On Wednesday, at 4:30am local time, my aunty Aisha passed away. Although not my biological aunt, she was very much an aunty to me growing up. I went to see her family and got there after the funeral - in Islam people are buried very quickly. The reason for this is that we believe that the dead start to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the after-life before Judgement day when they are buried, so we want to hasten them to that restful peace.
I didn't realise that losing aunty Aisha would hit me the way it has. I think part of it is that I've never really lost anyone before that I was really close to or was such a big part of my life as a child. Because my extended family were so far away when I was growing up (Ireland and Algeria), my true aunties and uncles were my parents' friends. Aunty Aisha was a huge part of that. I used to go stay over with her and she'd come over and stay with us, and for a good couple of years or so we all used to meet up every single weekend. She really was an aunty to me.
Another thing that makes it so hard is that I keep think about the last time I got to see her on the Friday before she died. Thank God, we both got a chance to say our goodbyes, and the last things she ever said to me were: To not forget her, to tell her son about her, that she was glad to have got to see me grow up and to make the most of my life.
Just thinking about that makes me cry.
The feeling of loss really took me by surprise. Although I've only seen her a handful of times over the last 9 years, I always knew that she was there. And the fact that she isn't anymore is just so hard. Her smile, her voice, her look when people said things that were a bit silly (really, it'd crack anyone up!), her outlook on life, her cheerfulness. It's all gone.
I'm pretty sure that soon enough, the hurting will stop, and I'll be able to just remember all the good times.
But one thing I know for sure: I will never forget her, I will tell her son about all my memories of her and I will make the most of the rest of my life, God willing.
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