Grieving

My father and me

In the most unlikely places

In the most unimaginable  moments

Flashes of him appear like lightening

It is daunting

Almost frightening

How his face among all faces

is the only one in luminous sight

Surrounding him only light.

 

I hold back my tears

And chain down my fears

I try to remember a frivolous story

But no memory, no story

Can stop my tears

Can break my fear

So I squeeze my eyes shut

Ignore the agony in my gut

Wear a brave face

Leave no pitiful space

Or any vulnerable trace

Only grace

Pretend the wind is the culprit

For tears that refuse to quit

But there’s nowhere to hide

No one to confide

I need to get a grip.

 

In the most unlikely places

In the most unimaginable moments

I hear beeping

Heavy breathing

All forms of heaving

Witness intubating

and efforts in saving

Pounding hearts

Horror creeping

into my veins.

Pricks violating

Saline swimming

Seeping

into his veins.

Ghosts sneaking in my head

Audaciously nearing his bed

Playing cruel games.

 

I see ugly zig-zags

of uneven charts

I see drug-filled bags

Oxygen increasing

Doctors strategising

Nurses racing

The helpless pacing

The indifferent sighing

The old wailing

The hopeful dreaming

Families pleading

Painful memories

Hardly worth keeping

I hear screaming

Someone weeping

Is death nearing?

The climax of grieving.

 

In the most unlikely places

In the most unimaginable moments

Unbearable haunting scenes

Invade me

They won’t let me be

I want to be free

I travel, and I walk

I talk, and I provoke

I write through the night

Ever so keen

To crush every scene

How absurd and how obscene

I refuse to cry

I block out goodbye

I refuse to become

weak, and to succumb

So I run, and I run

For a fraction

of distraction

No stop sign

Not even a finish line

So I run, and I run

Till I can no longer keep up

And my legs give in

Till all my emotions erupt

And I’m all washed up

And everything in me is no longer violent

Till everything in me is silent.

 

I see him falling

No time for crying

For cowardly hiding

For trials and errors

Doctors and nurses

Stop wondering, stop stalling

Can’t you see he is slipping?

I hear someone calling

The ‘death’ tray is moving

There’s trouble

He’s in trouble

And I’m in trouble

His soul is rising

Angels are flying

And my heart is dying

I shake

I ache

I pray

Please God

Let him stay

Please God

For my sake

Please wait

I know it’s fate

But please just wait

Too late

His soul is now soaring

And Angels keep gathering

God I accept

I swear I accept

I know I am inept

I shudder

I stumble

There’s no waiting

No preparing

And I, without realising

Crumble.

 

In the most unlikely places

In the most unimaginable moments

In my melancholic daze

In my weary phase

My heightened grieving days

I feel the warmth of his gaze

The depth of his gentle ways

The devotion that forever stays

His knowing eyes sweetly smiling

His loving ways slowly piling

Old tears already drying

New tears forming

Of momentarily relief

Ever so brief

‘I am fine’ I whisper

‘Just fine’

His fingers tighten around mine

Gentle and so kind

The best I’ll ever find

Hand in hand

So entwined.

No demands

Only love stands

And as I drift

And as I dream

As I wish away

And pray for an endless day

I hear my father say

In his usual reassuring way

‘I am fine,

Not just fine,

More than fine.’

by Razan Abdul Majeed

I see him

My sweetest father

I see him in faces of old men
I see him in morning coffees and newspapers
I see him in a father’s warmth
In light hearts and genuine friends
I see him in the grey smoke of lit cigarettes
I see him in the dawn of new mornings
In the rich language of his mother tongue
I see him in stylish suits, blue shirts and red ties
I see him in classic watches loosely worn
In gold-rimmed round glasses
In gardens, flowers and grasses
I see him in sunshine, sweet smiles and lovable people
I see him in birds that fly in pairs
I see him in learning, adding and subtracting
I see him in yoga postures and breathing meditations
I see him in philosophy
In thick books and highlighted sentences
In difficult words and witty sayings
I see him in tears, politics and sufferings
In dialogues seeking conclusions and justice
In unity, democracy and liberty
In understanding and equality
I see him in all sweet things
In honey, Arabic desserts and slightly sweetened tea
I see him in world maps and geography
I see him in endearing clumsiness and spilt coffees
I see him in little naps and childhood tickles and giggles
In big infectious smiles and hearty laughters
I see him in intrigued expressions and amused eyebrows
In curious looks of the innocent
I see him in Arabic music and old romantic songs
I see him in a soft and warm touch
In wide-open and giving hands
I see him in little notebooks and beautiful poetry
In difficult quotations, literature and complicated law books
I see him in my well-informed lawyer cousin
I see him in football matches
In tennis matches
Even wrestling matches of the eighties
I see him in semi-bald heads and white hair
I see him in kind words and generous gestures
In all kinds of endearments
I see him in all forms of giving
In all ways of living
I see him in every situation and impossible decision
In London’s streets
In cafes and parks
In brisk walking and saunas and steaming hot water
In warms scarves and classic striped pyjamas
I see him in backgammons and prayer beads
I see him in faith and religion
In readings of beautiful Koranic verses
I see him in written letters and brilliant prose
In sound advice and clever logic
I see him in old photos and unforgettable family holidays
I see him behind office desks engrossed in reading
I see him in bookshelves and ink pens, the black one
I see him in colognes and freshly shaven faces
I see him in my high hair bun (tabooz he called it)
In funny looking trimmed moustaches
I see him in all the greatest virtues of the world
In respect, pride and integrity
In hard core truth and honesty
I see him in my sister’s face
In her light eyes and fair skin
In her unique generosity and softness
I see him in my other sister’s knowledge and intelligence
In her opinions, purity and refinement
I see him in my mother’s angelic presence
In her special aura
In her open mindedness and forward thinking
In her sweetness and simplicity
In her compassion and empathy
I see him in everything that is universally exceptional
In fairness and finesse
In decency and duty
In love and loyalty
In freedom and fulfilment
In confidence and courage
In humility and hopefulness
I see him in the true meaning of inner-fulfilment
In the true feeling of self-acceptance
I see glimpses of him in my soul
I see parts of him in my actions
I see bits and pieces of him in my words
In my passions, in my reactions
In my name which he had chosen
I see all of him, all the time
In every city and every place
In every corner, in every spot
I see all of him, all the time
inside my heart, inside my mind
I see all of him, all the time
Whether I can handle it or not
I see all of him, all the time
In every minute, in every second
I see him
I see my father
All the time.

by Razan Abdul Majeed