As I passed their house gate, the heaviness in my heart amplified. I felt as if my heart was about to explode out of my body. I entered the house with my husband and congratulated the bride and groom and their parents and acted as normal as I could. The bride was my deceased daughter’s first friend that she had. They were friends before they were two years old. I greeted everyone, and I felt that some people who knew me looked at me with admiration for being strong enough to come, while others did not connect the dots.

I tried to avoid my friend, the bride’s mother, and mingle with others. I did not want anything to trigger a tear and upset my friend on their special day.

As the crowd grew, the anguish in my heart intensified and I felt dizzy. I felt that I needed to sit down for carrying too much of a load. As I sat on a chair facing the staircase that for many years, my daughter’s shoes along with my other children’s were placed there, since they had to take them off when they went to the second floor where they usually played. I sat with my weeping heart.  I went through memory lane; my daughter would have turned 27 this April.  My daughter’s footsteps have gone on these stairs so many times over the years of her childhood. I sat gazing at the steps and thinking of all my children and my deceased daughter in particular as this used to be like their second home when they were kids.

Two of my daughter’s friends were also there. We hugged. I wanted the hugs not to end. I felt that the feeling was mutual. Our eyes said it all as we looked at each other. I could see that they were withholding their tears while mine almost failed me. They recognized the void that surrounded me but were able to see her in me.

I am not sure if I am fair putting myself into such situations. On one hand, I feel that I want to share the joy of those I love, who stood by me in the darkest days of my life. On the other, I can fool the majority when they see me wearing my masque at these events to think that “ I am okay” and that I had healed, but I cannot fool myself and ignore the throbbing pain in my heart.

 

Randah R. Hamadeh,

Author of Summer Rays: Solace to Bereaved Parents

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Randah Hamadeh

Randah Ribhi Hamadeh is the Vice Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and Professor in Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Kingdom of Bahrain. She received her Doctorate in Community Medicine from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom and her bachelor and master degrees from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She is married and the mother of three; Omar, Qadar and Samar. Dr. Hamadeh started writing poetry following the death of her 18-year-old daughter, Samar, in a car accident in September 2006. She authored two grief poetry books in English: Longing for Summer: A Season of Grief and Summer Rays: Solace for Bereaved Parents. She also has three in Arabic: Samar Is With Us, Samar, the Sun that Does Not Set and Samar—Sunset and Sunrise. Several of her poems have been posted on her daughter, Samar Al Ansari’s blog (www.samaralansari.com) and the Open to Hope Community website. Her poems have been used in the Compassionate Friends newsletters and several grief blogs. In addition to the blog that was created in memory of her daughter, Samar Al Ansari, Dr. Hamadeh has opened a Facebook page in 2010 for Bereaved Arab Families and Friends (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bereaved-Arab-Families-and-Friends/1178621782744550) to provide a venue for bereaved Arab families and friends to get support and comfort wherever they are. Dr. Hamadeh can be contacted by email (randahhamadeh@hotmail.com) and Twitter (@UmSamar).

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