GRIEF has many limbs and many heads similar to a statue I once saw in a temple. She is not a statue but has come alive and has become my constant companion, complete with her many arms and heads.
She arrives at inopportune moments to stand by my side and pinches me till tears roll from my eyes. She then comforts me by enveloping me in the darkness of her large cape and walks me to the cloisters of memory.
Grief brings to me the jewels of memories brilliant and clear, untarnished by the passage of time. She promises me that these memories will always be there scintillating with clarity provided I accept her as a companion and give up fighting her presence in my life.
GRIEF is a wraith, a faery, a mist and a formless presence. She is like Hamlets ghost on the parapet of the castle which only he could see. She remains with me while others are oblivious of her.
Sometimes her diaphanous cape is like a spiders web, the fine strands of which are invisible to the eyes of the casual bystander. However like a fly caught in the web remotely being reeled in slowly, Grief slowly and surely reels in my heart disabling my mind with a sting to keep it paralyzed.
At other times GRIEF is companionable and quiet and lets “The Memory” that had ushered in GRIEF speak for her.
The Memory has two facets and they are unpredictable as to which facet will I see at any given time. One has claws and digs into my heart and makes it bleed. The other is sweet and lays a balm on my ever-aching heart; I cannot choose to retrieve one without the other.
It seems that I do not have a choice of taking one, GRIEF and her two faceted companion MEMORY are a package deal.
GRIEF sometimes turns nasty and lowers me into the well of depression and holds me in its dark, dank hopeless depths and tests my faith to see if I will climb the rope or let go of it.
I try to remind myself of young Joseph (Yusuf AS) in the well. What did he do when he was lowered into the dank darkness of the well in the middle of the desert where all screams for help are answered with the wind soughing in the dunes.
Instead I remember his father Jacob (yakoub AS) who was embraced by GRIEF and he cried himself blind because Grief would not let him stop.
There is only one thing that stops Grief. It is “the shirt”. Joseph’s brothers visited Egypt to find him elevated in status and riches and in control of the treasury and food of the Land. They told him of how Grief had made their father blind. He took of his shirt drenched in his fragrance from his childlike skin, carrying the DNA embossed in its fabric and gave it to his brothers. “Give this to my father” he said to his brothers.
The brothers carried “the shirt” back to their father who buried his face in it and inhaled the fragrance of his beloved son. He rubbed his eyes into the soft fabric and as he unburied his face and opened his eyes……..WAllahi he could see………that Grief had taken flight.
Even though I am not in the league of Yakoub and Yusuf AS, I too am looking for “the shirt” and yet I feel that I have become accustomed to the companionable presence of GRIEF by my side. She allows other minor disappointments and inadequacies to be hidden under her cape without demur. She allows the daily litanies of a miserable, bereft existence and gives them stature and acceptance by placing them under her domain.
GRIEF knocks on my door at unexpected times, and in unusual persona. At times she appears dressed as a scary Halloween witch. Occasionally she will take off the costume to reveal the innocent girl under it but more often she does not.
I stand at the door I have opened to GRIEF, I have no volition, and she has entered my house, my home, and my life. She lives here with me. I have tried to distance her by giving her a separate bedroom. I keep to my side of the house but often in the fading light of the evening when night comes to embrace and cover the day, she sidles up to me and offers me her companion “the MEMORY”.
I have no control over which facet of the memory it will be this evening. I have thus accepted her offering as a gift for she holds the treasures of the times of my life that all others have forgotten.
As usual a superb way of putting things that can only be understood by some one whose constant companion is also grief and memory. There is no language to express the sudden pang of grief; the sharp scinlillating fire starts in the chest and quickly engulfs the whole body. You become rooted at a place, all thinking, all activities are overwhelmed for those brief seconds. Then gradually you come out of it. I am living with it for last 6 years. The outward calmness, the normal life, the laughter, the daily routine, all are just a facade. As if a layer of lava has hardened over a very active volcano. You once wrote that living with grief is like living with a sleeping mad elephent. You learn to live with it, so very softly. You cannot get rid of it and you know if you make a slightest noise you will surely be trampled by it.
So I live the life, the carreer, the family, the friends, all are just “balm” over the ulcer. By now I know, one cannot get over the death of a child. Any one who says different, doesnot know what he or she is talking about.
Sister, your blog has helped me to live the life. I only pray that when my time comes, I have the peace that has been denied to me.
May you live a long life.
Tariq is alwys in my prayers.
JazaikAllah hu Khairan!
Thank you for a very thoughtful and empathic comment. May Allah make it easy on all the mothers and fathers who are immersed in grief by the loss of their children, imagine Syria.
Thank you for your duas, I would not want a long life, just long enough to please Allah and find peace in my final abode. Ameen.
You and your family are in my prayers. Enjoy the cutie:)