By Mira Khatib
I stood there looking at the small framed grave, although 7 years passed yet the fact that you’re not around anymore is hard to swallow or accept. A life once lived so grand is buried, a man’s life his stories, struggles, successes are all done and gone, but the memory lives on.
I pray for you, tears sting my eyes, a loss of a father is one that weighs heavily, and I struggle to find my words. I feel that I want to tell you about everything you’ve missed. Tell you about your granddaughter that you didn’t get to meet or know. Many nights I share with her stories about her grandpa, and I let her little imagination put the pieces together to learn about a great man that once lived.
I want to tell you about mother and my sisters – our family; we all discovered that you were the glue that bonded us. For long gone the days that had our house buzzing with people, where laughter raised above the chatter gathered around feasts that mom prepared. I am now saddened by the thought of how back then I resented those social affairs, as I found them tiring. But you loved to gather all your loved ones near and far even strangers at times. Now I think back to the abandoned dining table and bare chairs that ache for warmth of those strangers.
I want to tell you about the last time we met; I just couldn’t accept the defeated man you have become, your will to battle on had faded, and giving in seemed easier and less painful, for what more could fate take away from you? Your health? Your wealth? Your spirit and will to go on? I remember standing by your bedside, kissing you goodbye, not knowing that it was my last time to bid you farewell, ignorant enough or hopeful that with a new day we would say our hellos. You closed your eyes, maybe trying to take in a memory, a memory of a little girl who laughed on her daddy’s lap. Maybe you were trying to capture a moment in time when life seemed perfect.
I wanted to throw myself at your feet, at the edge of that grave, let the aches, pains, losses and longing overtake. But I stood firm with just a whimper escaping from me, praying that you heard the cries in my heart and thoughts instead, hoping to see you one more time even if in a dream.
Driving away from the grave site, I thought of my own existence and about my inevitable fate that one day would make my life be buried under layers of soil. What memories am I making for my children? When will our last goodbyes be said? Would I hear their thoughts and hearts? Would I visit them in a dream?
Dark thoughts overtook me while I watched the world pass by, lost in my thoughts. And all I thought of were my little gifts to you; daily prayers I send your way, assuring you that you are not forgotten and never will be.
May Allah have mercy on all those deceased and make those alive be reminded of all good and bad, make amends, fulfill dreams and most of all be ready for what awaits.
In the loving memory of my father Ossama Kamal Khatib may his soul rest in peace (Sept. 1944 – Sept. 2007)