A week ago, my grandmother passed away.
Even when you know your grandmother is fighting for her life, you still feel surprised when you hear that she passed away. Somehow the brain processes such news slowly and murkily. The day becomes sober.
I’m blessed to have lived a life where I had almost all my grandparents. My father’s father passed away when I was a toddler, so sadly I don’t remember him. However, I knew Pyarijan and I know and communicate with my mum’s parents (Nana and Nana Abu). Nana and I FaceTime often on her iPad and my iPhone!
But when you hear about death, from one of a loved one, from a person who shares your last name, your blood, your father’s mother, it feels more real. I’ve been sympathetic to my friends who have lossed a grandparent, but not known how it truly feels. Now I can feel that empathy.
When a loved one dies, you realize life isn’t all about you, the toddler, the cheerios. You know that, but you know it more when a loved one dies.
Toddlers LIVE life to the fullest everyday. They are a flurry of activity, bustling from one placeto another, feeling strong emotions – tears or chuckles, they are sucking life in. When a family member dies, it is a gentle reminder that life is short, that you will die, that you need to be ready – no matter how old or young you are.
I also hope that when we hear about tragedy or loss, that we react well with patience and know that God is testing us. I came home to my house after a few days and saw all my vegetable plants knocked over forlornly with soil and seeds upturned. I don’t know if it was the result of a storm, or a squirrel, but I remember seeing all my hard work going down the drain, and feeling bummed. The life of those seedlings was halted. They didn’t even reach maturity.
Atleast Pyarijan reached maturity, lived a great life, where she made enormous differences to those around her for her family, her students, her community, and her country.
I hope and pray I can make a difference too.
(FYI, to learn more about Pyarijan’s story, we made a site http://www.maryamfaruqi.com. So many students, family, staff reached out to the family, as did newspapers and Media in Pakistan. Tribune featured my letter as well as an article on Pyarijan’s journey to education so I know Pakistan will miss Pyarijan! My sisters-in-law will be helping me sort through letters and post information so the site is a work in progress.)
“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction […] ” (Quran 4:78)