Death and Taxes

It’s kind of hard for me to feel  sorry for the passing of a Pop icon or a hollywood starlet when my own family is facing the pending demise of one of its members. It’s strange to think that I have lived with my Aunt’s illness for so long but never really pondered it. As I type this now she is in the Cancer hospital in Amman, Jordan. My mother and father flew over from Cairo to be with her. Not a month ago my Aunt’s husband died. We didnt know he was sick… or at least we didn’t know he was terminally ill… She never told us.

God has his wisdom and everyone has his preordained time… no one gets more than what is written for him and no one gets less… You get exactly what God has prescribed for you whether it be an allotment of wealth, children, happiness, sadness. Yet that doesn’t mean that I cannot be human and feel sad and weep for the fast coming loss of my Aunt… The cancer is everywhere… her liver has failed.. She is out of intensive care and the doctors say that there is nothing else we can do but make her feel comfortable.

I didn’t know what to say to my cousin over the telephone when her father passed away… I never saw it coming… I thought my aunt would be the first to go… Shows you how much I know. I am a firm believe in God’s wisdom… and I accept what fate must come to me and my family. That is not to say that I know what will happen to me and my family.. this is knowledge only my creator knows and I am here to be the best that I can possibly be.

Last week was strange… I felt so angry… all the time.. so tired. I didn’t feel anything when my father told me that my aunt collapsed and was taken to the hospital. I didn’t feel anything when the got on the plane and flew to Jordan. I didn’t feel anything until I told my friend that I can’t feel sad… because she’s been sick for so long. He looked at me and said… Mahmoud… you remember when my father died. I said yes. He said remember how I kept it all in… for over a month… and then I couldnt keep it in anymore… you were there right… I said yes… He said you remember what happened.

I said yes.

I wished he hadn’t told me what he did… we where walking into the mosque to pray the night prayers… I remembered how he finally let it all out… outside my parent’s house… maybe a little over 11 years ago.. I remember a friend of ours holding him while he cried… while he let it all out… And I watched my friend grieve for his father.

I started crying in prayer… maybe its premature to cry for someone who has not left you… maybe the hardest part of death is knowing before hand when this might happen to a loved one.

My Aunt is my father’s baby sister… I can’t fathom what he might be going through… I have a baby sister of my own… I don’t know what I would do if I lost her. That’s a lie… I know what I would do… I would cry.

I don’t have anything smart or witty to say. I am stuck in egypt … I feel helpless … not being able to help my Aunt, My Cousin, My parents… Our family. What can I say? It’s ironic when you are a voice over artist… to be at a loss for words.  So I pray.. I pray that she may be at peace.. I pray that the pain is less. That my cousin be strong. That my father be strong. That my family be strong.

That I be strong.

I never really understood some of the descriptions from some of the Stories of the companions of the Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him. How on the day he died pandemonium struck. That the Mighty Omar (who will later become the second Caliph) was rendered senseless… denying the truth that he sees before him. That the men sat in the streets… weeping until their beards were wet.

Until Their beards where wet?

Omar had become so enraged at the loss of the final connection between heaven and earth that he unsheathed his sword and said … it is a lie… he is not dead… he is only communing with God like Moses did on the Mountain.

Abu Bakr… the Prophet’s Best Friend and the best of the companions (and the first caliph) was out of town when the Prophet died. And when he heard of the news he hurried to the Prophet’s house.. The prophet was married to his (Abu Bakr’s) daughter Aisha… and had died in her house. Abu Bakr seeing Omar waving his sword raised his voice and said..

Be Silent Son of Khataab… And to all of you… be still. If you Worship Mohammed… Mohammed is dead. But if You Worship God Almighty… Then he is Alive, Ever Living.

My beard is wet. The tears come sometimes… and I no longer wish to stop them… In my culture you only see men crying in disasters. When they lose their children… when something dramatic happens. What can possibly be worse than losing a loved one?

If you love money then loss of money can be a calamity. If you love fame… loss of recognition might be disasterous. If you love yourself… then what does it matter what happens to the world around you as long as you’re A-OK.

Money comes and Goes. You can always make a come back (just look at travolta) … and as for the one who puts themselves before their family. Well there really isn’t much I’d care to tell them… except that you’re missing so much.

Call you parents, call your aunts, call your sisters and brothers. Tell them that you love them.

Before it’s too late… before you never hear their voice again.