Tuesday, 28 April 2020

TORN BETWEEN LOOSING A PART OF MY HEART AND A PART OF MY BODY


One rainy Sunday afternoon , a few years ago, we were driving on the N3 highway heading towards Durban. A few kilometres before the Marianhill toll, we hit a water patch. My dad lost control of the car. It spun a few times and landed into the barriers on the side of the road. All I remember, is the car spinning and trees on the windscreen. Everything else was a blur to me. 

I then remember some paramedics pulling me out of the car, and I found myself lying on the side of the road. I was numb. They ripped off my cloak and Alhamdulillah, luckily for me, I was wearing a T-shirt underneath. They put me on a stretcher. As soon as I was placed into the ambulance, my sisters were there for me and they continued to read durood shareef and the kalimah.

I felt some pain in my ankle and with closed eyes, I begged them to rub my ankle. The paramedic asked them not to touch me and this frustrated me to the point that I lost consciousness.

Some time later, my eyes opened to the sound of beeping machines and bright lights. Where was I? After a long time, I realized that I was at a hospital. I saw a nurse and 2 doctors who had asked me a few questions. I was confused and afraid. I then saw my aunt, and chatting to her brought much calm to me, in the middle of my storm. 

At midnight, I was wheeled into theatre with a team of 15 doctors and nurses who attended to me. They worked on me throughout the night. I was in a very critical condition. In fact, there were multiple times when they thought they had lost me. My chances of survival were slim, or so they thought.

For the next 2 days, I was in a coma. I remember crying when I woke up and the first thing I had asked for was my beloved mother. I then asked for my father and my sisters. When I saw them I asked : “Mummy?” and my father broke the most painful news to me: *"She has passed away"*.

That was the most heart breaking sentence I ever heard. My love, my life, my pillar of support, my strength, my confidant.

Somehow, I had a feeling she had passed away, but I needed someone to tell me it wasn't true.

I asked, sobbing: "Muhammed?" and before they could say anything, I told them that I knew he had passed away too. Muhammed was my four year old brother, who was the light of my life and delight of my heart. Little Muhammed had passed away at the accident site and was with my mummy. 

While I was in hospital, every doctor and nurse would look at me and say *“This is our miracle child.”* I never understood why, until 2 weeks later when my father told me that when the mortuary van came, they said "There are three bodies". My vital signs were zero and all the lines were flat. I believe that this is a second chance of life gifted to me by Allah. 

I was taken to theatre yet again. I had a deep cut on my right shoulder, I lost my left hand and broke my femur bone in 3 places. My thigh was ripped open and my ankle was crushed. I was given a high dosage of morphine, so Alhamdulillah I wasn’t in much pain. I was in hospital for a total of 35 days and visited theatre 13 times during my stay. 

Physio was really painful. Some days, I would pretend to be asleep when the Physiotherapist arrived. At times, they would force me to do it and other times, they would leave me to sleep.

I also had skin graph done. I had a machine, attached to my legs to drain the fluid.

I am thankful to Allaah that for 20 days I was on the bed, I then used the wheelchair for one month, and for a few months thereafter, I used the walking stick. After that, I walked with an uncomfortable limp for many months. With Allahs help and a lot of painful physio, I made it through, Alhamdulillah. 

Whilst I was in hospital, I never spoke about the accident or my mother because I would get very emotional and my pressure would go up and that meant my operations would get delayed, which meant staying in the hospital for a longer time. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through. 

I must admit that through everything, there is much for me to be grateful for. Before the accident, I would hardly think of death and Jannah and Jahannum, but now, I keep thinking “Will I be happy to die in this situation? Is my Rabb pleased with me? Have I worked hard enough to reach Jannah?” 

I used to get a lot of visitors, sometimes too much to handle. I would sometimes pretend to be asleep or tell them that I didn't want to see people.

I am so blessed to have my sister by my side. She was and is the only one I can take my frustration out on. My father and uncles would sit at my side and recite Quraan, this brought alot of peace to me. 

Initially, I did not manage to read my salaah but Alhamdullilah after that, I did not miss a single salaah. I used to read salaah while lying on the bed and I would make tayamum. When I was on the ventilator, my family told me that I kept on waking up and asking if I could read my fajr salaah, as I was afraid to miss my salaah. Eventually the nurses asked them to allow me to read my salaah, as it was not good for me to be waking up with worry. Hearing this made me happy that even in that condition I was still aware of my salaah. May ALLAH keep us all steadfast on our Salaah. Aameen. 

As far as my current situation is concerned, Alhamdullilah, I manage to do everything, in spite of having just one hand. With time, I started to master things. I got so used to doing things with one hand, that I sometimes wonder “How do you do it with 2 hands?” it's only with the help of Allah, that I can shower on my own, dress and even tie my scarf all by myself. I make my own bed, clean and do household chores. I cook and do all the preparations for cooking, like cutting vegetables and cleaning meat. I have a few things, like cutting boards etc. that help to support the vegetables and hold it in place so I can slice. I remember trying for hours one day to tie my hair into a ponytail and after much failing and frustration, I finally managed.

I used to wear pardha before the accident, but after the accident, I stopped because it was difficult. I couldn't even wear a cloak, because I used to walk with a walkingstick and the cloak would come in the way. But Slowly, I started trying to tie my scarf by myself , then I wore the cloak again. I was very upset about my pardha. People suggested I wear it again and ask for help in tying it, but I refused because I wanted to be independent. Alhamdulillah, with time, I started wearing my parda again. 

Now that I have a prosthetic hand, Alhamdulillah, I can do much more on my own, and its now easier. I use my stub on my left arm to help me support things when I carry it. It just takes me longer to do things. Things which were previously easy for me are now difficult for me, but I don’t let things get to me, I persevere until I get it right. 

My body pains a lot, especially when its cold. My left leg is shorter than my right leg, which causes me to limp, but wearing an instep has helped my limp. The pins in my leg which press on my hip when I sleep cause me severe pain some nights. My prosthetic hand creeps me out as I used to have a phobia for pictures of arms and mannequins. I used to have nightmares, but Alhamdullilah with time I got over it. I don’t wear my hand out yet, because I don't think I am ready for all the stares and questions. 

Alhamdulillah, I am pleased with the decree of Allah, but as human beings we have emotions. I sometimes wish I could rewind my life, but then I think that I will have to come back to this time and relive all that had happened, so what is the point? We must look ahead of us, instead of dwelling on the past. What is our purpose of life? Why are we here? To please Allah and our aim is to reach Jannah.

There isn’t a single day that passes, when I do not think of my beloved mother, my dear brother, the life changing accident or my life prior to it.

Going back to the time of the accident when I was semi- conscious, I remember the car finally came to a stop. I remember my father asking us if we were okay. I told him “Yes we are.” I then looked to my side and saw something which looked familiar. I looked again and I said to myself “That’s _my_ hand." When I looked at my shoulder, I noticed my arm was missing. There was blood, bone, veins and flesh everywhere. I calmly told my father “I think my hand is broken.”

When I say calmly, I mean it in the literal sense. I was completely at ease. I kept reciting durood shareef. Allahs help was with me. It was only with His help that I was calm despite the chaos around me. It was and it is only Allah who has given me the strength to come so far. 

Since the time I was in hospital, I made sure that my arm was covered at all times. I was conscious of it. I would wear a shawl or I use to cover it with a blanket. Two months later was Eid, so I wore a dress and matched it with a shawl so that it covered me. Every time I would stand in front of the mirror, I would look at my arm and that made me very afraid of leaving the house. 

It is sad how narrow minded people are. Many people meant good, and would try to console me, but not knowing how to, caused me even more pain. They would say: "Shame, it must be so difficult for you!" and "You used to do so much and now you can't!", "How you manage without your mother?"

Dear reader, choose your words carefully, and if you can't say anything nice, rather not say anything at all. Instead, rather make a secret dua. 

Yes, people stare and they stare really hard. I hear them whisper to each other "Look! She doesn't have an arm!"
Personally, I prefer people to approach me and chat to me instead of staring.

On a few occasions people greeted me and rubbed my shoulder, as if they were consoling me, later I found out it was just to see until where was my hand amputated. That really hurt me. 

Being the eldest, I feel I have to take the responsibility of doing things for my sisters and seeing to their needs, like my mother would have done, as they lost her at a younger age than I.

Alhamdullilah, for the past year, with the Grace of Allah, I manage to wake up every day for Tahjjud. I feel that really really helps me to get through my day. I perform Salaatus shukr and salaatul hajaat every day and I beg Allah to help me. At the time of Tahajjud, I make dua and I let my emotions pour out to my Rabb. Everyday I tell myself “I place my trust in Allah and hand over my affairs to Him.” The days I don’t wake up I feel very low.

Zikr really helps me calm down, whenever I am feeling down or frustrated or im trying to do something with one hand, I will start reading durood shareef or any zikr and immediately I will see the results.

Sitting with my Quraan, and reciting its beautiful words, always brings comfort to my heart.

I do have a few close friends who I confide in. I speak to them whenever I am frustrated. I am so grateful to have them in my life. They are always there for me and they never ever make me feel like a burden to them. Sometimes, all you need to do is speak to someone and it makes you feel better.

Another thing is writing. That really helped me get through most of my challenges. I would write and write until my heart and mind were at ease, although I never showed it to anyone.

For the first year, I never thought much about my future as my sole focus would be therapy and operations. But, after the first year, I started feeling really depressed and down. I remember the days when I used to sit and cry nonstop. I dreaded meeting people and I felt that I had nothing to look forward to. Alhamdulillah, with motivation and duas from my dear and dear ones, I started feeling much better. I kept reminding myself why im here. What is my purpose? Until now, I do have my down days, but I manage to pick myself up by looking forward to being reunited with my beloved ones in Jannah.

I feel I have gained closeness to Allah. I have more trust in Him. The love for this World has left my heart. I think of Jannah and Jahanam more often. What will it be like in the grave? How will I answer for my deeds? Death has become a reality for me. 

If you have lost a person who was close and beloved to you, I would say, that I know it most definitely is not easy. But remember, you aren't the only person in the world undergoing a problem or challenge. There are thousands and millions of people going through challenges. Look at those who are in situations which are worse off than your own, and find solace in that. Remember, that if you have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on and food on your table, you are more fortunate than most people. Allah tests those whom He loves best. How many tests did our beloved Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) go through and was he not the most beloved to Allah? He lost both his parents during his childhood, he lost his beloved wife as well as his children during his lifetime! What pain did his heart not experience? And it's okay to break down and to cry. When Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was reminded of His beloved, deceased wife Khadijah (ra), did his eyes not tear? Did he not get emotional? Never think that crying makes you weak. In fact, I feel stronger after I cry! Don't hold it in. Speak to a friend or write. It's not easy to lose a loved one, as no one can take their place. But when we think of them, send isaale thawaab for them, as that will help them now. Be happy for them, as they are free in the beautiful gardens of Jannah. May Allah reunite us all with our beloved ones in Jannatul Firdaus, Aameen.

To those who have a disability, I would say, if you remove the prefix dis from the word disability, you are left with the word ability. And that is exactly what you have. You have the ability to pick yourself up again and live your life. You have the ability to be happy. Never think to yourself that I can't do this or that. Yes, maybe you can't do it like how everyone else is doing it, but you have the ability to do it to the best of your own ability and thats what matters most. It is better to try and fail, than to fail to try. Never be afraid of asking for help if you need it. Love yourself and have faith in yourself and keep in mind the great rewards promised to those who are patient. If you don't have one limb, you have three others. If you can't walk, you can talk. If you can't see, you can hear. There is always something to make shukr for.

Lastly, my most important plea to all those, who have neither lost a parent or lost a limb, is to please please please cherish your mother, for you will only realize her true value once she is gone. Before it's too late, appreciate her. Never disrespect her or raise your voice at her. Always be there for her and remind her as often as possible how much you love her and appreciate the things she does for you. Spoil her, tell her to take a day off from the kitchen, massage her feet, buy her gifts, even if it's just a chocolate. Earn her duas, that is what will take you far in life. How I wish I still had that opportunity. Life without her is empty. Remember, Jannat lies beneath her feet.

JazakAllahu khayra for taking the time to read my story. Please forgive me for the length of my article and for any grammatical errors. This is directly from my heart to yours. I hope I have inspired you in some way.
Kindly do remember my family and I in your duas, especially durung these blessed days of Ramadhaan.

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