Friday, March 27, 2009

Grave News.. In the Most Literal Sense

There's been a death in the opposite house...

Emily Dickinson's famous poem which I have learnt in form five has rung true. At times of terrible tragedy, I have always found myself unconsciously shedding tears.

Yesterday morning, a neighbour of mine faced the death of someone close to them. The wife's aunt died in the morning while the maid was giving her some relief from her aches. She had been aching all over the body, particularly her back and her neck. So, that morning, she asked the maid to help massage her. After barely one minute, she started to list and no sooner, she was unconscious.

I was getting ready for a driving test (which, to my relief, I have passed) when I received a phone call from my aunt, who is also my neighbour telling me the news. While waiting for the instructor to fetch me, I made a brief visit to the mourning family.

I could see that the wife was crying but holding it in, from the way her red eyes looked at me, thanking me for coming by and pay my last respects (al-Fatihah, verses from Yaasin). I saw the corpse, covered by the batik cloth and I cried. The coroner had left while I was entering the compound.

After I got back from the test, I went over to her house and looked after her youngest, her daughter, who cried, begging her mother to take her to see her grandmother's sister laid to rest. The rest of the family had followed the car. Luckily, she was easily cajoled so she watched Playhouse Disney as we waited for her family to come home. She kept asking why her mother was yet to come home so I made a few excuses until her mother finally did arrive.

She was so perceptive for a child her age. For so young a child (she is five), she said her grandmother had died and that she was going to be buried below the earth where grasses grow on top. She said her grandmother was no longer alive, and that all of them are going to pray and perform the solat jenazah. She also said that God loves her grandmother and that he has plans for her -something I had told her earlier and she still understood.

It is in this moment that I honestly say: Death changes us. It may not change everything but one person's thoughts and actions leave ripples in time. God has laid the hands of fate onto us for only God knows what's in store for us. Whatever it is, God has the greater plan and as god's creation on earth, we are created by God and to God we will return.

My fellow sisters and brothers in Islam, let's dedicate an al-Fatihah for this lady who had been called back by God. Amiin.

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