Time changes all things
Still…After all this Time?
How is it that without you, home doesn’t seem so much like home. Our family, that once seemed faultless to me, blanketed in love and care, now seems sparse and separate. I had accepted that you wouldn’t be with us forever, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
I’m so used to being welcomed by bright eyes and open arms, wide with welcome. The same strong sturdy arms that held me as a young child, the same steady grip that held me as a young women. I don’t know what it’s like to not hear your hearty voice as you call my name and tell me how glad you are that I’m here. I can’t imagine walking in and not hugging you tight and placing a kiss upon your stubbled head as I always have done while being submerged in your familiar and wonderful scent. This is a comfort that I had taken for granted so many years.
You required nothing from us, just our presence. My mere insignificant presence was enough to make you smile from ear to ear, and now I crave yours. I crave the sound of your shuffling footsteps and ambient humming as you carried on your daily tasks.
When I saw you, lying motionless, I knew at once that you were in peace. Your eyes were smiling at me in a silent chuckle, telling me you were fine, and to not be sad… and I’m doing my best. And as I placed that final kiss upon your brow, your skin becoming cold, I knew that no-one on this Earth had been blessed with a grandfather like mine, and that we were truly amongst the lucky.
They wheeled you away to your final resting place…and with you, they took your stories, your tenacity and the foundation on which this family stands. Oh Allah, allow my grandfather and grandmother to be amongst those in the highest ranks in Jannah, and allow us to meet again one day. Ameen. I will pray for this every day…
Love you always Ankiubu
Do you think it’s possible to become strangers again? Can we ever unlearn someone that once felt like home?
You once told me of a dark December that caused you to question your very being, well I believe that it is now my turn to feel an earth shattering grief that cannot be as eloquently explained as it can be wept and I’m torn between wanting to fold into your voice as you tell me all will be well, and to exhume the anger and frustration I feel at your so deafening silence and lack of regard for my emotions….but I understand that neither one will give me the peace of mind I so urgently crave…
I made that textbook mistake. The pitfall I advised others to avoid. I begged you to carry my heart and presented it to you, adorned and absent of any scarring. How foolish of me, to hand over my greatest asset, my most abundant gift, to a mere mortal who could do nothing but observe as it grew bitter and distressed…it was never your burden to carry, it is designed only to be lifted by the one who created it.
Does pain ever die? Or is it some kind of circuit like force that only passes on and never disintegrates. You carried this pain, this charge of energy with you, until you found a suitable candidate to dispel your own anguish.
I never saw you as a broken person… a heart that required healing perhaps, but never lacking. But I see now that you were broken after all, you needed an empty canister to pour your pain into… and unfortunately that vessel was me.
You saw me as a perfect chasm for the turmoil you had been carrying. Empty and light, free of all baggage, and you did not prepare me for the burden… now, I carry it with me everywhere I go. I can only hope that you’re lighter as a result and your weight seems more manageable.
Our last meeting is something I think I will never forget. Over the years I have held a lot in and I have revealed very little, bar the occasional emotional outbreak…but that day, I could not hide my pain nor use the poker face that I was so adept at using around you and your vacantness.
Did you hear it? …my heart break for the last time? …I didn’t think so…you’ve long since forgotten the sound of its calls. After that I could no longer look you in the eyes, without summoning an upheaval of unwanted agony, like a tsunami erupting in my chest cavity, ready to betray me from my eyes. Since then, every breath I have drawn has waded through the thick debris of what is left.
I’ve never known your eyes so empty of regard, and your manor so distant that it was almost possible to believe it was our first meeting. Now that I think about it, you gave me ample warnings last year when you left abruptly and did not honour what I thought had become an integral part of your week…perhaps you were already becoming aquainted with a new heart…I understand now though, that you were doing it for me. You too must have felt my heart change, my tone soften and the look in my eyes become less guarded. I only wish I had paid attention. They say you should never make homes out of people, and its true. Week after week, i’d visit the small place i occupied in your heart – the make-shift home i had fashioned, but it appeared the windows were boarded and the shutters were down. You had locked me out long before i ever realised.
I felt that maybe my heart wouldn’t betray me if I did what I never thought I could do and change the familiar pattern of excitement and disappointment that had become my every week, but unfortunately, it didn’t change…possibly due to some emotional malfunction in my brain, I don’t know…but you did it, you broke free…and I’m envious of that very fact.
Amongst the things that I long to forget…there are many that I hope to remember…and sometimes I find myself grappling onto my memories like marbles, not wanting to let a single one roll away. This I assume will fade…but I never wish to forget how effortlessly we danced in and out of conversation or how you looked, leaning against the wall, arms folded across your chest with one foot perched behind you while spinning some elaborate tale as i listened, half in anticipation, half in awe… I never wish to forget the softness and compassion in your eyes when you’d ask if i was ok…or the surge of excitement I felt when seeing you stride in. I want you to know…I never took a single moment for granted.
I don’t think I’m equipped to deal with these adjustments quite yet…I don’t respond well to the fact that I won’t ever be in your vicinity again, but I suppose this will allow us to heal. I will get over this…don’t worry…but I just need time. Please don’t judge me for reaching out when I did or for trying to summon the intimacy that I got so used to…these years have been tough on me…but I have taken on board the things you’ve said. I have given up on music, it only brings with it grief and sadness…I have begun listening to transliterations which sooth and help to align my intentions and priorities. I understand…we come from Allah (swt) and belong only to him…and unhealthy attachments become only a source of suffering.
I’m sorry if I annoyed you or ever got in the way of you and your loved ones…I never wished to outstay my welcome in your heart. The more i think about it, the more i realise that we hardly knew each other at all…i barely knew what you looked like behind your facade and you always doubted my sincerity…maybe you find it hard to let people in…maybe my heart tried to protect me after all.
I will look forward Insha’Allah…and will take every step towards moving on and finding a new heart to call home…someone that i can love wholly with my entire being in my own unusual way…. I no longer pray to run into you or subconciously search for your face amongst a crowd and i have come to terms with the fact that we will become strangers again…but maybe …just maybe…i’ll still hope to meet you there…in that place…where dreams and reality collide…
What cannot be said will be wept..