Her 7th Memorial
I thought she was still overseas, but not after a mutual friend asked me if I saw her lately, because that mutual friend heard that my best friend can’t walk anymore. “ What are you talking about?” I asked her with shock and then suddenly the room was spinning. “Yes,” she continued, “She came back from the Emirates weeks ago but I couldn’t see her yet. I heard she’s now paralyzed.” I was with my brother back then and I asked him to take me to see my friend immediately. On our way to her place, I was trembling, and thinking how could I see her sitting on a wheel chair? Do I have the guts? I wasn’t sure I had it in me back then; all I wanted to do is to make sure my close friend is fine. I felt as if a part of me started to get paralyzed too.
We arrived; my brother said he’ll wait for me in the car. With hesitation, I walked towards the stairs, and I wished if I could run away from that place. I wanted to see my friend but I couldn’t stand the idea to see her in pain. My love and worry for her was pulling me to see her. With every step I took my fear for her was increasing; I knew how weak I was, and how my love for her is deep. I reached the door, and didn’t want anything to change, so I knocked on the door and pushed it open as I used to do. I walked in calling out her name. Her parents were in the kitchen, a wide smile appeared across each of their faces when they saw me. I directly asked them where she was. Her mother said “Here she is” pointing at the kitchen door. I turned back and my heart sank; she wasn’t paralyzed as my friend had heard, but she wasn’t the same person I knew.
She was pale, walking slowly, not sure of her steps and trying to maintain her balance by placing her arms ahead of her. Her eyes were almost closed; she was putting an effort to open them. With a soft voice she asked: “I’m hearing a voice, who is there?” And she recognized me right away, without me even saying a word. She smiled her usual smile and said: “Jinan, I can’t believe you are here”. I gave her a big hug and wished my hug could return my friend back to me. I felt her soul, her pure heart, but her shape was not the same. She lost a lot of weight, her eyes kept on blinking more than usual, and she kept on looking above as if something was pulling her head up. She led me to the sitting room. I turned to her mother and whispered “What’s wrong with her?” Her mother replied: “Something in her stomach, we don’t know yet, she has an appointment with the doctor this week, hopefully we will know”. We sat in the sitting room, but I had to tell her that I’m coming for five minutes to check on her. She insisted that I stay for lunch but I couldn’t accept her invitation. I watched her moves, her hands that kept on shivering. I was praying that she will be fine soon. She didn’t let me go before I gave her a promise to come back for a long visit next time. When it was time to leave, she asked me about my brother, and she said: “I want to walk with you to the car to see him”, at that moment I felt scared. I had a hunch, that she was going to the car to say bye to my brother and I for the last time, I hoped back then that hunch wasn’t true. I supported her all the way to the car. Even my brother was surprised after he saw her and how she changed.
I got in the car and noticed she’s facing difficulties by going up the stairs. “Let me help you”, I said. “No, I can do it”, she replied. I insisted after I saw her supporting herself on the wall, but she said she‘s fine. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I felt there is a part of me that wanted to help, my eyes that were willed to support her was all I could do. While I was watching her fading away, I told my brother that I’m so worried about her. Deep inside of me, I felt she’s going to leave this world soon, but I didn’t want to believe it.
After my short visit to her place, a few days passed and I called my friend to talk to her but they told me she was hospitalized for some tests and she will be back home after days. I waited for days, but she never got out of the hospital. They said she has a disease in her head and they don’t know what it was yet. They said she’s in real danger.
I wasn’t sure I had the courage to go to the hospital to visit her. I wanted to go to her place and see her in good health, not lying in bed, can’t survive to even talk. I decided to wait until she came back home to see her, and was asking all people who were visiting her how she was. But the news wasn’t good enough. She couldn’t talk, or hear and they said she couldn’t see too. Then they told me she went into a coma.
It was a Saturday afternoon when I received the news. They said that she had died. I was going to see her on Tuesday but she was gone. I was trying to convince myself all the time that she will be home soon; it was the fear of watching her leaving so soon that made me believe I’ll see her in good health again. I remember that I didn’t say a word the moment I knew she died. I stood on the balcony, in deep silence. The tears were shedding from my eyes as I was staring on without blinking. I stayed for hours like that; I couldn’t scream or cry out using a loud voice. I was paralyzed and I knew the meaning of being paralyzed back then. All I was seeing was her face when I visited her for the last time, the way she was telling me that she passed her exams. She was overwhelmed even though she was in pain. I don’t know who to blame, did I disappoint her? Or did she disappoint me? Or is it neither of us to blame? It was fate. God’s will was to take her at that early age.
The next day, my parents went to her funeral, but I didn’t. I couldn’t stand it; to see her lying there without any movement. I admit I was a coward for not accepting the fact that she‘s going to leave forever. I felt my heart was about to stop beating that day, it was too much pain. I’ve never lost anyone in my family or any close friends, but that day I felt I lost my whole world.
This year is her 7th memorial, I still think of her where I left her for the last time at her place, down stairs. I still expect to see her there if I went again to see her parents. But I never went there. I remember I passed once by her village but all the while my knees were shivering and I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know how lucky I was to have a wonderful friend until I met her, I never knew how weak I was until I lost her.
I miss her every day; I miss how she used to walk a long distance to visit me every time she came to see her grandparents. I still remember her shiny face when I open the door saying with a lovely smile: “See? Even Though I don’t like walking but I walked all this distance just to see you”. I used to feel so happy back then. After her death, hearing a knock on the door made me run to open the door expecting her standing there, and it took me a long time before I got over that feeling. I still think of my friend standing where I left her, the last thing I did, is asking her to be careful while going up the stairs, the last thing I heard from her, is: “Don’t worry I’m fine” I wanted to get out of the car and help her back then. I felt maybe it could be hard on her because helping her might have made her feel powerless. That was the main reason why I agreed to let her walk by herself. Now I regret it; I wish I went and helped her just to gain a few extra minutes with her.
I promised her to be back again, but I never did. While I kept on praying for her, hoping to see her in good health, she was dying. After I had the guts to see her, I was waiting to visit her in the hospital, but she didn’t wait. Maybe she waited days for me, but I never showed up. I know she thought of me. I know she wondered why I didn’t go to see her, but I still didn’t know why I lost all my courage to accept the fact that I’m about to say goodbye to my precious friend. It’s her 7th memorial and I still think she’s there where I left her for the last time. I still cry for hours sometimes when I think of her, as if she left this world yesterday. It was easy to be a coward when I was late to visit her, but hard to be strong when I think of her…
Sometimes we don’t read the signs; it would be so easy if we do. Other times we don’t follow our hunch no matter how much we believed it’s true. It’s the moment that we stand there in denial, ignoring the fact that we are about to lose someone we truly love. We keep on convincing ourselves that things are going to be fine, just to avoid watching them leave. Even though we miss saying goodbye, hoping that some day they will stay where we left them for the last time.
She was my close friend who left this world at a very early age. I was the friend who never followed her hunch and missed the chance to see her face forever.
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