December 20th, came and went... it was a long year. As we are about to enter 2018, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I would be lying if I did not say that this year was not difficult. SubhanAllah, I survived an anniversary, birthdays, being new to single parenting and so on. I could complain, but this year I put more emphasis on healing. Healing is on going, but alhamdulilah I have made a lot of progress. God has a way of changing things... this time last year, I had just finished attending my husband's (rahimahullah) janzah in NYC and burial in New Jersey.
I came back home to GA, with the children... our home... the place where we had delivered two of our children together, the place where we have made many memories, and it is also the place where he died. I stepped into our home, and it was a hard reality. His clothes were put away in the closet, his shoes were still by the front door... there was still clothes in the laundry hamper. I sat on the couch, and thought.. this is really happening. I prayed it was a nightmare, that I would soon wake up from. It was very much so real life. After deciding to leave GA and go to Maryland where I spent a portion of my time with my twin sister Ameenah (website Mariam Poppins)... to grieve and slowly get back on track... I took a look at myself, and what I wanted to do to heal. So I will share a few things that helped me:
First read: 5 Ways To Love Yourself More
Also read: The Passing Of A Prince
God- Wooo buddy, losing a spouse will test your faith. Allah says"Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?" 29:2
You learn a lot about tawwakul... losing a spouse will have you on your knees, praying to God to lift you up and keep you going. It will have you up in the middle of the night, trying to find answers that only He knows... I have to thank the spiritual support I received from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani from Seekers Hub , Shaykh Mendes from Sacred Service, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, and Ustadha Rukayat. It was the dhikrs, books, duaas, and spiritual counseling that they gave me, that helped me a lot. I was so lost, heart broken, and crawling in my faith.
Gardening- This is how gardening became a big deal in my life. Idris and I planned on gardening for awhile. He even helped prep the yard and we discussed our dreams of farming and gardening. In the spring time I immersed myself in nature. I connected to Ameer Idris (rahimahullah) and Allah through gardening. Barefoot, tears running down my face, hands in the soil... I lost myself and found myself in my yard. Everyday I would go out there and sit, listen to the sounds of the birds, listen to the trees and pay attention to the flowers. As much as I nurtured the flowers, they nurtured me. It became more than just growing food, I was growing me. Gardening inspired this article Gardening Through Grief on the Women Who Farm Website.
Friends- I had quite a few friends, who were instrumental in my healing. They were the ones who reminded me that it was okay to cry, okay to stay in bed, okay to feel however I needed to feel. They may not have understood everything I was going through, why I would be okay one moment and crying the next. They just held my hand through it all. They understood that I may not want to talk on the phone that day, so they did not take it personal... they would text me instead. They learned how to be with me on this journey, wipe my tears, and sometimes just be silent. I was not the easiest to deal with, my friends did not know all the right things to say and I appreciate them so much subhanAllah. I am really thankful for everyone who called, text, sent me messages and prayed for me and the children. I learned a lot this year about friends, trust, and who will be there through thick and thin. One of my friends Maria from Ramadan Battle Plan, Creative Muslim Women and Halafy, is one of those friends who held my hand...
Speaking Life Into Myself- I was determined to look at myself different. Long time struggles with myself had to end. I started looking in the mirror, which is something I did not like to do. I started speaking life into myself... negative words, negative feelings, negative thinking was not helping me to live. I started looking at myself and focusing on what I liked, and what I did not feel comfortable with... I decided to take active steps towards changing it. Alhamdulilah and I did a lot of that this year. I have come a long way!! My friends would tell me all these positive things about myself, but I needed to see it for myself. I needed to feel that way. I wanted to see what they were looking at when they saw me and I did. I started listening to more positive videos and messages, reading positive quotes and started to see what was there all a long. I made sure to keep people around me who were positive and loving. One of those wonderful people is Nadirah ( Website) her book: On All The Things That Make Me Beautiful .... subhanAllah, Allah sent her to me at a much needed time. We had been friends on social media for sometime, but this year, her words really helped me. Everyone needs a safe space, and she is someone I can speak to and have support.
What God has shown me in one year, I never imagined. I am stronger, but I am also softer. I am growing, I am learning...I said that I would never use the word weak to describe myself again. What next year will bring....I have no clue, but as long as I have God..I will get through.
Please continue to keep me and the children in your duaas.
May Allah forgive Ameer Idris' sins, may me and the children be one of many means of Ameer Idris getting continuous blessings. May His grave be spacious and full of light. ameen ameen ya Allah make it so.