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Hi Dad,

Been thinking a lot about your last days. It all seems so surreal to me. The thing that is on my mind the most, is what I now realize was the “air hunger” you were suffering through. How I wish you didn’t have to experience that. All these weeks I’ve not been able to put your death certificate away, but today I did it.

I regret not seeing you alive on your very last day. I didn’t know it would be your last; although I knew it would be soon. I regret not being there in your final moments to comfort you, to hold your hand and to tell you once more how much I love you. I wanted you to know you weren’t alone in this.

Memorial Day is coming, so I got a tiny flag for your grave. I wonder if your headstone is in place yet? Your burial flag is protected in a case, but it’s in my closet. I want to have a proper place to display it, so I have plans to do some reorganization here.

On Sunday I took pics of my kids. When I saw them on my PC, it struck me- how much my little guy looks like you sometimes.

I have no idea how to find your siblings, I would like to inform them of your departure.

My big brother found your birth certificate and mailed it to me- it was a surprise, as I don’t think he knew what it was- he just said he had some odd documents he thought I should keep. Funny- grandma’s surnames are not what I thought they were! I better update my ancestry profile!

The last time I saw you, the nurses had made you very comfortable. You weren’t suffering. You were still and quiet, breathing calmly. You were so clean and cared for. They were concerned for your comfort and safety. I really appreciated that. I had no idea that was the last time I would see you.

This whole experience is a reminder of just how precious we all are.

I miss you very much. And I’m sorry.

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It’s been 54 days since you left– I thought we would have more time.  We were estranged from each other for 10 years, until the year prior to your departure.  Those last 12 months were difficult, and the last 3 weeks were surreal.

Did you know I was by your side?

Did you know it was me who cleansed your face and your hands?

Did you know I helped you drink when you thirsted for water?

Did you know I guarded your dignity?

Did you know you stopped eating and drinking, when you stopped eating and drinking?

Did you know you were leaving before I told you there was nothing they could do?

Did you know that it broke my heart to tell you that?

Did you know I was never ashamed of you?

Did you know just how much I love you?

Did you know that I would cling to any word you uttered in the end of your days?

Were you scared?

Did you worry?

Did you know I would never forget how you rested in my arms?

Did you miss me?  My kids?

Were  you disappointed with me?

Did you know it didn’t matter that you were 72 and I was 41?  I felt like a helpless child watching you slip away.

I think about you all the time.  I imagine you are whole, unbroken and resting in peace.  It doesn’t stop the tears, but it gives me hope.  When my daughter sings twinkle little star, I can’t listen.  It hurts- and I don’t know why.

For all the things you weren’t, and for all the things you were, I will miss you always.  I will be thankful always, and I will be grateful always.

Brilliant, Admired, and Beloved you are.

RIP Dad.

Today, something caused me to look at my poorly attended blog.  It’s been a year since I’ve posted a word.  Looking back, and re-examining the things I’ve written, I see that my current state of mind has improved, softened and isn’t as harsh or opinionated  I’ve evolved a bit of the past year I  think I am a bit more open minded and I have other more prominent issues on my mind.

The two biggest things in my life right now are:

1) Life after bariatric surgery (I’m 7 months post op)

2) preparing my son (and myself!) for kindergarten (Islamic) 

I’ll expand on this and more later.   I’m typing on my iPad and 

 

 

Whoa- that doesnt really sound good coming from a Muslim, eh?

Let me explain- I don’t really miss church, I miss the church sub-culture. I’ve been pondering why I don’t attend the mosque these past few years. I can’t stand the chaos. Cant. Stand. It. One. Bit. I should mention in all fairness that I am not able to get there sometimes due to my work schedule too.

The women’s balcony is too noisy. The ladies talk too much. There are small children running everywhere during prayer and during the sermon. Being a mom of a 3.5 year old and a 16 month old, I know that keeping them quiet can be very difficult- but we are the parents and should be in control! If the sermon happens to be interesting and happensto apply to modern times, I won’t hear it because I’ll be too busy preventing my kids from falling down two humongous spiral staircases that flank each side of the balcony.

And then I get annoyed- and I have no right to be. I’m never there, never involved. Shame. On. Me.

I have nerve complaining because I know that Muslims are in the minority, and that these houses of prayer are built by dedicated members of the community who I’m sure made many sacrifices for the good of our Ummah. It just seems like such a hassle to drag two munchkins up a giant staircase, and God help you if you step on your own skirt, if there is traffic or a shoe avalanche (ladies, I know you know what Im talking about). Did I mention that hot air rises? Oh yes, it’s always warm and I am guaranteed to sweat like a beast. But rest assured, there will be a few colossal, jet propelled, industrial fans set at mach 20 which will further prevent me from hearing or keeping my eyelids open.

I spent the first 18 years of my life attending Sunday Mass at our local Roman Catholic parish and I don’t recall my mom having these difficulties. There was seating for all, everyone was quiet and there was minimal fuss. Of course there were oodles of children, and there were rogue giggles and whispers and cries, but it seemed so much less bothersome. (I can’t help but postulate that when children and women have reasonable accommodations in the masjid these problems will become less frequent).

I miss the sermons. For the most part the clergy really tried to connect with everyone, offering something to each parishoner- with no matters of age, status, gender or politics. I left feeling lighter, gentler and more understanding. Sometimes I left inspired. That’s what it is- I miss that feeling of love and inspiration. You know what else I want? To sit by my husband’s side with our children during a lecture or discussion, and be part of the religious experience together.

Salams and greetings all 🙂

I haven’t posted because I didn’t have anything positive to write about. I had been experiencing a dip in my iman and thankfully it is lifting. As of late I’ve had a lot of stress upon me, to the point where I just felt immobilized by it. Totally overwhelmed and fraught with worries. About a week ago, I had an epiphany: I decided that I’ve done all I could and now it’s time to realize that I must rely on my faith and leave some of these issues in Allah’s hands. I truly have no control over some of these problems, and can no longer tolerate the constant ‘what if’s that notoriously make me, me.

Thankfully my children are in good health, my husband and I are well too and we are enjoying our little family. Alhamdulillah for this. We are faced with making some big decisions soon, and may have to move. For now my prayer is “Oh my Creator, please keep us four together and in the best imam and health, and if something isn’t good for us, protect us, and if something is good for us, show us the way and make it easy for us, Ameen.”

I am relieved my spirituality is on the upswing. It’s scary when it becomes week. I can only think of one other decline, and that was when i was a fairly new Muslim and felt like an outcast. Recently I really really struggled with hijab, and I’ve decided to put my issues with it on hold because it is impossible to be objective in the sweltering, oppressive summer heat (read: I’m cranky in the heat).

Ramadan is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to it although to my extreme disappointment I will not be fasting. No, I’m not preggo! I have type 2 diabetes and was put on insulin within the past week. InshaAllah it is temporary and will go away as I shed extra pounds and build tolerance to a brisk exercise routine. Pray for me please 🙂
I will probably abstain from blogging or reading other blogs during the holy month as it is a distraction, and I hope inshaAllah at the conclusion of Ramadan I will be used to it, and really limit my computer/iPhone usage (not that there’s much with my kids hanging of me!)

Well, that’s where I’m at these days, putting one foot in front of the other and hoping to be a better Muslim, mother, wife, daughter and sister with each step.

InshaAllah I hope you have a blessed and peaceful
Ramadan.

Inspired by blogging extraordinaire Wood Turtle,  I would like to write about my hijab experiences.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t because it’s such an enormous subject!  Here goes, piece by piece.

Several years ago my husband and I attended a lecture; I was totally psyched up for this and couldn’t wait to get there.   The lecture was   about  giving appropriate naseehah (advice) and such.  The scholar covered all the basics about Islam- and during the Q&A session at the conclusion, someone submitted a question asking if hijab was fard (mandatory) or sunnah (recommended); and the scholar replied “yes it is fard, even though some of you are not wearing it properly“.

While his tone seemed harmless and did not carry even a note of superiority,  I found his unsolicited comment to be inflammatory.  Was it necessary to chastise the women in the audience and to  make us feel self-conscious?  I can only speak for myself, but I can’t help but think anyone not wearing a traditional abaya and khimar felt awkward.    Is that the focus?  What we look like on the outside (ironically)?  My husband looked at me immediately (from the men’s section), because he knew the words would strike a chord within me.  I was so utterly disappointed and felt completely deflated.   I came to lift my heart and elevate my soul, but left feeling judged and outside the fold of what is considered acceptable.  For those of you who are curious, you’re probably wondering what I was wearing since I was so sensitive :  a long, lose tunic to the knees (opaque long-sleeved shirt underneath) loose denim trousers and a simple hijab that covered my head and neck.  Oh yes, and sandals.  My definition of modest- but yet at that precise moment I felt that I had been stripped of my dignity and might as well have been sitting there completely naked.   I wondered if other women there dressed like myself felt inspired by this to cover more, or if they were just as disgusted as I was.

Hijab is a sensitive subject, and is often overlooked as an emotional decision, even by other women.   While I cannot speak for others, I can honestly say it took enormous courage for me to put it on, and although I have reached a more of a comfort zone, I don’t see myself wearing an abaya or jilbab.  I suppose if I was ready for that, I wouldn’t have any hesitation; but I do.  Major hesitations.  Honestly, I have no desire to increase my endeavors in this area of practice.    I could expand on this in another post.

I often find myself going back and forth in my mind about the purpose of hijab, why I put it on, if I would ever consider taking it off, is it really ‘working’ for me,  common misconceptions, God consciousness, my religious obligations and so on and so forth.  It gets exhausting.

So there- that’s about all I have time for tonight.  Inshallah my next post will be more focused.