From the diary of a mother who grieves

Published: December 14, 2015

A mother cries as she leaves the Army Public School with her children after it was reopened. PHOTO: AFP

I love pink flowers. They look so majestic yet delicate. My son helped me plant those. He would be so happy to see them bloom. I stare at them blankly while sitting in our garden. I’m so tired of grieving, so tired of people looking at me with pity. I will forever be an entity of human desolation. A rubbish bin for human guilt. 

“Oh look at her! Her plight makes me grateful for everything I have!”

I can see the empty empathy in their eyes.

The press and ‘celebrities’ all left when they had their fair share of photos and videos for inflating their egos, and the hushed voices in the market were replaced with the banalities of life. The pain is still there, it never ebbs. They say time heals a wound but I disagree. It merely covers the open wound with a thin scab which, when peeled away, reveals the flesh anew, exposed, lacerated and oozing with pain. I look at other mothers with their children, holding them close, protecting them as they pass me, my eyes well up and the emptiness returns. How lucky are those women who can put their hands through their children’s hair and feel each strand falling between their fingers.

Concerned or nosy neighbours (I can’t tell them apart now) tell me to have faith in Allah, but that makes me angry at them. Not at Allah, but at them. Clearly they don’t want to play a role in alleviating my mental stress so they pass the buck to my Creator. I know I have faith in Allah. It’s all I have. Faith that He will take care of my son in the lush gardens and flowing rivers that He created. Religious clerics tell me that my son is playing with Prophet Ibrahim (ra) in Heaven and will never be deprived of anything, but I wonder if he thinks of his mother, or longs for her hugs, or longs to be tickled or to hear me singing a lullaby to lull him to sleep.

Could he really be enjoying himself so much that he forgot his mother? Does he not know how much I pine for him? Is he safe? Well-fed? Happy? Can evil people harm him? I know its Heaven but a mother never stops worrying.

My husband has become a former shadow of himself. His gaunt appearance and falling hair are typical signs of deep loss, but we barely acknowledge each other. He keeps saying we should take the compensation money and move away, start afresh, but I won’t budge. I won’t leave my child or profit in any way from his lossI still expect him to come running through the front door with his excessively burdened schoolbag, messy clothes and wide smile. He may not return in the physical sense but I want to remain close to where his footprints took shape, to hear his echoes which have been absorbed into the walls of the house. I can never leave and yet I find myself being subsumed, eaten whole, just waiting for death so we can be united again.

Maybe one day I will breathe normally again without feeling as if my lungs are crushing me. I will gain the courage to stand again but, for now, my only wish is to see my son and tell him that I am so proud of him. Proud that he was able to take the fall to make this nation finally stand up. And when I go to visit his grave, I smile a little after seeing a single pink flower sprouting from the headstone. This world is callously beautiful.

Faiza Iqbal

Faiza Iqbal

A law graduate from King's College, London Nottingham Law School. Having worked at Mandviwalla & Zafar as an Associate, she now writes freelance articles and is trying to qualify as a barrister in Canada.

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