May 17, 2009
Another good one gone!
She died yesterday.
Her death was not sudden; it was rather anticipated, or perhaps even awaited in hopes of her relief. The cancer had attacked again for the third time and this time it was more aggressive and vicious, and her body was already drained by the previous chemotherapy and radiotherapy to which she had been suggested the first two times around.
I called her the day I got my divorce; I was really happy and I wanted to share it with her. I knew she spent her weekends in Maadi and we’ve always said we’d meet at the weekend. Hearing her frail voice, I could say but “kont 3ayza ashoofek bas sootek ta3ban, kalemeeny when you feel better we hageelek 3ashan enty wa7shany” she responded “enty kaman ya habibty wa7shany, enty kowayesa?” I told her I was doing great, but I didn’t want to tell her the news on the phone; she would have needed to see my face to know for sure that I was ok and she sounded too exhausted.
Hanging up, I couldn’t help but cry! I mumbled something about how I don’t know if I will see her before she was gone. I am not psychic; it’s just that she was really sick.
Hearing the news today, I didn’t flinch, at least not at first. I quietly changed from white to black, dropped the kids off at the nursery, went to work and informed my boss that I’d leave for a funeral midday. I told a couple of people and I still couldn’t cry; death usually takes me some time to grasp and react.
I parked in the same street where I once visited to give her my condolences for her mother’s death. As I got off the car I saw one of the guys I worked with, I yelled his name and asked him where the mosque was, and he pointed and I went there.
My whole body started shaking when I saw the box that carried her coffin, and before I knew it, I started crying, it was as if I was seeing her for the last time, only I couldn’t. I saw Shery on the sidewalk with some other girl crying and sobbing, so I went to her, I know she’s the weaker one, I know S always worried about her and always asked me to “akhaly baly 3aleiha”. She saw me, and she collapsed in my arms and she kept saying “she’s gone” and I couldn’t stop myself from crying.
I sat there at the mosque completely out of my element; I don’t think I was even paying that much attention during dhuhr prayer or during salat el gha2eb.
S collapsed again as she saw the men carrying the coffin back to the car, I couldn’t watch I looked the other way and tried to soothe S. needless to say I failed miserably.
I didn’t know anyone but the people I worked with, I didn’t even know what her daughter looked like and I felt awkward giving her my condolences when she never met me; what would I tell her, your mom was my safety, she was an inspiration for me to be as strong as I never thought I’d be. Words would really fail to describe the things she represented to me, and words would not convey how I felt about her.
Goodbye strong one, you were a tree in every sense of the word, you stood up high for every one of us, and you were just amazing at it! You will always be remembered and missed, may you rest in peace.