In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving
June has proven to be a month of tremendous tragedy. Today, I attended the funeral and memorial service for another child: Adam Wisam Mahmoud. He was less than five years old, and suffered from Hunter Syndrome, another rare disease. He received a bone marrow transplant in an effort to improve the disease, but unfortunately suffered complications – like Bayan did – of the immune suppression after the transplant. He passed away on June 24.
Everything with Bayan came crashing back. His grave, in fact, is almost immediately next to my daughter’s grave. All the pain, still ever present, came back more strongly. But, today, our role was to support Adam’s parents. My wife and I were happy to be there for his parents. Yes, people can be sympathetic; they can have a sad face and a heavy heart; they can even shed a tear. But, no one – no one – will ever understand the pain of losing a child except a parent who has gone through it. It is an indescribable torment I would not wish on my worst enemy.
My wife and I were so happy that we were able to help him and his wife: to comfort them, try to tell them that it will be OK, to give them some medical advice, especially in the last, terrible, and painful moments in the hospital. But, best of all, I was so happy just to hold Dad’s hand – as someone held my hand – as they poured dirt over the casket of his son.
The emotion of that moment came back for me, and my eyes welled up with tears as I remembered the dirt that was being poured over the white casket of my daughter not three weeks before hand. I cannot describe the torture, pain, and torment of watching people take shovels and put earth upon your child. I know that we are all earth and to it we shall return. But, it was so difficult to stand there, above my daughter’s grave, and watch the dirt fall, and fall, and fall, and fall.
It also reminded me of the time when people will put dirt over me. I hope and pray that I will have lived a good life, one spent in the love of God, one spent in piety and faith in God, one spent doing good for Him and His people. I hope and pray that, when it comes time to put dirt on my casket, there will be people praying for my forgiveness, mercy, and entrance into Paradise. I hope and pray that, when it comes time to bury me, I will have been successful in both worldly and other-worldly terms.
But, again, I was most happy to be able to hold Wisam’s hand (Adam’s dad) and tell him to “let it all out,” because of everything that people did to me on the day my daughter was buried, of all the kind words and shows of mercy and support, the thing I will never forget is the hand that was extended to me and held my own. And I will never forget the person who held my hand, as long as I live on this earth. I pray God blesses him with an eternity of peace, blessing, and happiness in this life and the next.
As they put dirt over Adam’s casket, I held his father’s hand and told him that it’s OK. He told me that “it still stings.” And he was absolutely right. It still stings. It will always sting, like a fresh wound stings when you rub it with alcohol. The pain I feel over the passing of my daughter will never fully go away; in fact, just yesterday, I drove past a Long John Silver’s restaurant and was overcome with emotion: she always loved their hushpuppies, and I would drive 20 miles to get her some. It is a war wound, one that I will endure for the rest of my life. It will get better, but it will never fully go away.
And I cannot help but mention the deaths of Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, which both occurred today. As I remember Mr. Jackson, I cannot help but think how much his music touched the lives of millions of people across the world. My first music album, in fact, was Thriller, back when LPs were still sold. It was my 9th birthday gift, and I still remember the thrill of opening up the record and playing it for the first time. I was a huge Michael Jackson fan.
And, for the most part, his music was inspirational and uplifting, very rarely sexual and debasing. The legacy of his musical work will last for many, many generations to come, and it is the mark of a true musical master. And I know – unfortunately – what kind of pain Mr. Jackson’s parents must be feeling right now. My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to them and the rest of the Jackson family during this difficult time.
My daughter, on a much smaller scale, touched the lives of many people as well. It is my hope and prayer that I can do the same during my life.