Thursday, July 2, 2009

Like pearls on a broken string

THERE was heavy uncomfortable silence in the room. Offering condolences is never easy. I sat quietly with my gaze fixed on the carpet motif. In front of me was the mother of the deceased – a 26-year-old only son. She was a woman who is memorizing the Qur’an and had so far preserved one-third of the Book in her memory. I wanted (and hoped) to see the impact of this Qur’an in her response to her loss. And, as expected, Masha Allah, she was a picture of composure and patience.

I couldn’t offer any solace. No words seemed suitable enough to encompass the magnitude of her loss or the gravity of her pain. I imagined what she must be going through and tears trickled down my cheeks. I tried to wipe them discreetly but, perhaps, was unsuccessful. She passed me the tissue box on the table. No, this isn’t right! I’m supposed to comfort her. Not the other way round. I disliked the fact that I had no control over my emotions. Had to do something to stop the tears. I took a deep breath and forced my mind to think of something different and totally unrelated. I wondered at the traffic noise that was occasionally filtering in through the open balcony. Alhamdullilah, I found poise again.

She mentioned about the righteousness of her son. She described how happy he was with his newly-married status, his prestigious job as a pilot of an international airlines, his various humanitarian projects. He seemed to be the golden boy of their large extended family. He was loved by all. Yet, at the peak of his health and life, he died suddenly of a heart attack. She reminded us, and herself of how we are constantly making long elaborate plans and how Allah is making different plans for us. Allah’s plans prevail.

On my drive back that night, death, naturally, was on my mind. Yes, we know we’ll die one day, but we really don’t think of ‘that day’ being anywhere around the corner. ‘We aren’t old yet,’ whispers the soul to fool us. But when we witness the passing away of a person our age (or younger), that foolish supposition gets a good earth-shaking jolt. For more read here.

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