… when I first met you, last summer. I walked in with your Daddy and you ran out to hug me, even though we had never met before. I was welcomed into a home full of smiles that reflected the good hearts of the people in it. You sat staring, perhaps shy, before following Prince’s lead and bombarding me with questions. I was fascinated by your brilliant minds and could go on talking with you all evening. My visits that year were far apart and didn’t last too long, but each one was great and got me looking forward to the next. I remember missing out for a while, only to come back and get confused for Sukaina, by your innocent self. We met again this year and my name came out right from the first time. A different summer and more frequent visits, spent sharing your lunch and sometimes dinner, answering questions and simply being in great company. I remember taking out your braids and having you fall asleep as soon as I touched your hair. I remember coming in each week for my Starfish classes, welcomed with shouts of ‘Aunty Jama’ which eventually turned to ‘Jama Baby’ by the end of my holiday. I remember that angelic smile after sharing your chocolate with your siblings and gobbling up the rest. I equally remember the look of doubt and then victory when we finished reading our first book together. On my last day with you all, you waved goodbye and told me to come back. You had me wait while you made me a purse from a mango leaf. It was your gift to me as I left, but you had already given me a greater gift… that of acceptance and a lifetime of smiles which I shall always remember.
I am comforted…
… by the celebration of your life in lieu of mourning you. I got the news and was heartbroken as I wondered what your kin felt at the time. All my life, I have never seen a family as strong as yours have been at times like this. I was moved by their faith and acceptance of God’s will. Locked up in my room, I wished and prayed that I could take courage from them and thank God for the life you have lived. I am comforted by Aunty Yassin’s words, as she tried to make the younger ones understand what had happened. I am much older than them all, but those same words put everything ‘In Context’ and gave me one more reason to smile. I am comforted by stories of your siblings’ reactions as they acknowledge your continued presence in their lives. I am strengthened by the rock on which I have leaned often: your Daddy. He epitomizes faith and has us all smiling when we least thought it possible. Where we should have comforted, we have been on the receiving end. I still remain comforted by your mother’s fortitude. It is no parent’s wish to lose a child, but she chooses to appreciate being the mother of a STAR! How much more comfort can one ask for?
You left when we never expected it and the blow truly was heavy. However, we are assured that you have only gone on to heaven, where you truly belong. Meanwhile, we thank God for your life. It was short but meaningful and you have touched many hearts. For a week, my Facebook news-feed bore testimony to the angel that you were. We have cried and we have prayed. We all have lost a gem, but you can never truly leave us. With affection, we keep you in our hearts and our minds bear sweet memories of you. While we continue our sojourn in this crazy world, we are assured of an angel watching over us from heaven. When we look up to the skies and see the stars shining brightly, we will know that our Star is up there too, shining her light on us.
We love you! We miss you! You lived your life smiling and warmed many hearts. While you stay up there shining, we will keep smiling too!
P.S It is her family’s wish that we do not mourn her and so I would appreciate it if we keep the sad messages. Join us to celebrate the beautiful angel we were blessed with and share a smile in her honour. Thanks.