she’d grudgingly agree and let them bleed you. I didn’t call you much after I left, the fact that I can’t remember why shows whatever my reason was, it wasn’t good enough. I did speak to you often though, whenever baji called I was there, even then you’d always say you’re okay and worry about us instead and shower us with duas. That’s the heart of a mother, to be praying for her kids even on her deathbed.
So much more has happened in this past week, so much I haven’t written about. It’s now quarter to one in the morning, the first of Ramadan 1439, 16th of May 2018 and I’m here thinking about just how short life is. Alhamdulillah my dadi ami lived a relatively long life and witnessed many happy occasions, she had 13 grandchildren in total and got to see 8 of us every day for many years, she saw the eldest of us get married and died in the remembrance of Allah. She lived a good life, even with all the troubles her health gave her, she was happy and Alhamdulillah a million billion times for that. Death can come to any of us at any time. We aren’t here for long, so cherish your loved ones whilst you can, do as much for your elders, especially your parents whilst they’re still around because there will come a day when you’ll sit there praying that you could do as much as give them a glass of water again, or just to see another smile on their face. This goes to me before anyone, I’m not exactly a good daughter but I’m trying now. Trying to make the most of my time with my loved ones, trying to recover and heal the pain this death of my best friend has left me with.
I’ve recovered enough to type around 5000 words telling this story without shedding a single tear. Her presence will always be felt in my life, regardless of how much better I get, I will always treasure her memories and keep them close to my heart. She was the one person I loved the most in this world, but one thing I absolutely love about Islam is that death isn’t the end. Death is a temporary separation in the sense that if Allah sees two people to have passed this test of this dunya then they may be reunited in Jannah someday. So I’m praying Allah forgives her for any wrong she had done in her life and has mercy upon her soul. I’m praying He accepts her good deeds and makes her of those He is pleased with. I’m praying that He saves her from the punishments of the grave and makes her of the women of Jannah. May He allow His beloved (may peace and blessings be upon him) to intercede for her and may He reunite her with her loved ones in Jannah someday.
I’m going to end this here, it’s super late and I need to be at the library to revise early in the morning so I’m going to just post and go. If you made it this far then please make dua for my dadi ami and stay blessed