Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ramadan 17: Make It Count


.

.There are 29 to 30 days in Ramadan.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Thirty days. It is never going to be more than thirty.

Take a good look.

Each one of those days is a gift to you from God. Have you been thankful thus far?

Let's count again.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Thirty.

Except this time I want you to see each number as a year. Thirty years. It was never going to be more than thirty years.

Today, September 17, would have been Liz Logelin's 31st birthday,



but like I said--it was never going to be more than thirty. Thirty years.

Subhanallah!





No one could have guessed. Please do look at her photographs.



She shines. She has noor of eman, the light of faith, shining forth in streaming light which floods the lens and grabs at your soul.


You can't ignore that she was as alive as any person can be.




She lived.



She loved. She was loved. She is loved.

Her energy, mashahallah, was so powerful on this earth that it actually keeps multiplying even beyond her physical presence.


Can you imagine? A woman so meaningful to so many that her life keeps reaching out to strangers and making them friends.



Even me. I love her. I never met her. I love her for being a light in the world that cannot be diminished as long as she is remembered.

She is a lesson for us all.

Liz was 30 when she gave birth to her beautifully healthy baby girl, Madeline.



Liz was 30 when she died 27 hours after giving birth from a blood clot.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27...

27

I couldn't count all the way to 30 that time. She didn't have any more than 27 hours being a mom to her newborn.



Those of you who have children, how many hours has it been for you? When was the last time you complained?

Stop.

Infact, all of us need to stop. We pretend that we have an average life expectancy to look forward to. 75 years? 80?

Not for Liz.

What about you? Can you really say that you know the number of hours? Of days? Of years?

Allah tawakelna. God knows.




From Allah we come and to Allah we do return.

Today, please do make du'a for Matt, for Madeline, and for the soul of Liz Logelin, on what would have been her 31st birthday, except that it was never going to be more than 30 years.




Count your night by stars, not shadows.
Count your days by smiles, not tears.
And on any birthday morning,
Count your age by friends, not years.
~Louise Conrad Hill



27 comments:

L_Oman said...

I often read her husband's blog. Simply heartbreaking...

Solace said...

It is heartbreaking and yet also a powerful reminder that we don't know when our last hour will be here!

Anonymous said...

This is heart breaking...and definitely a significant loss for her family.
You're right, we need to take advantage of this opportunity and remember that death is indescriminant. Anytime someone dies we should let it be a reminder for us, no matter what the reason if death is.
I don't know her, but looking at her pictures, I wouldn't say that I see a representation of taqwa coming out.

Kathryn said...

Yosra,

What you wrote was perfect and beautiful. I wrote about her on my blog too as you suggested- hopefully Matt and his/Liz's family will see it.

Kathryn

aimee in the WI said...

yosra,

i love to read your comments on matt's blog. they are always beautiful, and encouraging. this post about liz is amazing..a beautiful tribute.

-just another stranger friend.

Kris in the MN said...

Yosra - what a beautiful tribute to Liz. I sure Matt and the families appreciate it. While I never knew her either, the pictures of her certainly pull you in to where you feel like you do know her. Her smile fills a room, I only wish it could fill the void that the families feel.

Kris

alibaba37 in the L.A. said...

Thanks for sharing this with all of us, I am glad you let the fear go. With tears in my eyes and down my cheeks, I want to tell you this is absolutely beautiful!

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom L_Oman,

I'm glad that you have been reading Matt's blog.

Sometimes, in the quest to be "good Muslims" we think we have to stop reading the blogs of non-Mulims. I have his blog and others listed despite religious beliefs.

When our hearts break for Matt, we really learn what the contents of our hearts are.

Asalamalaykom Solace,

Thanks for commenting.

Liz's story is powerful because not just because she died, but because she lived. We all need to do just that.

Asalamalaykom Anonymous,

Thank you for reading the words and looking at the picture. You do think the same as me, but you do not seem to FEEL the same as I do.

That's OK. You don't have to.

I see taqwa, or God-consciousness in many people; some Muslim and some not.

Liz was not Muslim. She did not usually cover with hejab. Those pictures of her wearing a veiil are from The Jama Masjid in India. However, I think that if I had shown you only pictures of a covered woman and told you she was Muslim, you would have had an easier time seeing the mashallah truth.

By the way, it is not for us to judge one solitary thing about others. I find it strange that you felt the need to discredit her on the anniversary of her birth. The rest of your comments were so nice. Did you think it was more balanced to throw in a negative?

I would love for you to come back another time, and to comment again BUT

1. Please choose a name to call yourself. I don't like to have anyone being an "Anonymous" on my blog.

2. Please re-read your comments before you hit "publish" and eliminate those words which hurt.

Asalamalaykom Kathryn,

Thanks for coming by and bringing the gift of kindness. We need more of that in the world.

Asalamalaykom Aimee,

I appreciate you leaving a positive comment. It is a little nerve-racking to open up my blog to Matt's readers, but my hope is that it will be a respectful and rewarding communication. Your comment gives me that hope that I've done the right thing.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Kris in The MN,

Thank you for commenting.

You know what's funny? I can't ever imagine the families reading the things I've written. You might remember that it was brought to my attention that someone in Liz's family reads my comments and finds solace in them. It broke me up. It hadn't occured to me that her family might be reading what I wrote. I think that I just couldn't go there in my mind.

I have absolutely no experience in losing a child and alhumdulillah---Thanks be to God---for that. I've had others losses so I feel OK to put forth thoughts on recovering from unimaginable moments...but to MATT. To go back to commenting on his blog, after I learned that someone read and liked my words was tough.

Maybe that's why I never seem to include them in what I say. I don't mean to exclude them. It's just that their pain is so hard for me to fathom that I can't seem to deal well with it.

Inshahallah, they know that I do have immense love for them and their daughter, their son-in-law and their granddaughter. Rabena sahil. May Allah make it easy.

Asalamlaykom AliBaba,

Tears from a man are special praise. Thank you for shedding them.

Somehow, I refrained from crying as I created this posting. Except, choosing the photos made me loose it once. SUBHANALLLAH Liz Liz Liz! But, really, I think that I channeled all the feeling to the words and kept my dry eyes on the screen in order to truly say everything I wanted to say.

Thank you for saying that it mattered to you. I want it to matter.

darcie said...

wow Yosra.
This brought goosebumps to my arms and tears to my eyes.
So so beautiful -
darcie

lovetheblue said...

Yosra, I have very much enjoyed reading your comments on Matt's blog. They give me alot to think about and you have given me much enlightenment. For that, I thank you - and I thank you for sharing this very special part of you with the stranger friends.

Your tribute to Liz is amazing, beautiful, and brings tears to my eyes, but in a bittersweet way.

Jeanine said...

So beautifully written Yosra,thank you so much for the wonderful gift and tribute you have created. Liz is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the privelage of learning about. Her smile and eyes really have a way of captivating one and making you "feel" alive, peaceful, good and content. When I read Matt's blog and "feel" his pain, I feel like it breaks my heart and saddens my soul. I do try to focus on what a bright shining star she is to her family, friends and is becoming to her new stranger friends. I feel blessed as she has deeply touched so many of us!!

The Twin Cities Lynn said...

Yosra, what beautiful words you write. Thank you for inviting us into your world and sharing this with us.

Sol from Argentina said...

HOLA Yosra
BEAUTIFUL words and AMAZING tribute to Liz!
I found your post so MEANINGFUL. Thanks for remind us that every minute of LIFE must be enjoyed.
PEACE
Sol

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Darcie,

I'm thankful that my intent to honor Liz is having an impact on readers.

I could not have written this about anyone else. Any beauty you see on the page is all Liz, which comes from God truly.

Asalamlaykom Lovetheblue,

I'm so glad that you took the time to write. Thank you for your words; they mean a lot to me. I don't always know how I'm being received---I guess none of us do. I am relieved that so many people have understood me.

This story of Matt, Liz and Madeline is one of the most bittersweet I've ever heard. It's hard to make sense of it, so we all just feel our way through it with our goosbumps and tears.

Asalamalaykom Jeanine,

It is indeed a privledge for all of us to be in this circle. I'm so proud to be among such big hearts, and that includes you :)

You write: Her smile and eyes really have a way of captivating one and making you "feel" alive, peaceful, good and content.

THAT is taqwa. It is the beauty which is beyond description. I don't mean the Vogue Model glamorous, but the kind of beauty of babies, mountains, lakes, flowers, sincere laughter and sunsets. Something of The Creator just speaks to you from the person's face. You want the best for them immediately and love them like a sister from the first minute.

Asalamlaykom The TC Lynn,

Thanks for coming to see what I wrote. I did what I could to channel all the insight Liz's life has shown me. I only wish that I could walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Inshahallah.

I honestly think my recent decision to live in Egypt is in part due to knowing Liz's story.

It would be interesting to hear how many other decisions have been affected.

El Paz de Dios Para Ti Sol,

Con much emocion escribo eso descripcion de una Dona que muerte tan joven. En la vida hay sonrisas y lagrimas. En ingles la palabra es "bittersweet".

Las photos de Liz son tan bellos y las sonrisas de ella el mejor del mundo. Entonces, es posible que las lagrimas son tan grandes para eso razon.

Si, todos los minutos son preciosos. Gracias por tu tiempo escribirme con pallabras buenas.

BethBonoan said...

Yosra,
Thank you so much for sharing your blog with us. I read Matt's blog daily and find your comments as moving as Matt's story. I don't know you, but reading what you write makes me truly see the world differently. I am so touched by all that you have to say. Again... thank you.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Beth B,

My turn to say, "wow". I am grateful for your kind words.

What you say is so important to me. I do want my words to make sense, to have an impact, and to make a difference.

The world will now change because you have changed.

Alhumdulillah.

Lopez said...

Yosra ~ I am another Matt reader who is always moved by your contributions to his blog. Your words are lovely...not because they are intended to make others "feel good"...but because they gently touch one's emotional core. I struggle on a daily basis to live in the present and truly give thanks for the blessings I have. You remind me that this struggle is an important one to continue.

p.s. I am rarely satisfied with the Hallmark birthday cards I find in the store...I will probably begin using the Louise Conrad Hill quote instead.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Lopez,

Of course I know you! Thanks for coming over here.

We all need to remind each other of what is most important in life. I might remind you today, and then When I forget, you please remind me :)

Isn't that the best quote for birthdays? It's so true!

So how old would Liz be if you counted her by her friends?

For her birthday, 520 friends stopped by. So, that would make her 520. May we all be so blessed.

EC in the MPLS said...

Yosra,

I am always in awe of the words you leave for Matt on his blog. This tribute to Liz is beautiful. She truly was a light in this world and has taught so many how to live openly. That light radiates from her photos and beams from the words that Matt writes about his love and best friend. So many of us spend our days closed off, trying hard not to let our inner light show. We fear that being vulnerable and loving freely will leave us hurt. Liz's story has helped so many realize that we do not know the number of our years and that we must live as if tomorrow may not be a possibility. Thank you for sharing with us so freely and saying the words to Matt that so many of us feel, but cannot properly convey.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom EC,

You know what hurts more than vulnerable? It's being closed off. For those of us, like you, like me, like Matt and Liz, we actually have to express ourselves and live life to the fullest. Being open and sharing comes at a price and I think the price is hurt. If you feel deeply, you hurt deeply. But, I think that, as years go by, I am able to be myself more and hurt less. Knowing Liz's story is one more reason not to wait for the right time to be yourself, isn't it?

Thanks for sharing with me. Knowing that we are more simmilar than dissimilar is indeed awesome. That unity, for Matt on the blog, and for the world as a whole is where it's at.

Please come back and visit here any time.

Jessica said...

Asalamalaykom Yosra,

I am reader of Matt's blog, and a friend here in the L.A. I just wanted to say that your tribute to Liz made tears stream down my eyes. As a mother of a newborn myself, I often find myself thinking of the things Liz is missing with her baby girl, but that wherever her spirit is, can be at peace knowing that Matt is doing a fantastic job with Madeline and keeping her memory alive. Thank you for your beautiful posting today, and wishing you a peaceful Ramadan.

Jessica K.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Jessica,

Thank you for coming by and sharing these thoughts with me.

There is peace, somehow, with Liz's story, alhumdulillah. The peace is from the continuation by Matt of the love story. As long as he keeps going, then there is peace. That's why it's so important for all of us to be supportive--and not just of him, but of everyone else who supports him.

We're in this together. Ya? :)

Take care and feel free to come by again.

Anonymous said...

i get what you were saying in your post,

you didn't mean to say Taqwa, you meant to say the Noor of Eman (light of faith)

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Anonymous,

You're right. I will make the change.

If the Anonymous before had given me that suggestion, I would have taken it. What I thought he/she was saying was that the light wasn't apparent, which simply is obvious to the observer.

Chloe said...

Hi Yosra,
I came across your blog from Matt Logelin's, read a comment from another girl who did the same, clicked a link, and ended up here, on this beautiful post from 2008. I was so, am so, moved by this post. What a beautiful tribute to Liz. I couldn't help tweeting to Matt about it - I had to know if he'd read such a touching post about his wife. He said you're an incredible person, and I absolutely agree. This is amazing. I'm not a Muslim, but I have deep respect for your faith after having read this. Thank you for posting it.
Chloe

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Chloe,

That's me wishing you peace :)

I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you for taking the time to comment and to tweet Matt about it. I had Matt's permission in 2008 to post this. He and I were blogger buddies. I felt deeply for his situation---I still do.

I think most of us do care about others and do want to feel close to others despite distance or differences. Thanks for sharing some of my feelings for Liz and Matt and even for Islam.

The real unifying truths in the world are the same in every faith. We can either focus on the differences or focus on simmilarities. Alhumdulillah, thanks be to God, that you found some simmilarities and some new respect.

Martina McBride needs to write a new song about this! But don't worry---I won't tell Matt.

Love and Light to You and Yours.

You're welcome back any time :)