Ah Ya Alby (Oh…My Heart Really, Really Hurts)

In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

The song has a doubly special significance for me. It is called Ah Ya Alby, which is colloquial Egyptian Arabic for “Ow, my broken heart,” by popular Egyptian singer Hakim. It is conveying the pain that the song narrator feels in his heart after being spurned by his love interest. No, thanks be to the Lord, I was not spurned by my wife.

We used to play this song often in our old house (when my late daughter was still alive). Listening to this song brings back those wonderful memories: sitting in our basement, dancing with my daughter and enjoying quality time with her. It brings back the scenes of happiness and joy that we all had as a family. When I listen to this song, I can even remember the paint color on the walls of the basement and even the smell of the carpet and wood. Thinking back to those days, it brings me so much happiness.

And that happiness, many times, quickly turns to sadness and pain.

When I hear Hakim sing “Ah ya alby,” I can hear and feel the pain in his voice, and it goes straight to my heart. Because, just as the song narrator is moaning in pain from his broken heart, my heart is frequently causing me tremendous pain. Frequently, I moan (silently) from the horrific pain in my heart from the loss of my child. Frequently, I even grab my chest, in a futile effort to try to ease the gnawing ache that this loss has left in my soul. As I listen to this song, many times I look to the sky and say, “Ah ya alby, ya rab,” which means, “My Lord, my heart really, really hurts.”

Yes, it has gotten a little easier since that black, yet sunny, day in June 2009. Yes, the Lord has blessed us with many happy times since that horrific day. Yes, I have been able to smile so many times since that day. But, the pain is always there. The loss is always near in my mind. I have never been – and will never be – the same since I watched my daughter die, and its mark will always be visible on my heart and soul.

And so, many times, I look to my Precious Beloved and say, “Ah ya alby, ya rab.” (Lord, my heart really, really hurts)

Although it pains me to hear the song, I nevertheless listen to it again, and again, and again. It brings me closer to my daughter, because, as I listen to the song, I am brought back to that basement of mine, where we would dance and laugh together. Although it hurts so very much to realize that my daughter is gone forever, the memory of those days does bring me comfort at the same time. And when I complain to my Precious that my heart hurts, it brings me even closer to Him as well, and that can never be a bad thing.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my daughter; remember her beautiful brown eyes; think back to the “happy days,” as my wife and I call them, when she was healthy, happy, and alive with us. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember how much I miss my daughter and how painful her death has been on my wife and me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t say – even if I don’t actually utter the words – “my heart really hurts, my Lord.” I still cry over her, almost every single day.

Yet, I am hopeful that the Lord will give me many, many more days of happiness and joy in the years to come. I know He will always show me His Beautiful Face throughout my life. And I pray that my Precious Beloved’s soothing comfort and mercy will pour all over me every time I tell Him, “Ah ya alby, ya rab”; “Lord, my heart really, really hurts.” For, with His mercy and comfort, I will truly be lost for the rest of my days.


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