Self destruction

Lately it seemed like she was on a path to destroy herself. To her, it felt like nothing really mattered, but the moment she was in. She had never been the reckless type. Every decision was thought over, every move calculated; the pros and cons measured. But she had changed. In retrospect, her actions frightened her. She didn’t recognise her responses as her own.

Years ago she has always admired people with guts. People who were forever ready, waiting to take the plunge. It seemed she had morphed into someone who no longer cared about the consequences till days after- when her mind had slowly had time to process that whirl wind of thoughts. That’s when guilt began to settle in. She knew she had to re-gain control, before she caused herself irreparable damage.But this path of self-destruction seemed like such an easy escape.. at least for the moment.

nadia nawaz

Advertisements

2015 and the loss of someone special

6a00d83451b36c69e2017d3d89a26a970c-800wi

Disbelief, followed by complete denial and then shock; a wave of these feelings overtook me. My eyes burned as I willed myself not to cry “Nadia.. He’s gone”. The words echoed in my head over and over. But why so soon? And how so suddenly? He was supposed to be there to watch me get married and have kids. My mind began to yell questions but my mouth remained tightly shut. My eyes met my sisters and just like that we both knew as a steady stream of tears began to fall uncontrollably. Thirty days in and I still can’t begin to fully fathom the loss of my grandfather. The way my world stood still on that night of new year..

It was January the first and I had just come home from work. I received a call from my cousin as I was getting undressed. Her voice was frantic. Give your mum the phone. Nanajee (granddad) is having a heart attack. My mind went numb. I raced down the stairs screaming for my mother as I tried my best to shun all possible thoughts. Dinner was left untouched as my brother drove my parents over. That hour of waiting was one of the longest hours of my life.. A month later yet that day is etched into my memory like it was just yesterday. I cannot forget the look on his lifeless face as the medic’s stood by, finally giving up on their resuscitation attempts. I remember watching my mother kiss his forehead. The pain, the tears the cries in the room. A blur of activities; the ambulance, the flashing police lights, and the family friends who came in that same night, holding us while we grieved. The shock began to settle in..

A prolonged week of complications and uncertainty as we waited for the cause of death to be determined, followed by the funeral. It was an overcast day and the rain fell hard as we drove over to the mosque for funeral prayers. Sleep had eluded me for the past week as the thought of seeing him one last time dawned on me. I couldn’t let him go.. Not so soon.
As soon as I stepped inside and saw the brown box of his coffin, the feelings flooded back. I remember the mahogany colour of the wooden coffin, the golden latch and how the entire thing was draped in a green cloth, embroidered with golden Arabic verses..Details, I remember thinking, I can’t let myself ever forget. It was actually happening. He was moving on and leaving us behind…

I held back my tears long enough for the coffin lid to be lifted. I watched my father, grim-faced and moist eyed as he held my mother while she cried. Her pain was deep and etched into her eyes. As I saw my youngest sister stand up and go towards my mother, memories of my paternal grandmother flooded my mind. My beautiful daadi with her piercing grey eyes and warm hugs. I remember being the same age as my sister when I lost her, my first ever funeral.

It took me a long time to muster the courage to walk up to my grandfather’s coffin one last time. I held hands with my sisters and cousin. As soon as I laid eyes on his face, I was overcome by a loss so deep it felt as though the air had been sucked right out of me. I turned and buried my head in the closest available embrace, an aunty I had never seen before. She whispered words of comfort as I poured my heart out.

I received hugs and condolences from well wishers I hardly recognised. The mosque rooms were full. Soon it was time to take him to his final resting place. The clouds suddenly parted and I noticed the way the sun fell on his face. He looked so peaceful and distant lying there. The pain had finally left him. My brother, father and uncles closed the lid and pushed the coffin out of the room. Once again, we all broke down as the reality of the situation hit us anew.

We stood in prayer then, and I realised it was the first time I was offering a funeral prayer in congregation . People had travelled from across the city to pay their respects. I marvelled at the position my grandfather had held in the community. After we prayed, his friends and co-workers gave beautiful speeches about the role my grandfather had played, his effort as counsellor, his time as deputy mayor and the lives he had affected. Standing there, collectively mourning with strangers I had never before met, I felt blessed to have been such a close part of his life.

Just twelve months ago we celebrated his 81st birthday.. He had gathered us all and made a speech about how lucky he was to have us by his side, to have met two of his great grand sons. Thirty days since he’s gone and I still can’t make myself re-watch that video.

That’s the thing about loss. It’s so hard to describe. Only someone who has been through the ordeal of losing a loved one can truly understand and fathom the amount of devastation a person goes through. How your world is rocked from the very core. How things fails to excite you and mundane issues seem so ridiculously unnecessary.
Day’s pass and life slowly begins to go back to normal. You begin to smile again, laugh even. But then unexpectedly in the middle of a crowd you become overwhelmed by sorrow.The feeling of loss permeates your being and settles inside you. Always there, lurking just under the surface ready to drown you without a second’s warning.

autumngraveyard

Footnote:  This has been one of the hardest posts I have ever written to date. Despite being such a private person, I chose to share this as a tribute to the amazing person my grandfather was as well as a source through which I can cherish his memory and remember that day. Nanajee,I miss you with all my heart.


nadia nawaz

All of you

smoke_texture2788

The ghost of my past lingers around me like the dense smoke I exhale, the shisha pipe clutched between my fingers.

The air is thick and clouded, a mist of vapour saturating it as with each breath I unfold a sequence of vivid of memories, unlocking the shadow of guilt which refuses to leave my side.

The shadow I always see in the green greying depths of your beautiful eyes..
In the clever formation of your words my mind interprets so radically..
In the dark of the night as I walk alone.

Shadows of the ghost, waiting for me to yield to their persistent nagging, always refusing to acknowledge my resolve.

How can they understand that I regret you, your very existence.. All of you.

nadia nawaz

A moment in time..

happy-couple-on-the-beach-at-sunset-600x375

In the darkest hour of the night he lay awake staring into the silence that enveloped him. His thoughts carried him to a place far away as his ears became accustomed to the sound of his rhythmic breathing. For him life was at a stand still, a moment in time where he lay captive. As the days dragged on and the seconds ticked by, he remained a constant in the whirl wind of activities that surrounded him. No matter how hard he tried or what he busied himself in, his mind somehow always found her.

Her… He closed his eyes as once again the very thought of her took his mind through a dizzying blur of entwining memories. Overtime she had consumed him becoming a non-detachable part of his soul making him acutely aware of his own deficiencies, as he bettered himself in a bid to win her.
As the days melted into weeks he all but drifted through, aware of the seasons as they came and went but no longer caring.

Consumed by these thoughts of her, he felt his eye lids become heavy with sleep as his dreams clouded his thoughts and he melted away into a place where they walked as one.

nadia nawaz

Endless summer nights

into-the-darkness-t

In the dead silent of the night, her recollections created a web of frayed images inside her head and words poured out of her effortlessly. The stillness and loneliness of the darkness engulfed her within its vastness, wrapping itself around her in a mercilessly tight grip.

Her thoughts soared and receded unwilling to settle at a comfortable hum inside her head. Her mind clouded over and she felt himself drown, lost within the suffocating sweetness of the moment. Throughout it all one steady noise reverberated across her ears. The thud of her agitated heart as it continued to steadily beat to its own rhythm never once failing her.

Nadia Nawaz

Confined

bench-park-fallen-leaves-autumn-trees-nature

From the moment the words left his lips, she began to doubt him. With every fragment of her being and from the very core of her existence, she refused to believe that what he said could be real. But no matter how much she tried, she could not escape the unmistakable reflection of truth in his eyes.

His words all but brushed over her but the intense pull of his eyes continued to hold her captive.

They portrayed the essence of his feelings; the agony, the love, the yearning, the fear and above all his utter faith and trust in her.  They were the very mirrors to his soul.

Like magnets they pulled her towards them, unyielding and unwilling to let go. She saw a reflection of herself in their very midst, mockingly daring her to look away. With each second that ticked by she felt herself drawn in by his powerful gaze and somewhere deep down she finally acknowledged her helplessness…

nadia nawaz

As he lay bleeding

Image

His heart was bleeding; unnoticeably slow yet undeniably so it continued to slowly suck the life out of him as the days dragged on.

From the exterior he continued to portray a happy, satisfied face. That show of complete contentment everyone was so accustomed to seeing was so ingeniously portrayed that one wouldn’t think of looking twice.

But if one was to peer deep into his eyes, the very depths of his soul would be visible, laid bare for all to see. The pain and longing were like constant fires burning with an unrelenting ferocity, so captivating while at the same time so frightening.

He was in turmoil as his feelings crashed down upon him, swept throughout his muscular form with the powerful flow of blood from his pulsating heart.

For him it was much like the powerful waves which were carried through the ocean on a stormy night. The only difference was that after hours of thrashing and crashing, the storm at sea would soon subside, but his storm continued to gradually brew as the hours whiled away..

Nadia Nawaz