Sunday, July 13, 2008

The family secret...

Very rarely does my family sit down and talk about the past. I don't remember the last time I ever heard a story about my parents' childhoods that were more deep than mere recounts of playing on the beach or family get togethers. Every family has a story, a story that everyone knows but no one dares I found out what that story was and somehow, even though I didn't know the story existed, I feel at peace because it no longer is a secret.

Last night, my girl cousins, my aunts and I had this girls night hang out thing at one of my aunts houses. The night was full of confessions, stories, memories, jokes, laughs, arguments, tears and smiles. It was amazing.

The story came out as we were discussing this issue we are having with my cousin. This cousin of mine is seeing the sister of my best friend and everyone knows. My cousin is in love with this girl, but there is a strong possibility that the two will never be together. Before I carry on, I understand that dating is haraam, however the truth of the matter is its happening and while each and everyone of us have tried to put a stop to it, nothing is working. Marriage is not looking like a viable option as my best friend's family is structured like European Royalty during the Medieval times, everyone marries some sort of relative, and my cousin is not a relative. (My apologies for making this story-like, but I have to share it with someone). Anyways, my aunt confided in us about her feelings, about how ridiculous she feels when she faces my best friend's family, about she fears her son would be heart broken when things don't work out (not if), and finally she said something that left all us young ones in question..."I just hope what happened to Abdul, doesn't happen to him!" Since I am the eldest, everyone turns to me asking me "Who's Abdul?"

Abdul is one of my mother's older brothers. You see, my mom comes from a huge family, a total of thirteen siblings, some passed away before my mother (the youngest) was born, others passed away before my mother and the rest of her siblings came to this country. Abdul was one of those siblings that passed away before my mother came to this country. The comment still made no sense to me. I don't remember any stories about my uncle except that he died in a motor cycle accident. So, I answer my cousins' question "Abdul is their brother" "So, what happened to him?" "I'm not sure." And so I gave this look to my aunt, and she looked at my other aunt, and the looks continued until someone broke the silence, my aunt that started all this began to explain. "He killed himself, he overdosed himself." And then it started, my eldest aunt tried to put a stop to the conversation explaining that we "didn't need to know." We acted like little children, eager to hear the rest of the story, asking more questions, trying to make sense of it all. My mother chimes in, "They have to know! This is their family history."

My uncle was in love with this girl and wanted to marry her, but one day, he saw her with another man. This devastated my uncle, so he basically took a lot of pills. My aunts insist that his intention wasn't suicide and that he only wanted to giver her a scare, only he died in the process (Allah yarhamu). All this time I thought it was a motorcycle accident, or at least that's what they've been telling us.

I cannot imagine the pain that my grandparents went through to lose a son in that manner or even the shame the dealth with, so much so that they made up a story to cover it all up. One of my aunts was clearly upset, "Only a loser would take his life because of a girl!" While I agree 150% that committing suicide is wrong on so many different levels, I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to not want to exist anymore. I have faced heart break after heart break, the last one being the hardest to endure and at the time it feels like the only thing to alleviate the pain is to cease to exist, I thank Allah (SWT) that he has given me the understanding that everything happens for a reason. Afterall, Allah is the best of planners.

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