I died an hour ago. It was crucial, but not because of what I was going through… No, I was hopeful of a good eternal life. It was very painful watching my only son sitting beside my deathbed, crying quietly and discreetly. It was excruciating feeling my mother’s sobs as she clutched me to her chest. It was pure agony watching my husband’s blank face. He was not crying, he was not showing grief, he was just staring at me. Silently, hauntingly, intently, as if willing me to stay. And when I took my last breath, he nodded at me.… Giving me permission to go, assuring me that he would take care of everything and everyone that I was leaving behind, promising me that he would be fine.
Now I was being covered in white from head to toe, after being given my final bath. A tear landed on my shoulder as my husband lifted up the white covers for one last look. He had promised me he would be brave. I had told him exactly how I wanted my funeral to be… “Hold a very small funeral, but make sure there are many at the final prayer… Don’t let anyone cry very loudly, and don’t wait more than 2 hours to bury me”. He had listened very quietly. I knew it was exceedingly painful for him, but he needed to hear this. He needed to be ready. He had to stay strong for the rest of the family. I had also asked him to make sure my assets are divided fairly.. I had always hated family feuds over assets and estate.
My biggest worry before death was my son. He was everything a mother would dream of. But he had refused to talk to me about my death. He didn’t want to accept it. And right now… I could see him in his room, sitting in a corner, all guards down… He looked devastated. Face tear-stained, knuckles white, jaws clenched, hair messed up. My dear boy… Just two days ago he had brought me a journal and a pencil. “Ma, write in this about your days. You’ll laugh about your worries when all this is over and you’re well again”, he said, hope exuding from his words. My heart ached for his innocence and inevitable despair. He had tough years ahead of him, but I know he would be okay. He would go on to become a good man. He would make me proud.
Then I saw my mother again. She hadn’t left my side since an hour before my death. She was strong, but she hadn’t stopped crying since then. The room was cold and she was shivering but she refused to move. She had been by my side every step before I died, and she was beside me now. But she couldn’t accompany me any further… She had told me a week earlier that she couldn’t believe that her youngest was dying before all, before herself! She had given me strength to bear with life and looking at her now, I felt as if I had drained her of all of it. She looked frail, defeated, and so vulnerable.
The door opened and my husband came in, followed by my dear son. He told mother gravely, that it was time for the funeral prayers and then the burial. She looked at him desperately, and then at me longingly. Then she said a prayer for me as she always did when I would go out, and gestured for him to take me away.
There were no tears then, just prayers. A while later, I was being lowered into my grave. I felt dirt fall on my coffin. And then I remembered; I was dead. You only die once. And so, I returned to God, as was inevitable and foretold.
~By Moniba Mehboob.