Thursday, June 25, 2015

Closing Doors

There is a proverb that says that if one door closes God opens another door. Well today I have made one step more towards closing a door. I have sent a message to my husband asking for a divorce. Why now? If you ask that question you haven't read my blog or know me very well. I made up my mind after many nights in prayers and asked Allah if I was making this decision lightly to provide me with guidance. I know in any faith to divorce is a biggie in the eyes of God but I know he knows what is in my heart and I did this during Ramadan so I know that Shaytan would not be figured in as a reason.
So where do I go from here? No where. I'm staying here with my daughter and my new son in law. Oh I guess many might not know what has transpired over the last year since I haven't had internet very much and when I do get out I can't remember a password or can't log on to one account or another. I finally got this one working. Well, Aieysha has been pretty lonely since her brother died and her other brother left and returned to the USA. Yes, Khadijah and Suhayl returned last year and sadly I haven't heard a peep from them since. But anyways since she was next in line to move forward in her life she chose marriage.

She had free choice in her decision and I only asked him a few questions and let her be the one to decide with who she would spend her life with. I had planned that each of my daughters marry Libyans but well when you are told that, "A good Libyan man will never marry a girl who loves dogs", well she made her choice and he's not Libyan. He is a good man and guess what he loves animals as much as she does. So she is happy.

I was working for a bit but honestly when you want to pay me half and I spend more hours at work than at home and I have no time for my responsibilities of my family well I don't need work that much. But now the problem I face is that I will have to work and I will have to make some tough decisions.

I only was left with Fatimah and when I told her my decision well she started crying. But it wasn't that her parents were getting divorced but how could she get back to the USA now and how soon. Yeah....

I sent him a message via my daughters skype account since most days calls are difficult and very expensive to call the USA so this was the best way to get the message through.

What am I going to do now? Don't know for sure i'm still waiting to see which door Allah opens for me.  For now its Ramadan and I am keeping my promise of reading the Quran each day and praying that I find guidance along the way. I have a few students that I tutor privately and I will try to keep that always as an option. Well as long as I can get to a cafe and I have a few dinars I will try to bring you slowly up to date with my life. It has been a Trip of a Lifetime and I will continue my journey alone now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nuh and His Ark

Nuh? No I didn't misspell his name. Nuh or Noah as he is known in the western world is a biblical figure most of the world is familiar with. Bet what many don't know is that we as Muslims revere him as well. Yep believe it or not he is one of our prophets too. Did you know that many faiths have a Noah figure in their histories? Most cultures have a man who took animals with his family aboard a boat and sailed off into the sunrise after a flood wiped the earth clean of all the woes of mankind. He took two of every kind of animal and his family and waited til the coast was clear then opened the doors and let animals and his family re habit the earth.  Well if you wanted the long version of the stories there are plenty of books on the subjects.

Me and the kids well most of us have always loved animals. Being my family was military most of my early life we had few animals. We were always moving and we always had to give up that pet cause it wasn't fair to the animal to be lugged across the country in a small car with screaming, crying kids. I think it just made it easier on mom. One less mouth to feed or need to go pee at the wrong time. Well after I got older I wanted animals. I remember having some bunnies and keeping them in the backyard. We even managed to get a hutch for them and the ground under it took years before I could plant anything again there. But they were just the beginning. Along came birds. I had a few fish but I went to the hospital to have Fatimah and came home to dead fish cause someone had put seashells in the water. They were from the ocean and full of salt and who knows what else and well you don't put unwashed sea shells in fresh water fish tanks. So for awhile I gave up on animals. First I feel kids should be old enough to properly care for pets. You have to have space for them was one thing dad always told us. Animals should be able to run and have clean homes and proper food. Well it took a few years and finally we started getting birds. Those who know us or read some of my older posts know we started collecting birds. Seems like once you have one even if you have males you will somehow acquire more. Some of the birds we got we bought others came to us are refugees or orphans. Owners who could no longer take care of them for one reason or another. But like the notorious cat ladies they can add up and surprise you at times then you have to either give some away or find a way to feed all those extra mouths.

Sadly we had to leave them all behind when we moved here and Taher was able to find good homes for them. But once we settled into routine here we began to feel the loneliness setting in that not having a pet does. So like Nuh and his ark we are on a new patch of ground and we don't have two of everything yet lol but we hope to find a happy ground between food supply animals and pets. Things are different here, there are no laws for animals and except for what is written in holy books people will do what they please when it comes to tending animals. Good or bad we have to adjust to things here and slowly we can show better ways to provide care. I'm not saying people don't take care of animals here. Don't misunderstand me, when someone has done something certain ways for centuries how do you tell them there is a better way. You can't but you can start by raising your own animals and letting others see the benefits of better care. So I started a new blog page called I hope to get the girls to join in and let them tell the stories of our pets and animals. See the animals through the eyes of the animals as told by us humans. The girls are good storytellers so it could be something fun. But for now its a way to document our life here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time To Set The Record Straight

I know when I first wrote the messages about my sons accident it was hard. Here it is 5 months later and it still is. But I have found out more about the accident and I want it to be on paper since much will never be known beyond stories that get passed down. So I need to put it down for future generations.

Here is what I know now: That morning we had gone into Tripoli to schedule a surgery for Aieysha and had gone with a cousin to the Shar AlZawiya hospital in Tripoli. We went downstairs and waited to see a doctor and him and my husbands cousin AbdulZag Faris sat and talked later I found out it was about him wanting to get married and looking for land for a house and what he wanted to do with his life. Aieysha and I sat in the women's waiting area so we didn't hear this conversation but he told me about it later.
We finally got done and headed back into Tajoura to drop me and Aieysha off at the house so he could go to work and have time to do some reading before his class began. He was teaching English in a school just inside the borders of town. About a 10 minute drive from here. He dropped me off and I told him to tell them he would not be there the following Wednesday because of her surgery. I don't remember if I told him I loved him. But I told him see you later. I guess he got on the phone with his cousin and headed out to the main road. I was first told that he was bumped from behind well that wasn't what happened. He headed down the road and got to the roundabout and turned west and headed into Tripoli. Its like I said a few minutes drive but speeds on that road can reach well over 70 mph. Its posted 50 but no one follows rules here. There are marked lanes but no one stays in lanes either and if its crowded well it will be 9 lanes not 4. But he was on his way. A few more minutes and he would have made the turn off the main coastal road and been off it but well guess God had his plans.
Along comes the villain of the story... I guess he was in a hurry well aren't we all. He was headed East on the opposite side of the median and was weaving in and out at high speeds like everyone else going wherever they were headed. I guess he thought he could make that squeeze between cars and well maybe if things had been different he would have, I see it enough each time we drive. Well today was not a lucky day. He clipped a car and sent it like a bullet over the median right into Suhayb. Think about it what speed does it take to make a car a heavy car fly over a median into oncoming cars and just tear through them like they were butter? I don't know I'm not into physics. You can see the pics. But it hit my car with force and I was told they rolled a few times before settling near the seaside ledge. They said he was injured in the head, and lower abdomen someone told Fatimah his legs were severed but I didn't see that in the doctors slim report of the accident. I didn't get a report like we would be use to in the USA. Nor did his father or I get to view the body. I don't even know who saw him or identified him. People stopped talking about it. So much death here people just move on. But anyways not only was Suhayb killed instantly they said but the man in the other car was cut in half they tell me he was trying to buckle or was buckled and the seat-belts tore him in half at the scene. They said the man stopped to help. Not much to do was there? Did my son take his last breath before you saw him or did he die in someones arms? Did he say his last rites? Was there time? I don't know and sometimes this haunts me. Did he see the car coming or was it so sudden that he didn't know until it happened? A police officer who was nearby at a border post said he came to the scene and saw the name Faris and called a family just up the street asked him if he knew the person. It took him a few minutes but he said oh yes they are related to me. I'm told he knows more. There is still a court case but I have no clue what is going on. Justice here is way behind. They got lots to deal with death by car accident takes a backseat to murder and finding bodies in mass graves. I was told it was quick.
 This is the little boy who asked me could he be a Prophet one day. I hope he did leave a message for all of us. Love each other while you can. Every day someone dear to someone of us passes on. What messages do they leave behind?

Another Precious Gem

This month seems like its going to be a long one. I lose an Aunt, a ex brother in law, and now a distant cousin. She died on the 18th.
Feb 17th was the anniversary of the Uprising in Libya and I went out to be part of the celebrations. I don't have the images downloaded to this comp but I will try and post some soon but I did post one on my Facebook page. I got the privilege to sit next to the mother of one of the martyrs of Tajoura during the program. She saw me sitting on the curb near her and asked a young boy to give me his seat. I kissed her on the cheek and told her thanks. She knew me I guess I am still trying to find out if she is a neighbor. I found out her name and her sons name he is a Tarhuni. We have a few families nearby with that family name. As we sat they brought to her the new photo of her son they used in the ceremonies and I asked to photograph it. I looked at the image and saw the date of his death. 10/17/2011. Yeah Suhayb's 21st birthday. I sat and cried. She had apparently came to the funeral. She seemed familiar. I hope I can one day have enough Arabic I can visit some of the people who lost family and tell you their stories. Someone needs too cause it seems like people are just numbers or someone on TV that you don't know but you heard about and forget a few days later.

Well it was like that two days ago. A cousin of mine posted a Amber Alert for a young girl missing in Missouri and said she was related. I didn't really know how but I looked and saw the father of the girl was a Barfield. I asked her if he was related and she told me yes. My mothers great grandmother is a Barfield and we found each other online just before I came to Libya. We keep in touch in those odd hours of the day or night. Being on different sides of the earth its hard to keep up with stuff going on. But anyways this little girl was snatched just right next-door to her house in broad daylight with view of a neighbor. I mean yeah people watching!! Sadly, she wasn't found in time. I don't know all the details and I will probably hear them soon enough you know how media is. But for now all I care about is this poor little girl was at the hands of a murderer of children.

I like to believe that she didn't feel much and God took her quickly. The part I am happy about is they did catch him. He is in jail but you know the system. You hope justice will prevail. If not like a few Dictators around the world lately God will be waiting for them. There is a joy in knowing they will suffer much longer. God doesn't have lawyers who can get them off on technical, his prisons are eternal torment no one to say he isn't being treated kindly there. He will get what he deserves. Little Hailey I sure wish your parents will know that one day he will serve his sentence. They say books are written and like I have said some days its not that they are gone but how they died that makes it feel so wrong when we lose someone. These are one of the days we ask God why??

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Things That Go Boom in the Night..and other horror stories we tell our children.

I'm sure many are waking to news that Libya is again in turmoil. Yes, in reality its never stopped just news moves on to bigger stories til something happens enough to turn its eye back. Is Libya safe? Why are you still there? Get back here! How do you want us to come to Libya when we see this on TV? These and many more questions i'm sure you are asking. Reality is no where is safe, no where is peaceful. This is the world we live in. Have I gone nuts? Well that is a tough one..long ago some would say.

Yesterday I watched Twitter to see what the day would bring. Fridays not much happens here since everything is pretty much shut down til after 5 pm so calls to protest the problems of rouge militias seemed to be on everyone's minds. Fatimah had stayed the night with some family and was going with them to visit their grandparents and by afternoon I was worried, had she gone anywhere near the trouble spots? We live 8 miles from the border of Tripoli so its close but far enough that most issues are just read about in the papers or online and sounds on the wind. A storm had passed over the past two days and left rain water in many areas and our trip to the local outdoor market the day before we knew the roads would be haphazard so any plan to go out meant to Tripoli and knowing that there could be road blockages kept me from even asking to go even though we need things only found in town. Later as I stood on the roof trying to get a glimpse of the skyline over Tripoli through the palms I worried about my youngest daughter and called to make sure they were safe.

I watched as a few planes came overhead one jet landing so he may have had a run over the trouble spots but he wasn't going back at least he wasn't shooting people.  I stayed on the rooftop playing with the pups and talking with Aieysha trying to keep an eye out listening for booms in the distance. Night began to fall and it gets cold quickly up there so we headed in. I then sat with my tablet and scrolled through bits and pieces being reported around Tripoli. I went to bed around 10 pm feeling overwhelming sadness at the events unfolding online. Hubby didn't want me watching the TV news. So all I could get was online.

Through the night it seems Tripoli was bombarded. This time not by its Government but by people who once stood up and protected her. Many spoke that this day was predicted long ago. Many of us spoke of Orwell's Animal Farm and how soon would that be.  Last night the PIGS tore through the other animals in the field.  Only unlike a animation in reality humans died and were maimed. These are the times when I gave up watching some movies, too many came true past two years around the world not just here. I can no longer tell my kids that is just cinema magic its not real. As I said yesterday i'm left with Zombie/Vampire movies, for now I can rest knowing they cannot rise. The booms rang out in a city just a few miles away yet we slept in silence..while the world watches in sadness at what has become of a country that fought for its freedom. There is still hope.
A new image haunts me, a young woman her head blown away...I know what is like not to see my sons face before they put him in the ground what do you tell her mother?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Pieces From The Crash

Its been a little over a month now almost 2 months really, my how time has passed. I have been to see the car and taken photos and gone past the site of the crash many times, it still doesn't seem real.  But this morning I was sitting loading some software for Quran and I realized that I will never hear his voice again, and started to cry.  I know somewhere there is video and clips of him with him chatting away like tomorrow will always be there but for now the house is silent of his voice.

A month has passed and he isn't coming home. He isn't at a friends house and he didn't go on a trip and will be back soon and slowly I have to understand and accept this. I went to see the car with Suhayl one day to look for some items that were not in the bag of things found from the car. It was daylight and full sun so there was no hidden place or darkness around to not reveal the impact of what I was seeing. A car in total devastation.  I looked around and bits and pieces lay all around the car and inside the car. Bits of electrical components smashed beyond recognition to only the pro would know what it was for. But I was looking for other bits and pieces. A lanyard that we had put state map pins on of the states we had visited when we went for his sister Rachael's wedding. Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming and I think one more but for now I can't remember what state. And the prize pin his #33 Patrick Roy hockey pin he got when he saw the Av's get the Stanley Cup. I looked everywhere in the car I knew I had put it in the glove-box but it was gone that and a set of Goalie Pad miniatures key-ring. I was looking for the car booklet that had his drivers licence and the papers for my car in it, gone. Some people will say they are trivial things, yes I know that but they held memories. I looked around the car at the devastation and I could not imagine him there. Maybe that is a good thing cause when you see the impact damage you wonder how anyone could survive. Your mind plays all those safety films you see in driver's ed class and those crash test dummy ones. Was he buckled? Probably not. He got lazy with this and I kept telling him, "Why are you learning bad habits. You know better and you should be setting the example." Would a buckle have saved him? I don't know only a safety specialist could tell me that and I don't even have a decent report from the doctors on his injuries to tell me if he could have been saved had he been buckled. This is why I keep wanting to know and talk to people who where there at the scene. Fill me in on what actually happened. I NEED to know. It won't change anything but maybe my mind and heart can move on. Its just one more piece I need to find.

Life has moved on. His father and brother Suhayl arrived a few days after the funeral and I remember their arrival. They didn't come with a blare of horns common to arrival of people from a trip but to the silent shutting of car doors and small soft voices saying they are here. His sisters crowded ahead of me and the girls and gave their hugs. I finally saw my husband after almost 10 months and I could not even cry and hold him or my son. It was a brief hug and let them in so they can come inside and talk a bit then come upstairs and rest its been a long trip and 23 hours layover for them just to get here.
Weeks have melted now and we have shed tears, talked and discussed many things but there is still a hole in our lives. A few weeks back we went to look at land for purchase. See just the night before I was sitting with him planning house designs trying to decide how much land we needed for our dream houses. As I surveyed the land I stood and cried. My husbands cousin asked why I was crying. I told him, "My son, this was for him and his brother and sisters. What use is this to us if we have no one to share this with?" My daughters will marry they will move to their husbands homes and build their lives in other places. Suhayl doesn't want to live here so what do I need for him a flat is enough for him. So who am I buying this for?  He told me that morning of the crash as we waited to see the doctors for Aieysha he and Suhayb talked about homes and designs. He told me Suhayb wanted to study Architecture and design his own home. He was finally settling down and planning a future.

So here we are two months down the line. Not much has changed and for awhile much won't. But it seems like I keep trying to find bit and pieces to put together the puzzle and I keep asking God what plan does he have for me that he needed my son to be taken from me? I'm in dispute with family on my husband leaving us here while he returns to the USA to finalized our life there and in reality everyone seems to think they have the solution when they have no clue. In a Middle Eastern world women don't do well without men regardless of the age of the man we seem to need them. Yeah send my 7 yr old for bread cause you know its safe to do that here while back in the USA he could not walk down the street to the local market without raising a few eyebrows. Maybe that small southern town people live in or if the store is next door or across the street but not like here walk about a mile stand in line with other men chatting away while they wait their turn for filling their bread baskets.

Now our only solution is to ask Suhayl to stay behind a bit, give up a semester of schooling for helping his mother and father settle in a land that he doesn't want to even be in. Khadijah still asked to go back and we are considering it. I know the reality of things and I for now don't want to even think of the possibilities but it seems like God has his plans. Is tearing my family apart one of them? Is this what we were destined for? Contrary to news life here is safe and secure at least so far. Let me say its just as safe as anywhere when God said its your time.

The other day we went to a farm with a local family to take some quiet and rest. The wife and I walked around the property looking at the fruit trees she had planted and looking for her chickens and she asked me,"Did Suhayb ask you not to cry when he died?" I told her yes. It is something we all believe. Did not Sidi Omar Muktar say to us "From God we come to him we must return?" So if God gives us then its his right to take us is it not? So why do we cry for someone who has died? Has he or she not returned to his father his creator? We only borrow them for awhile. I don't cry for them I cry for those left behind who must live without them. I think she understood. My only regret was not having time to see if he would have been compatible for a transplant to help his sister. That weights heavy on my mind some-days and hers too. Maybe with time Libya will start donor registration and give life a chance to others. I still want to do something useful here. People keep saying do this or do that but what I still think God is waiting for something more important from me. For now all I can do is keep looking for those bits and pieces and trying to fit them back into what was my life. Its not a puzzle that can be tossed away because you lost pieces, you have to cut an fit new ones to fill it in.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Death Comes Knocking

I pray that this is the last sad post that I write but I know I will have to deal with it if its not. People say writing is healing. Writing helps us move forward, lets us express our grief so we can heal and mend wounds. I don't know if I'm even to acceptance yet. They said in my Psychology courses in College that there are steps to grief we must go through in order to heal. I know them well. But as I write this I wonder myself have I even begun to go through them? When Death Knocks do you just not answer the door?

Step 1 Shock and Denial.....I don't feel shocked, and I can admit what has happened, so have I moved past it?
Step 2 Pain and Guilt... My heart feels little pain yet, maybe its too soon. Guilt? Why Guilt I didn't cause it and I'm not a survivor of the accident so how can I feel guilt?
Step 3 Anger and Bargaining.... I'm not angry at anyone. It was a pure accident as far as I'm told. Bargaining? Who do I bargain with? GOD? The doctors? The man who caused the accident? His family? Tell me who?  What kind of deal can I strike but with the devil to bring back a life lost? Only God has that power over life.
Step 4  Depression, Reflection, Loneliness.... Reflection yes I see a bit of reflection and more to come in the weeks that follow I got his birthday soon. Weddings and grandchildren who will never know their uncle Suhayb except for a photo on the wall and some stories their mom or dad or grandparents tell them. Maybe I'm at this step but I'm not depressed or lonely.
Step 5 Upward moves on...well yeah I need that step. I'm already worried how I will manage here while my husband returns to the states and my only other son returns with him to continue his studies. Leaving me with three daughters and a house full of pets to deal with. Carry my own water-bottles.  Take out the trash myself, get someone to take me to town since I won't drive that far yet and remember I don't have a car now so I'm back to walking again.
Step 6  Reconstruction....seems like a term for building a house not a life...but I know what it means. Filling in the blanks where my son use to be. For now that is me and my other son and my husband.. they are their own persons and can never fill his place but I can move forward. How do you replace a child? I'm too old to have another as many would suggest after the loss of a child.
Step 7 Acceptance and Hope....I feel like this is where I went from zero to 7 in a few seconds...

I remember a neighbor who had a son the same age as Suhayb. He was born with severe birth defects and from the first moments of life they were told to plan his funeral. He would not live long. Over the coming months and years the coffin they would need grew bigger. More and more problems arose and finally one day he was taken home. I remember that day so vividly.. He had been sick the past few days and again was bedridden. He could not go to school many times due to his frail health and conditions. He had asked his mom to call us and ask Suhayb to come over to play with him and Suhayb said momma I can't I just can't see him today momma. I told him I would not make him do something he didn't feel good about but to know that his friend was missing him too. See when they were little it was one thing to be around a frail kid but now he was older they were in the 5th grade and he had friends who could run and play soccer and play at the park and go places not sit in a room playing a computer game while others could run outside. He didn't want to be with the sick kid. As a mom I understood his anguish.
The next day I saw his little sister playing outside our front door and I asked her how he was. Her reply haunts me to this day. "Oh he died". And she ran off playing with the other kids.
I grabbed up the phone and called my neighbor and said how can I ask this but your daughter just told me your son died last night. She confirmed it and I hung up and cried. Suhayb came in and saw me crying and asked me why I was crying. I told him what had happened and it hit him hard. He was upset that he could not take back that day and go and play with him again. I told him we can't undo what is done we can only move forward and to live the life for him that he was denied. Suhayb did that....
So I ask his friends who read this to live the life he was denied. Move past the loss and grief and live the life you are given. We never know when it will be our last day.

Two days ago the family of the man who caused the accident came to the house with the papers to allow his release. I guess we both have to sign them. I have no clue what they said. I wrote my name and gave a thumbprint as proof. Life seems to easy here. How many years would we have had to deal with lawyers and judges and insurance agencies had this happened back in the states? My husband's accident took four years just to heal the insurance wrote us off after the first year. 100 thousand dollars on medical alone.
I'm told their is reimbursement for the loss of the car. It was new three years ago. Not even one year in Libya and its done for. 7 months waiting for our drivers license and we got a month out of them and his is now laying in a bag at our relatives house. I have yet to get our things from the car. I have yet to even see my car.
Writing this I feel unconnected, like its someone else's life I'm writing about. Through the war I remember looking at all those dead young people and thinking what if this is how someone sees their loved one for the last time? A photo posted online for the world to see when they don't even know they were dead there out somewhere a photo of the accident or my son on someone's camera? If so I wish I could know so I could have a copy cause I don't believe he is gone...he is at work, at the store, somewhere with friends.
As I type this a small kitten is playing at my lap. While at my Sister in Laws house the other day she showed my daughter a kitten they had found. Its around two weeks old and a boy. His mother is dead they said and in the field near their house we could hear another kitten crying but we could not see it or get to it. A large owl flew over shortly after maybe the owl found him we didn't hear it cry later on. We are tending him until we can find a home for him. He is ravished as we feed him as best we can with a syringe. He is a fighter. Life moves on...I just need to move with it.
Internet is back so I will try to post as I can a few more bits and details but its late and I need some sleep. The kitten will be hungry soon again and morning comes early here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Observations of Life

Since we came all I have done is to watch and try to learn about the customs and traditions that the people of Libya share. As you can read from my other posts I haven't had much for explanations of them and had to feel my way through many things here. Yesterday was no exception.

Sitting here its 2:30 in the morning and like yesterday I didn't sleep very long. Its normal under the circumstances and I know I should go back to bed but instead I'm writing down my thoughts so that one day I can look back and see the words that I have written and it will be a way to heal over some event. Until I came to Libya I could count the number of funerals I had been too in my life on one hand. Ones that I was somehow involved in the preparation or planning of or closely connected to the one now deceased.

I don't care what anyone says there is no way to prepare yourself for the burial of your child. Over the past two years I have seen so much and heard so much about women losing their sons and daughters not knowing where they are or what happened to them or seeing images of horribly disfigured or disturbing images of people torn asunder.

If someone told me even last week that I would be sitting here now a week later with my first born son now laying in the ground just a few miles from a home we took a lifetime to come to and wondering if I made the mistake in thinking things were better somewhere else, I would have laughed them off and told them only God knows these things.

So now I guess like other women here i'm versed in Burial 101 crash course.

Two days ago I was sitting at a hospital waiting to find out if we were getting a needed surgery for my daughter and chatting away with a cousin of my husbands who offered to help us with the task of talking to medical persons if we needed someone to translate for us. Had I known what that day entailed, I would NEVER have let my son out of my eyes. I would have taken the keys away from him, called his work and said today he is not coming. But as I said yesterday, no one lets us read that book. I have read a million books in my life but this is one that is never published, never made into a movie, never rewritten and never can be returned or exchanged for full refund.

I woke after a short sleep, it didn't take long before we were being asked when where we coming down to join the family in mourning to sit and wait to greet guests and be the grieving mother or daughter or sister or wife.  Seems as if they take the role of mother and women lightly here. No one has asked me what I wanted to do, there is no song that was his favorite to be played at a eulogy or list of people to invite, no request for clothes to be worn to be laid to rest in. No we are much more simple than that here and in all Muslim Countries. Here there is the shroud and that is all. Although I have been close to some of the people who I have attended funerals for until now none have been much concern of mine.

I was told shortly around noon that they would bury my son by the afternoon. What where is my say in this? Your telling me that your insisting that my husband and son come to be here with me while I mourn but for the logic of a country and a culture that says for every day a body is out of the ground it cannot be cast into the next world and it will soon have the ravages of the heat and humidity to decay the people we love.

I was angry why are you telling me you are burying him today when if you wait a day or so his father will be here and his brother and they need to say goodbye. I know I know there are many women and parents out there who don't even know where their son is buried or if he is even dead for sure. Just a few days ago they buried two men found in a freezer in the compound of G with many others who had been dead for over 30 years. They were finally identified and laid to rest in a funeral fitting of the community that now seeks to bring them closure.

Anyway, they told me that my husband had said go ahead when they can release the body and bury him regardless if I am there or not. NO I had to say good bye. I had to have closure. I wanted to see my son one last time before they laid him in the ground according to Islamic Customs wrapped in a white linen and lay on his side to face Mecca and the face of Allah in the day of Judgement.

All day long I shook hands of women many new faces and many I knew to be family but still learning how they are connected to my husband.  They were watching me. Was I going to go berserk and make a fool of myself? Was his sisters going to faint with loss and sorrow and cry and pull out their hair in agony? NO, I taught my kids better. I at least hoped I could be half of the woman I had seen examples of over the past two years. Mothers gently kissing the head of their children or spouses and saying a last goodbye.

My girls i'm proud of them they held up. And they begged others to stop crying and hold onto memories of a young life cut short. Half the day odd thoughts ran through my mind, I need his last paycheck, where is this or that that was in the car? I'm cleaning up his room even though he did a great job the day before I have to make sure if people come to pay respect that my house is tidy. I gathered up his laundry, made his bed, put all the things by his bedside in a suitcase to deal with later. I grabbed up his blanket, there was no smell of my son on it and I sat for a moment crying into it wishing it was him I was holding not the blanket.  I gathered his clothes what do I do with them? That lovely Thobe we just bought for him hangs on the wall hook, pants are somewhere, there lies the box it came in. I will ask someone to have it cleaned and pressed an put it back in the box and take it and put it away, maybe his brother can wear it....He can't wear it again. His shoes are by the doorway downstairs where he always leaves them upon entering the house, now i gather them up and take them to the shoe rack up on our level.  His half a bag of Cheetos chips that he begged me to remember to get out of the car the night before lying on the couch, do I throw them away or hand them to someone to eat. No, I put them on his bed with his glasses....where is the other pair? He should have been wearing them. Somewhere in the car or on the road ran over by many other cars..I don't know I will have to ask.

I have yet to see the car they don't want me to see it. But last night I was talking to a young man online about accidents and how we need to begin to educate others on the risks of driving here. Do I offer my car as testament to a lost life in a moment of rush? I don't know I will talk to others.

So when will you take my son on his final journey? They haven't released his body yet I am told. So much is being kept from me I'm uncomfortable being left out but I know they are doing what they feel is in my best interest. You could not help me shop for food or get a bottle of water but you can take over and bury my son without a comment to how I feel...

The day is moving slowly, we ate some breakfast, I know I have to keep doing what must be done, for my health and the welfare of my other kids I have to take care of myself and them. I know I have helpers but I have to keep functioning.  Breathe deeply meditate it will help me settle my mind.

They are washing his body. What I'm his mother should I not be doing that? Guess not there are men for that but not one is his father or his brother. I know they loved him too.  Come here Faiszah, Sit here Faiszah, Shake another hand, listen to words I have no idea what they are saying to me. I know its words of kindness and faith. But its not in my language, this is all foreign to me, why today do you tell me what it means help me say the words.... I wish I had learned them before I ever needed I stumble over them. It doesn't matter if I say it correctly.  They understand I'm a grieving mother. Its natural.

Where are the girls is anyone sitting with them. Come on girls we have to go downstairs now your brother is coming soon and prayer is soon and they want us downstairs. Sit here go here say this say that....hug, cry say its ok I will get past this day.  The wails begin...women sitting outside see his body being brought in. Men are trying to be gentle and place him down where I can say goodbye. Where is his mother there are ladies all around the coffin. I'm here, is this his head here? My Brother in Law is pulling back the cover. There is a cloth mummy inside. NO that is my baby. I can't do this. Where is my moment alone with my son? Where are his sisters among all these people? I look up I see someone holding Aieysha, another holding Fatimah. Where is Khadijah....she is there. His aunts, his grandmother all are there among all these women who came to say goodbye to a young man they have only known for a brief time.

I want to see my son's face. Why can't you let me see his face. I don't want to see the cotton stuffed in the mouth and nostrils. I don't want to only see his chin.  This cold skin is not my sons. His beard is sharp in my hand. He was saying the other day how he was trying to grow it out. I told him all the cutting you want it will not get better. This is what my baby face boy got. It will never be shaved again. I look into this covered bundle I can't see his face. I want to see his eyes. 24 years ago you gave him to me and he looked at me with those eyes and now they will never look at me again. NO where are you going? I;m not done yet, I don't care about anyone else now this is my last time I will see my son on this earth. Why are you taking him so soon. His face is cold, I love you baby...I'm sorry OH GOD IM SORRY....he is gone they have taken him away. People are telling me its ok..'NO its not ok. I didn;t get to say goodbye/ How was that long enough??? A minute! You give me a minute in a room full of people to say goodbye to my son. He is gone....this is death here...It is over in a minute.  It took longer to have him than it did for you to take him from me.

The Book That is Written

Islam says that in the fourth month of fetal development the angels come down and a book is written for that child. In that book is their life, how long they will live, their hopes, dreams and all the life they will lead while their on earth. This is a book we all have but we will never see it or read it. It is written by the hand of Allah and his angels.

As a mother when we reach that month we know that is when we will hear their heartbeat for the first time and soon after we will feel the first of many kicks and jabs to come. We sit caressing our bellies and dream of the small body that awaits our arms. We dream of their life and how we will guide them.

When the doctors and nurses hand us that small child we are filled with an undying love for that child and we happily move forward in our lives with that new life forever part of ours.

Some books are long and full of many adventures, some are short and full of sorrow for those who will be left behind to wonder why so soon. We don't know why and no religion can ever tell a parent while you take a child before them. Why a child will suffer and die while a parent must move on without them.

Such is the book that today ends with the death of my son Suhayb ATaher Faris. Born on Oct 17, 1989 at 5:30 pm just as California was having one of the largest earthquakes on record.

My son and daughter Aieysha had just returned home from a trip to the doctors in Tripoli to schedule a surgery for her to get her gallbladder removed. He was saying he would go to work and let them know he might be out tomorrow as well as we had to come back again the next day for more labs and reviews of her medical condition.

He told me see you later and I told him after he got off work we would go and get meat for the next meal and then figure out some lunch.

No one ever tells you when the last page in your book is reached. He got not more than two miles from our house and his life was cut short. His book wrote its last paragraph.  The End is on the bottom of the page.

My son was heading into the round about at the ocean front and slowed to meet oncoming traffic is what I was told. A car didn't stop and rammed him and he lost control of the car and went over the median and into oncoming cars. I don't know much more yet. I haven't seen him. I won't for a few more days til my husband who I haven't seen in over 10 months comes and we bury our son. Just a few feet from where he died.

I am told that a man in the other car was torn apart by the impact. They told me I don't want to see my son. What mother does but cannot go without saying goodbye to her child. One who she nursed til young adult and was sitting just days ago planning a dream home with him that included land for him and his brother to build their homes and bring wives an children into our lives. There will be no wedding, no house, no grandchildren of my son. Only a memory in the faces and pictures and movies an memories we leave behind.

It is not the ones who die that suffer, It is the ones who are left behind who will feel the burden of this world. The young man who rammed his car, the family of the other man who lost his life as well. The many young men and family whose lives my son touched in his lifetime.

That is the sum of a life well lived is who is there to grieve when you have passed on and the thoughts and prayers that they offer for you and your family who will always have a missing part of them.

My son I can never hold you again, but you will always be with me. I love you.  Momma