We’ve been having a really good time on our vacation to California this past week. We got to reconnect with a lot of old friends and family, and sometimes it felt like we had almost never left this place. The easy camaraderie and jesting made us feel more than welcome, if not a little nostalgic.
But there was something missing, and both my husband and I felt it from the time we landed here.
Our uncle is no longer with us. The life of the house, the man with an ever-ready smile, the one who was the most permanent fixture in this beautiful home had passed the previous year, and it has left a large void in all our hearts.
We often talk about his witty wisecracks, and marvelous humor. He was a great story teller, and loved our kids. Any time you needed a ride or help he was your man. Always at his mother’s side, our uncle was a step ahead of her needs.
Yesterday, my husband, cousin and I went to visit his grave. We entered the cemetery, it was like going into a large field of bright green grass, with stone markers as far as you could see, and flowers dotting the landscape that were placed on some of the graves. It was peaceful, and calm. We saw trees growing all around, as if to show that life goes on against all odds.
We paid our respects and sent prayers of peace for our uncle, and his mother and sister who were right by him. We recalled happier times, and mourned our loss. We read some of the other grave markers, and gave thanks for the time we had with our loved ones.
We miss them. Our grandparents, and aunts, the people of the past who make our memories special but our hearts heavy – we miss them. And we pray for them. And we hope. We hope that when the sun sets on our time, our family visits us, says a prayer for us, remember the good that we might have done, and talk about us with love. We have faith that we meet again in the after-life, and that our children continue to be a source of sadaqa jariya for us.
Until then, we think of our friends and family who have left us. And keep them in our prayers and hearts. Our days will never be the same, but we know our lives are better because we had them with us – if only for a little while.
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الدِّيَارِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمِينَ ، وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ بِكُمْ لَلَاحِقُونَ ، نَسْأَلُ اللهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمُ الْعَافِيَةَ
“Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the dwellings (i.e. the graves), amongst the believers and the Muslims. Indeed we are, Allah willing, soon to follow (to die also), we ask Allah for well-being for us and for you.” Muslim # 975