Why are you scared of death?

Jummah Mubarak Beautiful Readers. Just thought I would share this piece I wrote some time ago and give us something to reflect on…. Happy Reading!

I would sit with her late at night as her body writhed in pain, I would dab her with a cool cloth when she felt too hot, wiping away the drizzles of sweat forming on her nose and forehead, and I held her close when she shivered. And finally I would watch her as she fell into a peaceful slumber. Only then would the tears exit the corners of my eyes, and roll down my cheeks, around my chin and into the crevice of my breasts, from which I nursed her so lovingly till she was a year old. I couldn’t watch my baby die, it was tearing me apart, ripping my soul into a thousand, million shreds. Was it even fair to watch one’s child, who you carried for nine months inside of you and cared for nine more years, die?  I could not wrap my mind around the thought of not having her around, my sunshine in the morning, my personal dose of daily hope.

She burst into our lives on her exact due date, just as the sun was bursting through the sky, bringing with her more joy to add to our family, and smelly nappies, loud burps and plenty giggles. She captured everyone’s heart who ever laid sight on her bright blue eyes and dimpled smile. And even now, when the effects of chemo has left her skin as grey as ash and she has lost her chubby cheeks to the point where you can trace her cheekbones with your finger, even now people are in awe of her sparkling blue eyes and beautiful smile.

But today she has moved everyone to tears, even the doctor, who has trained himself in the face of death, and watches people die on a daily basis, shed a tear for my daughter and her never-ending courage and determination in life and death, alike.

Today, as we all surround her in her final moments, she requests to be at home.

“Why sweetheart?” I ask her gently. “You will be more comfortable here, and they will be able to help you with the pain.”

“What pain, Mummy?” she looked at me with those crystal eyes, filled with sincererity and determintaion. “I feel no pain, other than in my heart. I would like to be in my own bed, surrounded by my family and smelling the smells I did all my life, the smells of love. I want to close my eyes and remember you there, in the room you made for me from scratch, choosing the colours and linen so carefully. I want that perfect image as my last.”

We were sceptical. We didn’t want her suffering any more than she had to. The doctors could do no more. The cancer that started like a leech on her spine, a year before she turned nine, had spread through to the rest of her body, attacking her and becoming larger than her. The fight was over. Nadia had quietly grown up, grown wise, and had put her zealous swords of courage away and invited the cancer to consume her with a frightening calmness. She wasn’t giving up, she was setting herself free.

Later on, I can recall her smiling sweetly and asking for grape juice, her favourite juice, because purple was her favourite colour. She lay in bed, propped high by the large lilac pillows, as we surrounded her once again. Myself, her father, her elder sister and her baby brother. She took her time to look at each of us exclusively, for long moments, silently, her eyes piercing through to the depths of our souls. And then she spoke to us all.

“Why are you scared of death?” she asked calmly. It was the first time she had mentioned the word. We all gaped at her in shock, awed by her resilience, as tears stung our eyes again. “If you choose to look at death as dark and gloomy, it will scare you. You will be so petrified in your final moments that you will forget to remember the beautiful gift you been handed to by Allah. Your life is the packaging, wrapped in bright colours and pretty ribbons. It is what surrounds the surprise on the inside. Unwrapping the gift is living your life. If you do it slowly, meticulously, careful not to damage the pretty patterns on the wrapping and without ripping the bows so they unwind, you will have so much more appreciation for the gift that lies inside. And when the time comes to look at your gift and hold it in the palm of your hand, if it fits, you can finally close your eyes and savour the moment, and be grateful that you took your time. I have taken my time. My nine years with you may seem short, but slowly you all helped me unwrap my gift sent by Allah. Now I will take the final steps, there is one more layer, which I must undo by myself, but I would like you all to sit here while I do. I want to close my eyes, and hold these precious moments in my heart before I enjoy the incredible beauty of my gift. Hold my hand Mummy, and guide me as you always have.”

I didn’t understand what she meant, but I moved even closer and gently took her frail hand in my own, wondering how my child got so wise, and when? She smiled again. Her eyes twinkled as she captured each one’s memory in her heart. Then she closed them and whispered a single word, “Jannah.”

And as the sun disappeared below the horizon, Nadia’s soul fluttered away, leaving her lifeless body behind in her purple room. She had gone to collect her final gift. Finally, my baby could walk without pain, and maybe even fly, as she often wished. Her suffering had come to an end. She was home, her final abode. It wasn’t the end, but the beginning of another incredible journey for her.

Dedicated to my beloved Granny, who was a victim of Cancer. May Allah grant her direct flight into Jannatul Firdows. Ameen!

24 thoughts on “Why are you scared of death?

  1. Jummah mubarak to u too. U have left tears once again in our eyes. It’s so amazing that u have posted something like dis today n today I have found out that I’m preg n this story of urs have truly left me with great motivation may Allah grant al the marhooms the highest stages in jannah n make it easy for us al. U truly an amazing ryter may Allah always bless u to motivate ppl out der with Al the difficulties ameen!

  2. Salaams Asmaa, this moved to tears! It brought much memories of my own Nani and other beloved family members’ passing. May Allah (swt) grant everyone of the Marhooms Jannat-ul-Firdowse, Aameen.

    I once heard that when we leave the Dunya for Barzakh the link breaks here however in the Aakirah our family link will gather once again for eternity 🙂

  3. Ameen, may Allah grant all marhoom janaatul firdos, inshaaAllah.
    It is a very trying and painful time for the family when loosing a young one…only Allah gives them the strength…
    Cos they can still smile and endure everyday.
    We lost a teenager in our family to cancer , after ghusul she looked so beautiful and at peace, with a gentle smile like she had neva suffered any sickness, the look on her face will stay with me ….she was truly at peace with our Creator ….

  4. 😥 my sis also passed away when she was around nine,had a kidney prob,my mum (may اَللَّه (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتعالي) grant her the highest stages in جَنَّة ) couldn’t come 2 terms with it,used 2 have tears in her eyes when ever som1 spoke abt my sis who passed away more than 20 years ago,my mum passed on last year,I’m sure she’s happy now and my sis and her are 2gether 🙂

  5. Ameen…. I recently lost my beloved aunt to cancer. It truly is hard to let go but seeing her suffer was far more worse… I know she is in a better place and she is no longer suffering. Death is something we cannot evade we all know it’s going to us happen some day. All we can do is ask Allah to guide us in our path of life and when we reach the end… help us leave this Dunya peacfully…
    I have been following this blog for a while now and sister you have truly opened our eyes to what goes on in this world. This is a sick world, May Allah protect us, our children, our familys and friend and all Ummah from the evil that lurks in this world. May Allah protect us from sin and may we grow strong in our Imaan and hold onto the fact that Allah is indeed there for us in good times and bad. The Almighthy has proved to me that all I need to do is ask and He is there. We just got to believe.
    Jummah Mubaark to all and May Allah grant all those that have passed on the Highest state in Jannah and ease the hurt and void that has been left in our hearts from their loss….

  6. I speak for myself when I say I don’t think I’ve been unwrapping my gift with much care. I’ve been ripping the ribbon off, with the notion that I’ve got all of eternity to make up for it. Whereas in reality, I may not even have the next hour. A real eye opener and perfect Jummah reflection.

    Asmaa, you’re gifted and left me speechless once again. Xx

  7. Slmz: May Allah grant u a healthy lovely pious bby. Cancer is such a scary illness,it jus creeps up on a person,this is a very sad read. My brother passd away @ age 24 few days b4 his b-day frm cancer he was born on da 5th & i on da 6th. May Allah grant him & All Murhooms Jannatul Firdous.

  8. Jazakallah sis asmaa for continuing to write and keep the blog going even after the negativity of the readers.I really enjoy ur blog.May your book surviving be a success and you may your writing be a means of liberating the muslim women on a larger spectrum!ameen,please use ur talent on a broader sphere.

  9. Sister in law passed away on this morning. Friday and janaza is at asr..she also had cancer for many years..but bravely handled it..Allah.Swa grant her and all marhoom jannat and also make it easy for us here and the hereafter..InshaAllah ameen

  10. This story really hit home. My mum passed away 2 yrs ago from cancer. Which spread through her body furiously in 11 months. And purple was her fav colour too. And as Nadia was born at sunrise and passed at sunset- my mum was born 3/11 and passed away on the 11/3. I totally understand that full circle meaning of life. Sitting right now thinking of her actually- what a fighter she was- how she was strong for us when she told us the news of her diagnosis- even in her death she made us promise to be strong- nt mourn her death but celebrate her life. JazakAllah sis Asmaa- May Allah grant you strength in your writing. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy all your posts. Would love to respond to all but alas with three kids its hard. All the best.

  11. Omw! This post left tears in my eyes n a huge lump in my throat! May Allah prepare us for death b4 it comes n let us die with imaan..ameen..jzk khair sis asmaa for makin us conscious of the reality of death..none of us can escape it n the intelligent ones r those who remember death frequently n prepare for it b4 it comes…

  12. Wow! Touching!!! I lost my dad to cancer n he too posed the same question… Why afraid of death….. Ur An amazing writer Asma…. I’m been following ur posts n wish u immense suCcess. Remember the only limitations we have are the ones we set ourselves n 2ndly if the mind can think it,conceive it n believe it the mind can achieve it!!! Best wishes

  13. JazakAllah sister, I lost my niece who was 4 years old 14 years ago to cancer, I would go time after time with her for chemo treatments. I couldnt bare to see her in her final stages , a very young soul yet so matured strong n captured the hearts of every single hunan that crossed her path. May Allah grant her Jannatul firdous. We will never forget those dear to us that we loose but Allah allows us to learn to live without them ,keeping their memories close to our hearts.

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