I suddenly have this vision of walking into my library in a new house, and there are no memories of my rich past…….
I am in the process of putting down a new rug that brightens the library in my home. So many people from my family have lived in this house and some have departed to the Almighty.
I bend down to clean the bottom shelf in my current library and I find a photo. Suddenly with that photo comes not just a picture of two people but also a myriad of memories, emotions, the breeze, the light, the laughter, and the sense of forever being loved and loving.
They are both ready to go out and are at the door of my house, the pillars are white, fresh with paint. They have not been worn down with the whipping of the ice storms and the damp damage of the incessant rain beating down on them over the years. The brick path leading to the house is pristine; there are no cracks or broken pieces.
He is smiling and standing with his uncle, hands in his pocket. Both are gone forever with their humor and their soaring intellect: uncle and nephew. Allah took them: one very early and the other also in the prime of his adulthood.
As I clean the library I wonder what the library would be like with no memories. A new room, a new house where the ghosts of my past had never tread, where I do not chance upon a photo stuck under the bookshelf where I am never transported to a time where I had never been touched by grief. Whence I had never tasted the salt of tears, where I was so confident in my love for my loved ones, where I thought I knew with certainty that I will be loved forever and will always be surrounded by those who love me and whom I love.
I stare at the picture, the sun is out as I see my brothers transitional glasses have darkened but it is not bright enough as Tariq’s eyes are not squinting with the light. They are both smiling, and they are both with Allah. What is a life like without memories and the triggers for them, I wonder.
I continue to clean the library and I find an album of my visit to Argentina with Tariq. I was invited to speak at the World Federation of Neurology Meeting in Buenos Aires and took him with me. We walked through the rain forest, slid down a rope beside a waterfall to land at the rivers edge, and then I had difficulty trying to climb the rope back up the waterfall and Tariq who had shimmied up called encouraging words to me in his 12 year old optimism as I huffed and puffed the rope burning into the skin of my hands.
We boated through the bottom of the 250 waterfalls at Iguacu and sat in front of the glaciers and took pictures. Those images are engraved in my brain and heart and I thank Allah for the beautiful times that He granted me with my children.
There is a box full of game CDs, do I keep them, toss them, or donate them? They are such a personification of Tariq that throwing them out is almost heresy to his memory, and yet I know that my time is also coming to an end and perhaps I may never be able to open them and review them. I stare at them and see him sitting at the computer, head bent, and his dark straight hair half falling over his face, fully focus on playing the game……
I sit down to sort out my place in dunya, where my time is measured and I know at an intellectual level that I must lighten the baggage……….not only of things but emotions, past and present loves, empty the heart of all except Allah, easier said then done.
The ironic thing is that at this time I am listening to Sheikh Mokhtaar broadcast on “anger and forgiveness” and suddenly out of the blue as if he is answering my quandary “don’t you have to have an empty heart before you fill it with the love of Allah”
I turn to the computer where he is speaking live from his mosque………He must have heard my soliloquy.
My dilemma is not easy……..I wonder if you have ever lived with the ghosts of your past loves. Have you ever wondered if you needed to go to a new place where the beloved ghosts of your past have never been, and then wonder if you will feel bereft without them if you do so?