Friday, February 17, 2012

Not an Easy Day

This day is hard for my dear friend.

I feel her from miles away.

Truth be told, I have my own feelings as well.

On the 17th of February, 2009, her little firecracker of a girl left this world.  From Allah we come and to Allah we return.

I announced Yasmine's passing here.  It's been three years.

There was so much I didn't say.  I didn't write of my deep sadness for a soul who deserved better.  I didn't write of brushing her hair in the mornings or of eating snacks with her in the afternoon.  I didn't write of hugs and smiles and doing my best for a girl who reminded me of when I was little.

She wasn't really little even though she was young.  She was so tall for her age.  People mistook her for older and expected more of her than she was able to do.  She was often reprimanded for misdeeds which a smaller child could have avoided.  She was in kindergarten when I met her and she was in first grade when she died. 

There are so many pretty pictures of this honey.  So many jaw-dropping, tear-inducing photos of her from the moment of her birth until the very week she died.  She never-ever lost that fresh bloom.  Look at her.  She was glowing. 

This is her visiting my apartment right before I moved.  She had finished soccer practice and had come over with mom and her sister to share some hamburgers and fries.  That's my Quran stand in the background. The niney-nine names of Allah are on the wall.  Both of those items moved from Florida to the Midwest and then to the Middle-east.  They survived and she did not.

It's still shocking to me that she's gone.  I've written about her many times on this blog because I'm still finding new ways to come to an understanding about her leaving us when she did and how she did.  I wrote here. 

She had been to the school's Valentine's Day party on the Friday but wasn't feeling well.  The medicine she was taking for an infection wasn't helping like it should.  When I called the next day to chat with her mom, I was alarmed to hear that Yasmine had been admitted to the hospital.  I was driving and her mom's voice was pleading with me, "Please pray for her."

Her mother wasn't Muslim.  She was my co-worker and and then my friend who would ask me about Islam.  She was married to a man from a Muslim country.  She couldn't get the sense of Islam from him.  She trusted me and would ask me.  Now she was asking me to pray for her daughter.

I did pray.  I asked others to pray.  That Sunday I wondered what was going on.  I knew how difficult a hospital stay with a child was and I prayed not just for Yasmine but for her parents to have patience and increased faith.

That Monday I woke up with a start.  It was before fajr.  I woke up with a ripping feeling in my soul.  I prayed, read Quran and decided to fast that day.  I went about sending more prayer requests when I received the news of Yasmine's passing.  She passed at the same time I had woken.

I am not proud of every moment in my life.  I'm not.  But I'll tell you that I'm proud of what I did that day.  I dropped everything and ran to my friend and her family.  Through the Supreme Grace of God, I was able to travel to her even though I had no job and no money.  I had nothing!  Yet, my failed 2008 attempt to move to Egypt included two unused plane tickets (which I used that day).  I stayed in my fast and stayed focused as I did laundry and packed.  We left that night.  I broke my fast on the plane before take-off.  I arrived late and the next day I was able to hold my friend and do what I could.

That time was precious and remains precious.  It changed many things in my life.  Here I wrote what it taught me.  The deepness of those days is so tender. 

I was there.

I was more there then I've been just about any other time in my life.

I was there because I had to be there and I had to serve God by helping others.  I felt needed and useful and faith-driven.  I was so open.  I was so strong.  I wish I could give you one moment of those days so you could understand but I wouldn't know where to start and where to stop.

Eventually, I had to fly back home.  I flew back to the cold winter and to an engagement which had ended from the distrust of me leaving.  I was so shaken by the journey home and by the icy reception that I actually had to listen to Quran through the night for fear of losing my mind.  I was no longer strong.

Later, when everything was falling apart in my life, my friend cheered me by telling me that she'd taken shahaddah.  I had always known she was my sister.  She took the shahaddah because avoiding what was good in life was no longer an option.  Previously, she had worried about giving up this or that and now none of the supposed pulls from the world mattered.  She only wanted to find peace with God because she knew that in salam she could be reunited with her sweet girl.

Months later, my friend asked me to housesit for her while she was away.  It was a chance, I felt, to go back to a place that made sense.  I flew down again that May.  I wanted some piece of what I had in February. 

It was no longer there.  I was lost and kept trying to find some way to stay but I couldn't.  That time was so painful.  I had nothing there.

I wrote of my thoughts here and here.  I wrote of how short life is and knew that I couldn't stay where I was.  I knew I had to move on and that included leaving the U.S. for Egypt. 

This year, when Mr. Boo is the same age Yasmine was, I feel more realization of the anniversary.  I feel how much promise there is in a child and how fragile all of us are.

I'm older.

I hope I'm wiser.

Inshahallah I hope that I'm better.

I'm grateful that my life intertwined with this child and with her family.  Subhanallah, I was meant to be with them for the times we've already had.  Inshahallah there will be more times ahead---both in this life and the next. 

Most sincerely, I'm going to ask once again for prayers.  If you could take a minute to center your mind and heart and send out a sense of peace and well-being into the world.  Please pray because this is a hard day for my dear friend.


Safiyah said...

What a heart-felt and touching post!

May God bring peace and joy to this little girl's soul, and keep her safe.

May God bring comfort and hope to her mother, and give light to her life

May God bless you and surround you with His love


MarieHarmony said...

Yosra, these lines are so heart-touching.
I read through the first posts, the feeling that you can't get your head around it because even your faith does not help you to make sense when it comes to the death of a child.
I will pray for your friend Yosra, May God help her, may he heals her heart, may he brings her peace. And I will pray for you too.
Take care, my thoughts fly to you on this tough day.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Dear Sisters,

Alhumdulillah that you have felt more than my words. You have actually felt my heart.

Ameen to your prayers.

I appreciate your comments. I had just finished translating the whole post to my husband. He doesn't understand it so well so it helps to hear that you've read it and feel it.

I wish there was some way to change this day into a happy day. Like "What would Yasmine do?" kind of day. I'm not at that point yet. Maybe, inshahallah, I can gradually work up to that level of acceptance.

JAK for your kindness.