An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

In Loving Memory of My Father by Fatimah Ashrif

In Healing, Uncategorized on October 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

“If for a short time

Fate does not accord with our wishes

Despair not, and remember that fortune’s wheel

Is always on the move.

Do not abandon hope if you cannot penetrate

The secret of what is to come

Behind the curtain of invisibility

Who knows what dramas occupy the stage?”

I love these words of Hafez. They remind me that, like the wise men in a dark room with an elephant, each only experiencing a part of the animal, my understanding of the truth and what lies beyond this apparent world of ours is by no means absolute.

They also help me to appreciate that, though I cannot see it, life is unfolding exactly as it should.

My father died when I was ten. He was thirty-six. I always wondered if we would meet again, not realising that we had never really separated.

My family and I grieved my father’s loss each in our own way, and very separately from one another. Everyone stopped speaking about him, everyone stopped expressing sorrow, and everyone stopped crying together. It was as though everyone was trying to be strong in the way that they thought was right. It hurt too much to speak of him and to hear of him, and so it was easier not to. I realise now though that real strength lies in continuing to speak of our loved one. Though it may hurt, I am sure it does also heal.

I was brought up in a family which believed in God, and an afterlife, and yet this seemed to have given comfort to no-one. In time, we each stopped visiting his grave with any regularity for our own reasons. We were all busy, I guess, building a dam to block out the hurt and keep it at bay. Not realising that the dam was leaking into all our relationships, and every aspect of our being, we just couldn’t see what it was doing to us.

In recent years, I have found my heart opened to the teachings of the mystics of Islam. Through these I was re-introduced with the flavour of truth to the possibility that death is not the end but simply a new beginning. That though the body returns to the earth to nourish it, the soul lives on freed from the constraints of time and space. I began to appreciate that day follows night, and night day. I began to see the intelligent beauty in the cycle of life and death in nature all around. The changing seasons, and what each brings. Autumn with its falling, flame-coloured leaves, and spring with new, fresh, green leaves unfurling on branches. How mineral, plant and animal give life to each other in the beautiful ecology of our world. I started to notice how beautiful, lush and green the trees were at the cemetery and wondered if these were nourished by those who had slipped behind the curtain of visibility…

About this time last year, I was on what might best be described as a pilgrimage to various holy sites in Turkey. I visited many resting places of saints who had passed from this world. I found myself stood in awe at these places with words forming in my mind-heart to communicate with these beautiful beings whose energy I felt certain I could feel. From about a week (perhaps a little more) into the trip, I recall a short conversation with two friends, who had seen that I still carried with me the pain of my father’s loss. They sweetly and gently told me it was very important for me to form a connection with my father. They told me that forming that connection would begin to heal my family, it would begin to unlock and melt their pain, and it was important not only for my family and me but also for my father. I understood the spiritual logic of what they said but still it had not dawned on me how I might go about forming such a connection, and so I asked them how. They looked at me very lovingly, and smiling said… “Well, you have been communicating with dead people all week have you not? You know what you need to do.”

I am not sure that I am completely there with my connection to my father but I feel a shift in my being, and in my family. I did start visiting my father’s grave. I started to speak with him, to share with him, and ask him to be with me. I started this dialogue with various members of my family who have passed. I feel light and love filtering into my being. I feel the intermittent but gentle glow of connection to the wisdom of many souls passed and it’s for me (with the grace of the Divine) to keep it burning.

I was speaking to my four- (nearly five-) year-old nephew a few days ago about his nana (my father, his maternal grandpa). He asked me if his nana was with Allah, something I know that his mother (my sister) will have told him. I explained that he was, and that I felt certain that his nana was also with him, loving him and being there for him. I told him something that my father’s best friend tried to explain to me (but didn’t quite get through) not long after my father died: when we die, we become free of our bodies and can be with whomever we choose. We can be with those we love. Yousuf looked at me with his beautiful, brown, wide, wonder-filled eyes, and grinned at me: the smile of a boy who knows he is loved.

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  1. Greetings,

    This is an absolutely lovely post, one of the most genuine and deeply inspiring posts I have ever read.

    Thank you so much for this.

    I will be re-visiting it more.

    All good wishes,

    robert

  2. Thank you, Fatimah, for sharing something so beautiful and personal. Truly Hazreti Mevlana, this path, and indeed all spiritual paths lead to open hearts and uncovering of truths through sharing. Alhamdulillah

  3. Thank you for your beautiful sharing Fatimah. It has given me a wonderful appreciation of how we can continue to have a relationship with loved ones that have passed. This has really made me reflect on my own personal loss and, just as we can communicate with God in so many ways, how special and unique that relationship could be. Thank you, Much Love, Siema

  4. “They also help me to appreciate that, though I cannot see it, life is unfolding exactly as it should.”

    You’re writing is filled with such courage and heart – mashallah. Some wonderful gems of wisdom and insight which only your heart could show you. Yousuf is adorable and maybe even more beautiful is his smile which, as you say, shows he is loved.

    Thank you for sharing Fati.

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