Andy: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?
Andy: They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.
From Shawshank Redemption film
The day before she died for whatever odd reason I remember I was thinking about death. In my culture there is a saying that you can replace a husband or wife or your children if they die but you can’t replace your siblings and that is why it is considered the most hard to deal with.
Of course now I know that this is total nonsense. When you lose someone be it your parents, children, siblings, partners or even lovers. You don’t lose someone who is labeled so. You lose that person in her/his all being regardless of the label. And that is why if you lose someone that you truly love no matter who she or he is, you just can’t replace them.
My sister was a special person to me. And in all the labels she had fulfilled for all the people who truly loved her, she is irreplaceable.
Once upon time I considered 13 as my lucky number. I was born on a 13. I got married on a 13. I had my baby on a 13.
I thought that 2013 would be a lucky year for me. It wasn’t. My sister X. died that year. And thus breaking my positive connection with that number.
I know it is all very stupid. It’s just a number.
But today it is 13 months since her passing.
تثاءب المساء ، والغيومُ ما تزالْ
تسحُّ ما تسحّ من دموعها الثقالْ .
كأنِّ طفلاً بات يهذي قبل أن ينام :
بأنَّ أمّه – التي أفاق منذ عامْ
فلم يجدها ، ثمَّ حين لجّ في السؤال
قالوا له : “بعد غدٍ تعودْ .. “
لا بدَّ أن تعودْ
وإِنْ تهامس الرفاق أنهَّا هناكْ
في جانب التلّ تنام نومة اللّحودْ
تسفّ من ترابها وتشرب المطر ؛
As it rains heavily today. I remembered a poem about rain that I learned in High School. And as I read through the verses. These popped up at me. So painfully true to my own nephew. My own sister. How sad.
Here is my rough translation.
[[Evening has yawned and the clouds were still
shedding more of it’s heavy tears,
As if a boy gone to sleep while mumbling
That his mum whom he woke a year ago
And didn’t find her, then he started nagging and asking
They told him: “After tomorrow she’ll come back”
She must come back.
Even if friends were whispering that she is there.
On the side of the hill sleeping for ever
Eating it’s soil and drinking the rain.
Today I remembered that this is how Mum used to call you.
I heard her voice echoing around the house to reach your special place on that chaotic table of yours. Full of textbooks, notebooks and a table lamp that is on. You are sitting there as always your head tilted too forward and your forehead resting on your left palm while your right hand traces the lines of ambiguous scientific text while you speak them out. Your beautiful hair is draping downward hiding your face.
Hey Zounzoun. Mum is calling you.
When I heard the news on the phone. I dropped the phone and ran to the other room while I was screaming. I never screamed that high. There are no words to describe such horrific moments in someone’s life. Nor can you really reenact them.
Despite the avalanche of emotions that suddenly dropped on me I remember this detail very well. It haunts me sometimes.
As I rushed inside, my baby Joška who was 10 months then and who was standing near the couch screeched as I screamed. I could hear him in the background as I jumped unconsciously to the other room. My husband held him and they both came after me. My husband knew he had to hug me but at the same he couldn’t ignore our innocent son. They both stood in front of me and I saw his face. My baby’s face. He was so scared. But what burns me to that day is that single teardrop that stood halfway on his plump cheek.
I promise that one day when Joška is older and he can understand, I’ll tell him I’m sorry that he had to witness his mum’s worst moments of her life.
For that single teardrop I loved him a million times more.
On her one year passing away anniversary my dad posted a photo of my sister X. and he wrote “I miss you!” and then he wrote her date of birth and her date of passing.
I knew the dates. (8th Feb 1983- 26th May 2013). But seeing them like this was like another slap of the ugly truth. She passed away at 30 years of age. So young and beautiful. So full of life. Yet she passed away.
And now for ever more she can’t grow one day older. She will be forever 30. Her beautiful face is a face that won’t grow old. Her eyes will gleam with youth for ever more.
She will always be 3o.
God, how much I love her.
In fact everything happened to me the morning after. Due to where I live and the big time difference. I only knew the morning after the 26th.
A year ago!
What started of like a normal day has very quickly turned to the worst day of my life.
But, there is a catch. the night before I had a nightmare. And it didn’t take me long to ask when did my sister pass only to discover that it happened around the same time I woke up screaming from a nightmare.
Maybe I would like to think that I felt something. That my spirit was with her on those minutes before it passed away to the other world.
Maybe that should ease my guilt a bit.
I don’t know.
Now, all I can think of is how many days and mornings have to pass before I can start to accept Mum’s broken voice telling me “They are BOTH gone“.
الله يرحمك يا اختي.
One of the early emotions that arose after I heard the news of my sister’s passing was guilt.
My sister died while I live in another country very far and with a big time difference.
She had a very difficult day. He death was sudden but it was a long and complicated day for her that I had no part in.
I’ve always been there for my sister X. In all her important days. Every time she needed me I was there.
But when she passed away I wasn’t. And I still wonder if she thought of me that day, wishing I was there or if she needed me.
I ask myself if I was there would’ve that made any difference? Would she be alive? Guilt sits on my heart still.
Please forgive me my sister X. I truly wish I was there.