Yesterday was the 3rd of January. The clouds were threatening most of the morning and finally, by lunch, it started raining. The 3rd of January last year started much the same way. That was the day my dad passed away.
January 3, 2007 It was the most surreal day I had ever experienced, from the moment I woke up at 2:45 am to find that my dad had passed on to the moment he was laid to rest, at around 3:30pm.
I had been afraid it was going to start raining but after the janaza prayers at the mosque, the prayers that are performed for a person who has passed away, the clouds opened up and the sun literally started shining down as my dad’s casket was put into the hearse. I know, I know, it looks like I’m trying to paint a pretty picture, but that’s what happened. We all then followed the hearse to the Muslim cemetery in Livermore with our orange FUNERAL stickers stuck to our windshields and our headlights turned on, procedure for following a funeral procession.
My dad (or as I called him, “Abu”) was bedridden his last 3 months so we all spent time sitting and talking with him. As he realized the end was coming, he told us his regrets in life. One time, he was really upset with himself – he didn’t think he amounted to much in life and thought of himself as a failure. This was completely untrue but it was hard trying to convince him otherwise. “Look Abu,” I finally told him, “you helped raise 4 mostly sane kids and none of us have any weird piercings or tattoos. That’s got to mean something.” He laughed at that. Hopefully by all of us being there for him, we were finally able to convince him that he meant something.
I used the following picture in the slideshow my brother’s wedding reception last week. It’s from my sister’s wedding reception on December 29, 2002 and it’s the last one of all of us together:
Clockwise from left: Me, my dad Hasan, my mom Surayya, my brother, my little sister, my older Aaisha, and my brother-in-law.
Take care Abu. It’s been a really weird year without you.