Original Writing

In Loving Memory Of A Grandfather

Memories of you are like waves leaving the shoreline. Cracked sand. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life left behind.

And these days are like out-of-season rain, I think of you but the cracks only half-fill. My heart breaks again. The 12 years since you left no different to the 12 years before.

How do you console yourself upon realising you’ve lost something you never knew was yours?

Memories of you are like the first caress of a Himalayan-breeze after a too-long August

Memories of you greet me like a familiar stranger at the door, weakened by the journey but not forgotten

Memories of you:
calling you nikke bava with pride at having two like you
finding comfort in watching Kader Khan movies because to me he looked just like you
thinking how void your bedroom was, knowing the masjid was preferred by you

I must have, at some point, sat in your lap or spoken to you or played with you but those memories refuse to rise from the pool they once drowned in

The last time we met was your last effort to make amends but I was in awe, too shy and too young to know what to say

I think of you in the hospital, your chest bare and mine ripping to shreds.

I sit by your grave and sift through not-enough memories, half-forgotten memories, wishful-imagined memories… and they all end at that dream: you place your hand on my head – a fatherly gesture to say ‘my blessings are always with you’.

I know how important it was for you, a poor migrant worker, to see your children educated and I know how disappointed you felt. I wish you could have seen your eldest granddaughter graduate- not once, not twice, but three times. If you had known your dream meant something to someone, maybe your heart would’ve hurt a little less and endured a little more.

I am forever tied to you,
your blood is mine,
my eyes from yours,
my pehchaan is in you: to this day I’m called out as, recognised as, pointed to as your granddaughter.

And now, something about a migrant’s experience binds us together harder. I dream your dreams and my veins carry your sadness.

So, memories of you are like waves kissing the shoreline under an orange sun. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life hidden within.

And these days are like the first glow after sunrise, the first caress of the spring breeze.

9 thoughts on “In Loving Memory Of A Grandfather”

  1. Beautiful. May Allah swt grant your grandfather the highest rank in jannah.

    My mum passed away 21 years ago, yet my grandparents death is what made me feel empty. I knew them longer I guess. I hate going to my home city as they are no longer there and therefore the home city should no longer exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ameen and I pray the same for your mum and grandparents. You’re right – nothing can replace the bond you have with grandparents. People say becoming a grandparent is better than being a parent because you get to meet your child’s child and that’s more precious than having kids yourself. I feel it works both ways: the bond you have with your parent’s parent is so unique. The stories they tell and the way they love you, the things you learn about your parents’ childhood through them is something only they can gift you. It’s only when they’re gone that you realise it. There’s so many questions that I wish I could have asked him because only he would be able to answer them💔

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a beautiful tribute! May Allah grant him Jannah, Insha’Allah. This post reminded me of my grandmother, whom passed away on 9/11, that same day, although in a nursing home close to home. I wish I had the chance to create more positive memories while she was alive. When I think of her, I feel mostly guilt, but I also know how much she struggled to ensure all her children had an education she was not allowed to have. That part about graduating made me especially think of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ameen, may Allah also grant your grandmother jannat al firdaus. Education meant so much to our grandparents because they’d seen reall struggles and poverty; as a teacher I’ve seen how little it means to some of the younger generation who have access to it but don’t make use of it. It makes me so sad. 💔

      Liked by 1 person

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