If my memory serves me well, I was only 12 years of age when my father told me that my niece had her life taken away by someone with schizophrenia. I didn’t blink. I didn’t react. I wasn’t sure what was the appropriate thing to say. Is there anything you can say?
Although death wasn’t anything new to me and my family, I never actually witnessed a reaction. My mother never conveyed such emotions in my presence. I had never seen my mother cry; in fact I had never seen any member of my family cry. Looking back, this may have been one of the contributing factors of why I used to think crying somehow equated to weakness.
Losing a loved one pulls an indescribable, unexplainable reaction out of a person. Mine was silence. What confused me more as I grew up was my mother, a rather impressionable, emotional woman at that, wouldn’t cry. She didn’t seem to be extremely sad or show any conventionally typical emotions of losing a loved one for more than a couple of days.
How religion and death link together
In Islam, we are taught that every soul shall be returned to its creator. This means that death is inevitable and this life on Earth is a temporary test from God. Thus, the questions begs, is death necessarily a bad thing? It hurts, of course, however we are taught that your soul is finally at peace, and for some people that may have lived a hard, painful life, this could have been a better destination.
Praying for the loved ones that have passed and celebrating their life by speaking of them in the highest of regards and reminiscing their best times and achievements is a better healing method for some Muslims. We are taught that being sad, upset and wanting to cry about losing your loved one is natural, however it shouldn’t last for more than 3 days. When my parents finally explained this to me, I thought this was insane, because we cannot choose who we truly love, and we cannot choose when they move on to the after-life.
However, as a grown woman I understand that the inevitable isn’t something to run away from, but something to embrace. Enabling myself to understand that everyone has their time in this life has allowed me to appreciate time and those I still have around me more, and to those I have already lost, it won’t be forever.
Death is a sensitive subject which has always had the darkest of connotations but has also become something that I have learned to adapt to by shifting my perspective. Through losing numerous loved ones during my life, I’ve developed somewhat of a ritual. A system that I follow that allows me to slowly start a healing process, which helps me avoid a potential downwards spiral – to feel, heal and to let go. For now.
Written by Freelance writer, digital marketer and photographer Misky Barré – view her portfolio here!
Visit our Helpful Websites page for links to helplines and other centres. There’s no shame in asking for help.