It was 6pm this evening by the time I realised I’d not eaten anything all day. My appetite hasn’t been great as of late, and as I hadn’t had my children with me today, I guess I forgot to make myself a priority and went all that time without eating.
Since we entered the holy ‘three months’ I have been ever more aware that the time is ticking down until the start of Ramadan. It was my first thought today when I realised I hadn’t eaten for so long, that in just over a month’s time, it will be a sensation that I get used to throughout the whole of the holy month.
Today hasn’t been an easy day, but despite that, it feels very poignant to write my first blog post in what must be 10 months or so. My last post in July of last year was one of hope, happiness and celebration for the first day of Eid with my family. In less than a year, the picture couldn’t be any more different.
My then husband and I split up the following month after nearly 12 years of marriage and we are now mid-divorce. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I find myself being full of strength and motivation, to having days when I just don’t see the point in anything. I have to remind myself that I have the beautiful gift from Allah of three children who are my world. They are too young to know of the sacrifices I have made, of the sleepless nights I’ve had wondering and worrying about them and their future. They are too young to know that I am physically and mentally worn down. The passing of both my parents means that I have no surviving family at hand to help. I lost my Dad when I was 16, and my Mum when I was 23, just three months after the traumatic premature birth of my son.
My children stayed with their father yesterday, which meant I had a lot of time to think and reflect. I let my whole guard down and spent most of today just weeping. Weeping and questioning, ‘why me?’. I have been through every possible heartache there is to have. Where had I gone so wrong in life to be subject to all this hurt? An unhappy childhood, the death of both parents, a disabled son as a result of his early birth and now a failed marriage. How much more hurt could a person take?
I looked through the contacts in my phone book and contacted the one person who I knew would listen to me and find reason. It was my ex husband’s sister. A girl just two years younger than me who knows me inside out. Someone who has shared every emotion with me, both good and bad. I cried more and she cried with me.
She immediately gave me a list of prayers that she advised me to read to find comfort and calm. She told me that she had started to pray her daily namaz and that she always remembered me in her prayers. I told her of my worries and troubles and she told me that Allah knows, that Allah will take away that heavy feeling in my heart and that I must not forget to be thankful for all the good I have in my life.
I told her that whilst I was out earlier, I saw a young teenage girl cuddle her mum from behind whilst they were out shopping, and that it hurt because I wanted to be that girl. She told me to think of it in the way that I have three perfect children who feel like that towards me, the way the girl did to her Mum, that one day they will become more than my children, and be my friends and companions too.
Talking to her was calming. It felt like I had my own guardian angel who was showing me the way. She had asked me if I had eaten, and it was her very words that reminded me that I hadn’t eaten since 8pm yesterday. For that moment, it felt like I had a piece of my Mum back. She told me to eat, to go shower and to enjoy the peace before the kids came back. She prayed for me, and for that moment, all seemed to be ok with the world again.
I have spent a lot of time wondering over the past months and I am still looking for my answer. Why? Why does life pan out the way it does? Why do I have to pretend to be strong when deep inside I am crumbling? How can I possibly be strong enough to be the best for my children? When will I get my happy ending?
Maybe the answers lie in what we already have. Maybe we need to stop thinking we have to compete with society and instead take a step back and focus on what is already ours.
Fasting alone this year will be tough. Last year I was physically pushed to the limits when working every day in the coffee shop we ran. This year however, I think it will be mentally tough as I try and find the answers to all of my unanswered questions. If I have overcome all I have in life so far, then I know that I certainly don’t shy away from a challenge and like the past two years, I am looking forward to sharing the journey with you all.