Melancholic moods

I love rain, but when it goes on for too long and the sun fails to make its appearance, then it can be downright depressing. Or maybe its just that too much is going on right now. It seems that stress is contagious, and I have definitely caught the bug. I’ve been thinking a lot about granddad. Two days ago I had to deal with some admin work, which involved faxing his death certificate. Holding that document was more concrete evidence of his death, which left me feeling hollow and melancholic. The only cure, people say is time. Tomorrow is going to be one month since his death. It feels like a lifetime, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Is he really gone? I keep asking myself that question. Images of him are constantly flashing through my head. Fortunately though, its of the good times. I haven’t cried much, except for the weekend after his mayyit and about two times in the last month. I want to cry, but I feel so numb and hard inside. Maybe it’s a good thing. I keep wondering if its going to suddenly hit me, and how will I be able to deal with it. I’ve been so preoccupied since his death, that I haven’t had much time to sit and actually reflect on the harsh reality. Life has changed in so many ways…I hope that we will be able to recover our happiness, although he has left us. I guess it would be a good idea to take each day as it comes and not envisage a gloomy future, but rather look forward to good things. As the saying goes “Change is the only constant”. We have to embrace change and make the most of what we have, and in this case ‘who’ we have in our lives.

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Crossing paths with an imbecile

My usual calm being was infuriated by a guy who I shall call “II”- Incompetent Imbecile (I quote from the 1994 movie, Richie Rich. One of my favourites back then.” This is a cappuccino. I asked for a DECAF CAFFE LATTE, you incompetent imbecile!”). I’m working on an article and use Facebook as a tool to get in contact with people and get their opinion on various subjects. I would have thought unfortunate, but perhaps fortunate would be a better word to describe that I came across such a guy. An eye opener that such guys aren’t only talked about, but really do exist! “II” gave his opinion, with insistence that I agree to what he says. In response to his first message I said that I ‘understand’ what he means (but I obviously see two sides to a story, the negatives and the positives). He responses were brusque and holds no weight with me…

II: Undrstand.ing an agreen wid wme is 2 dif tings madam

Me: One can understand but not necessarily agree. Of what importance is the differentiation, in relevance to my reply?

II: Do you agree ? Or do u udrstand,tink b4 u answr!!

Me: Well, open minded people can listen to what other people say and understand their opinions. In life, you don’t have to agree with everything other people say. So u are entitled to your opinion. If we all agreed on every subject, we would be a homogeneous bunch of uninteresting people. There would be no reason to seek out different people, getting their perception on life. And yes, I always think before I answer. Do u always answer questions, with the expectation that people should agree with your opinion? I still fail the to see the significance of the obvious importance u place on me understanding what u say, but not agreeing.

II: Well madaam so be it,i said wat is rite.an it was rite.end of story

Aah…this last sentence gives clear evidence to his ignorance. I have heard of such people…they are highly educated when it comes to Islamic knowledge and think that that their opinions reign supreme. So what if they have Islamic knowledge? Its of no value if they don’t know how to respect other people and respect their opinions. Don’t get me wrong there are many people out there who are humble, despite their high level of education, and are the type that we can admire, but then there are these, the “II” type.

What’s the use of open dialogue, when the one party believes that only they are right?! What’s the hype about me understanding his opinion, but not agreeing? If someone explains something to me with credible reasons, I may get a clearer picture of what they saying and understand why they saying what they do. However, it doesn’t mean that I should throw my opinions aside and suddenly agree with them. I am my own person and can think what I want to. “II” is entitled to his own opinion, but he has no right to impose his beliefs on me, or anyone else for that matter.

I have a strong dislike for such actions, when people are so close-minded…I have to agree with Sandy, “There is no way to change a close-minded person — that is, unless you have the patience of a saint to actually try and change them…not worth it though”.

Don’t live your life saying “if only”

I absolutely love the early mornings, and today was no different. I sat in the dining room, dipping my homemade rusk into my daily after-Fajr morning cup of coffee. I sat in solitude and looked at the sky, embracing a new day. What I would have loved at that moment was to grab my jacket and take a drive to the BP garage. Im told that the Wimpy is open 24/7. It would have been just great if I could get out, order a coffee, get lost in the music of the early morning and watch the sunrise…and so my Facebook status followed, “T thinks it would be wonderful to go out for an early morning cup of coffee , find the perfect spot and watch the sunrise…if only…”

Not much later it was followed by two comments “There are no if onlys.. just go out and do it…..carpe diem……” and from a good Facebook friend “Rumi once said to not get lost in the “what ifs.” If we dwell on “if only” too much, we’ll miss the beauty of the moment. Embrace each moment and cherish it will all of your Being. Wonderful things are ahead, insha’Allah”.

Those words are very wise and apt. We will lose out on too much in life should we live on an “if only” basis. Unfortunately living in the country that we do, there are times when we have to curb our desires. The crime stats are unfortunate and I obviously don’t blame my parents for their decisions, as what they do is in my best interest. But I also wonder…is it really fair for me to blame anyone or anything? Each individual has the power to change things and make things happen for them. If you don’t do anything for yourself, no one is going to do it for you.

As for the next time, I want to go an an early morning adventure, I think some really good company would do:) Any takers?

While I’m on the subject of “if”, that reminds me about something I wrote in my journal a few years back. Well it was written due to other circumstances, but here it is anyway:

13-09-04 …22:14 (No, its not insane! 😛 I record the time of entry as well)

“Life is not about ifs. We are living a reality, and when someone has something to say or they feel something for someone then they should express themselves before it is too late. Life waits for no one…don’t leave words unsaid, for a time when you will be drowning in regret. Don’t let that moment come when you will realise your mistakes and say ‘if only’. Live in the moment and make the most of it”. (An edited version)

Recipient unknown

To the one I care about, but know I should not. You came into my life uninvited. There were times when I hated you being there. An obligation I had to fulfill, until the time passed and came to a halt. Sleepless nights and endless thoughts. Prayers and confusion. Why did you come, when you didn’t really care? Why the pretences and the wasted time…why did you bother? Surreptitiously you made your way into my life, then walked away when I felt something was there. You were cold and cowardly. I expected more from you, but you left me with nothing more than disappointment. A gap that I had to try and cover up. For all your words, which I now deem false, you cared nothing when I needed someone most. No words of comfort, no prayer though small. I kept waiting in the hope you would turn up. But all you gave me were signs of your time carelessly spent. Words of hurt, unconsciously said. The implications were all too clear. You wanted to get something across. For now satisfaction can be yours. I get it all too clearly. For the very reason I never let anyone in, for all the fear…You proved me right. You are just like all the others. I now fall deeper into the abyss of darkness. I gave you credit most of the way and defended you in times of need. You gave up too easily. Ironically I lasted longer than I thought I would. Although I feel what logically I should not, Im glad things didn’t progress any further. I now see you for what you really are. I always knew, but like many of the unexplainable things in life, I opened the way and allowed you entrance into my life. I feel a loss, sometimes regret. But then I wonder, why me? I shall not grant myself permission to feel regret for Im not the one who did any wrong, who hurt and caused further mistrust. Carry on enjoying your life, but remember who you are. Your actions will have consequences. Remember your status in the eyes of the One most Great. Your knowledge, you supposed to spread. You are supposed to be the one to spread light, inspire and bring people closer to Him, but what have you done? Forgive me if I am misjudging, perhaps if I knew you longer I would have known otherwise. Unlike you, although we no longer share a part of each others life. I still care. And in my heart I pray for you more often than you may know. I have faith in the One most High, and still wish and hope for you the best in life. Even though we no longer have contact, no matter what you do, there is a person out there that believes in you and one that knows through prayer, you will be the person she thought you could be…

You are no longer with us, but will always be loved…

She left her belongings behind, taking only the necessities along. The ones that she would need over the next four months. Her loved ones stood around her, their tears flowing freely, in their hearts an even bigger vacuum was created. Just like a bride leaving her home, leaving her family behind. But this time, she would not leave joyfully, with hopes and dreams to live a new life with her husband. She was leaving because her husband had left this world…

After forty nine years of marriage to my grandmother, my granddad passed away on the 2nd January 2009. They lived a life of hardship, taking on responsibility from a young age. Although their lives were never filled with material riches, they were blessed with a greater kind of wealth, they had happiness.

On the 6th of December 2008 my granddad was admitted to hospital, diagnosed with pneumonia. He left home smiling, wearing his grey Winter gown. He walked towards the car, and in all the pandemonium, my mother and gran rushed him off, not stopping to greet him. My mother regrets it now and says that when they left, then only did she realize her mistake.

My sister and I were involved in the catering of a function that Saturday. We received a call later that afternoon with the news that my granddad was admitted to ICU, but did not realise the gravity of the situation. There was a buzz of activity and we were so engrossed in what we were doing that we literally didn’t have much time to focus or think of anything else other than the work we were involved in. We got home at 12:45am on Sunday morning and sat with my father discussing the days events. It wasn’t until later in the day that we realized just how serious the situation was.

Exhausted from the previous night’s activities, I was about to take an afternoon nap when we received a call from my uncle. He was panic stricken and demanded to speak to my father immediately. We rushed off to the to the hospital as the doctors said that grandad’s kidneys were going into failure. On arrival, I noticed my other family members alight from their vehicles and walk towards the escalators. No one said a word and their faces were devoid of any expression. Everyone was in a state of shock.

My mother got to the hospital before we did and when I entered, her face said it all. We thought that it was his final moments with us. I entered the ward, along with my younger sister and was taken aback at the sight of my grandfather. We stood for literally ten seconds and rushed out. I could not see him in that state. I remember walking on Hospital Street hand in hand with both my mother and sister. The tears were flowing freely, as we walked in a state of helplessness, enveloped in an air of melancholy.

In the following days the doctors said that he was improving. We all anxiously awaited his return home, but days turned to weeks and weeks turned to almost a month. Twenty seven days to be exact. It was like a rollercoaster. Some days they said he was getting better and other days, that his health was going down. Sometimes we would be on top of the world, bathing in the light of hope. Gloom would characterize other days, where we thought it was the end.

I always thought that I was a strong person, one who could control my emotions well. But not this time, not in this situation. On the odd occasion that I would visit my granddad, I would come out crying, unable to contain my emotions. He was sedated practically throughout that period and I didn’t want to see him in that state, with tubes and other unknown things attached to his frail body. I preferred to stay home and pray for him.

My family gathered every night at my grandmother’s house and we would pray for the recovery of my granddad. It became a daily ritual. We would eat together, then spend the rest of the night in light hearted conversation. We never thought that my granddad would not come home. As much as it was a reality, it is something we never thought possible.

On the 27th December was my grandparents 49th wedding anniversary. They planned to go out for a meal together. How romantic, after so many years of being together they still wanted to make that day special. We expected granddad to be well by then and kept telling gran not to worry, their plans would still materialize. But the day arrived and he lay in bed, unable to talk or make much contact anyone. It was a very emotional and sad day…

Friday, the 2nd of January arrived. It was an unusually beautiful day. As I walked outside to hang the load of freshly washed clothes, I stood for a few moments and looked up at the sky. Wispy clouds were etched against an azure sky and the balmy weather attributed to an even more lovely day. Both my mother and I noticed the tranquility of the day. After the Thuhr prayer, my mother said that she felt so calm and at peace. She felt as if granddad were going to get better, as if things were going to be ok and he would come home. But what came home that night was his janazah…

After lunch mummy and I sat for almost an hour talking about almost everything. We spoke about our lives and I told her about my dreams and hopes after getting married. She shared with me stories of her life, regrets, hopes and about other things in general. She gave me invaluable advice as always. We talked about my grandparents and talked about granddad in particular. It was a serene, joyful afternoon spent with my mother, the weather still holding up, enjoyable as ever. Little did we realize, that it was the calm before the storm.

We didn’t plan to visit granddad that day and said we would go the following day. A phone call arrived from my cousin saying that granddad’s organs were going into failure and we should come to the hospital immediately. They said the same thing before, so I didn’t think much of it. We arrived at the hospital and was surprised to see that the nurses allowed everyone into the ward at once. They work strictly on only allowing only two people at a time. Was it really so serious, could it have really reached the end? My cousin went to fetch all those that didn’t come to the hospital that day. Eventually we were all there, surrounding granddad’s hospital bed and stood in shocked silence. The doctors said that they could no longer do anything and in the next 48 hours it would probably be over.

I cannot recall how long we stood there. I just remember the heartache being so visibly expressed by everyone, their tears of pain, the possibility of losing someone we love so dearly. The machines on either side of the hospital bed kept on beeping. On the right, a red bar flashed repeatedly, indicating that something had reached a very low level. I couldn’t make out what it was and wasn’t sure what it all meant. I can still clearly hear the beeping in my head and know that it is something which will forever haunt me.

We were told to say our final goodbyes. To hold his hand for the last time. It looked so fragile and I was afraid to touch it. I whispered a silent greeting in his ear, the last I would ever talk to him and told him that I loved him. I will always love him, even though he is no longer here. He passed away approximately forty five minutes after we left the hospital.

The tears flow freely now and I am making no attempt to stop it. Thinking of those last moments with him, knowing that I will never see his beautiful smile, nor touch him, hug him or hear his voice. I wont make him another cup of tea or serve him ice-cream. He won’t eat the cakes I send for him and gran. I won’t see him all over the neighbourhood. He won’t bring me my mail, and be excited with me for my latest issue of Getaway. He won’t be here when I graduate. He won’t be a witness when I get married, like he did for all the others. He will never meet my husband or love and play with my children. He won’t spend another Ramadhaan with us. I wont see him ever so beautiful on an Eid morning, clad in his crisp white kurta, the light emanating from his handsome face. He won’t be here…and I am going to miss him dearly.

Granddad passed away between Asr and Maghrib on a Jummah, in the month of Muharram. According to the Islamic date, he passed away on the death anniversary of his mother, thirty two years later. He was the youngest of eleven children and I was told that his mother really loved him a lot, being the baby of the family. His janazah was brought home for only 35 minutes and was then taken away. It was the shortest time that I have ever seen a janazah being brought and taken away. He was buried at 10:30 that night. The time of his death was so blessed, everything about it and I wish that Allah could also bless us with timing as perfect as his.

I know that he is in a better place and pray that he is in Jannatul Firdous. It is always difficult for the ones who are left behind. Allah is Most Merciful and has even more mercy on the sick and the old. Those who have left this world are at peace and are happy where they are.

I was never one who believed in true love, but my grandparents epitomize true love. Looking at them, I have hope and pray that what they were blessed with, Allah will grant it to me as well. I think back on the kind of person that my grandfather was and now look at him as a role model. I want to emulate his lifestyle, his ways and qualities. He was a man loved by all, and loved by Allah no doubt. I want to be as special as he was and want to also be remembered and be loved so unconditionally, even when I am no longer in this world.

Today, the 15 January would have been his birthday. He would have turned 73. But he is no longer here. All we are left with are his memories…

Nana, I will love you forever and ever! I pray for you daily and hope that you are happy where you are. You are missed by all, especially by your dear beloved wife. You will always be special to us and will be in our hearts and thoughts forever.

The year 2008 has ended much too quickly. While the year end celebrations had commenced, I decided that it was time I reflect on the past year and formulate goals for the year ahead. I don’t usually make new years resolutions, but the goals which I have set out to achieve four years ago when I left school, has almost been achieved. All thanks to my Creator. I have decided that it is time to move on, to look towards doing new things and to improve all facets of my life. There was a time in Matric when I felt completely useless, because despite my efforts I never achieved what I thought I could. My very kind mother fixed an appointment with me at a psychologist, in an effort to identify my problems and find ways to overcome it. Just looking at the psychologist was an inspiration in itself. Despite being confined to a wheelchair and having some major illness, she challenged the many obstacles in her life to become something important and chose a field in which she can help people. Part of the advice which she gave to me was that we need to set goals throughout our life. We shouldn’t set it too high or difficult, but break things down into manageable chunks and strive to achieve them. Since leaving school I have realized that I cannot get through my life without having goals. It gives me a sense of direction in my life and makes me feel like there are things I need to do, things which I want to do. I have learnt to work hard towards getting what I want. At times it may be difficult, but through writing in my journal I can talk to myself in a certain sense, providing support, reassurance and confidence. Yes I know, it may sound like a wacky system, but its like there are two parts of me. The one which is pure logic and positivity and the other, myself when I am weak and feel that I cant go on. Writing is really therapeutic. I think that for us to progress in life, we need to introduce into our lives frequent sessions of self-reflection. We need to learn who we are in every way possible. It’s a continuous process and requires a lot of thought, but there is an abundance of benefits…