An Open Letter to an Angel in Heaven

Dear Nina,

Today would have been your birthday. You would have been 35 years old and yet your life was cut short at barely 30.

The memory of you stays fresh in my mind. I will never forget your beautiful soul. The fact that on the day of your janaazah ( funeral), I met some people who told me that they knew you because – even though you didn’t always have for yourself – you always helped them and their families, warmed my heart and reminded me of the kind of person you were. I wish more people were lucky enough to have been in your atmosphere. To have been touched by your pure heart. I keep telling my husband that I wish he could have met you, I know he would have loved you to bits and yet I’m also glad he didn’t have to experience losing you. Because believe me, nothing I have ever experienced in my time on this earth can ever compare to losing someone you love – especially someone like you.

My biggest struggle is watching your kids grow up. Shane has been living with us and he has grown into this big, strong-willed young man. He’ll be 18-years old soon and who knows what he’ll decide… my biggest fear is that he won’t want to stay with us any longer and I can’t imagine what that would be like. Besides the fact that I feel responsible for him, I also feel like he’s my connection to you. He reminds me so much of you. And then Junaid. What a little genius! After every term he comes to us to tell us of his many A’s and how easy it was. And not so little Aaliyah. Goodness, that girl is such a madam. Her sassy demeanor and mannerisms…Jeez it’s like you’ve left us a little memento in her. Your children are a perfect reflection of you, each of them have a little bit of “Nina” in them. I know for sure you’re looking down on them and your heart is swelling with pride.


 

I never thought I would experience something like this but this is how it went:

STAGES OF GRIEF

Denial

You and your little family lived quite far from all of us and you guys never had a car so the only time we ever saw you was when my mom would pick you guys up or you randomly came through to make Ma and Pa food for the week. So I went through a phase where I had convinced myself that you were still with us, just at home where you always seemed to be. It was so easy to believe because we used to go weeks without seeing you.

Anger

Honestly, at first I was a bit pissed at you for leaving. As a rational thinker, I knew it wasn’t your fault nor your choice but as a grieving teenager, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of resentment. However, I did not once question God’s decision for you as I know that He knows best.

Bargaining

I don’t think I really did much of this as I knew that regardless of how I felt about it, this was God’s will and I accepted that.

Depression

A few months down the line I was randomly thinking about you and all of a sudden, my little facade shattered and it felt as though the pain was suffocating me. You were gone and there was nothing I could do about it.

Acceptance

One day I started looking for pictures of you and I together. I asked all your sisters and they rifled through their albums and no one could find anything. All my cousins have pictures of you with them. I cried about that because I just needed that connection but then I realised that out of all of them, I spent the most time with you when you were sick. I remember coming home from school everyday and coming to sit in your room with you. We’d talk about anything and everything and I will ALWAYS keep that memory with me.


I think the best way to overcome the grief is to deal with your feelings. Clearly the mistake I made was keeping it all in. Once I accepted that you were truly gone and the consequences that came with it, it became easier and easier as each day went by.

I will never truly be whole again because you took a piece of me with you when you left us. But instead of crying when I think of you, I’ve learnt to smile. And instead of resenting you for leaving, I’m glad that your pain ended. Every milestone I reach in my life all I wish for is to have you there but I know you’re watching down on us.

You will be in my heart, FOREVER.

Cancer Can Suck It!

So I’m scrolling down my Facebook Timeline and I come across this page – https://www.facebook.com/Relief-for-Naaziyah-1692938677621405/ .

It’s about this beautiful young fighter who yesterday, lost her life to a horrible, terrifying and all-encompassing disease. At 11 years old, your life should have been filled with homework, friends, crushes and fun. Instead; you had pain, anger, doctors and hospitals. It’s unfortunate, but God knows best.

May He put ease in the hearts of your family and grant you the highest place in Heaven, InShaALLAH, Ameen. It wont be easy and you’ll carry this pain in your heart for the rest of your lives and for a while, each time you hear her name you’ll cry but one day, you’ll think of her and you’ll find reasons to smile and slowly but surely that pain will ease.

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In 2012, I lost someone close to my heart. My beautiful Aunty Nina was diagnosed with liver cancer and within about 4 months, it had taken over her body and destroyed her.

Let me tell you though, she was strong as hell. Not once did she cry, not in front of anyone anyway. She always had a smile ready, dealt with her pain like the fighter she was and even though she was the one suffering, she’d always be the one comforting us.

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This is a dedication post. To the beautiful souls lost to this heartless disease, the ones still fighting and those who have survived. God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. Never lose hope and ALWAYS keep fighting.