These words; I don't even know why I am writing them. I don't even know if I should. But you don't have to question their sincerity; they come straight from my heart.
One of the best ways to know a person, I guess, is to read his/her blog. I knew I learnt a lot about you from yours. I found out that you are a bright, funny lady. Your words effortlessly put a smile on my face. But reading further, I realized that you were more than that. Much more.
Your very first post was of your niece. A very short post, with words that barely formed a paragraph (9 words, title included); but it spoke volumes of your love for her. Words of your later posts made me feel like I was right there watching her up to some form of mischief, or making faces.
It also made me feel like I was right there when she passed on.
But they were just words. They cannot make me know how it really felt for you.
I guess I've been lucky so far. In my 19-year life, I have (thank God) not yet faced the death of a person I truly loved. The closest person whom I've lost is a teacher of mine, Mr. G, who was my mentor. Even then he did not teach me any of the subjects I studied.
So when it comes to loss, I am…well, at a loss.
What do I tell you when I found out yesterday that this is killing you inside? Sympathy I can offer; that goes without saying. But mere sympathy doesn't seem adequate. I want to empathise. But how can I when I have not gone through such an event myself?
Thus I can only imagine the hell you are going through right now. Perhaps you imagine her smile. Or her laugh. Or the way she called your name. All of which you can now appreciate only in your memories.
I can only guess.
I admire you. Your compassion amazes me. Your niece was lucky to have an aunt like you. Anyone would.
You have been exceptionally strong. So much so that only your closest friends know the true extent of your grief. Me, I barely knew about your predicament until reading your blog. The smile you've kept on is a symbol of that strength.
I can only tell you to stay that way. Yes, we are all weak. But I believe Allah gives strength to those of us who really need it. The Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful, after all, "…does not burden a human being more than he is well able to bear…" (2:286)
When I face the death of a loved one, as I inevitably will in the future, I can only pray that I will face it as well as you have.
In the end, these are mere words. I am so sorry I can't offer you any more. Even though I want to so very much, I'm just unable to. I am sorry.
But in me you have a listening ear, and a friend.
Your niece takes after her aunt; both of you have a beautiful smile. She wouldn't want to see you sad. Keep smiling, Sya, at least for her.
work of non-fiction