For My Brother

On December 18th, at approximately 8 pm, my brother died. His heart failed. He was at the mall, in an indoor cricket ground; the game had not started yet and him and all the others, who were family friends and cousins, were warming up and stretching. He paused just to drink some water, and the next second he was on the ground. He had a cardiac arrest, and his heart stopped beating. He did not suffer or gasp for breath, his death was immediate. The paramedics arrived straight away and tried to revive his heart. It’s said that for a man his age, 30 years old, shock treatment is normally just given twice; but all the cousins and friends around him insisted that they do it repeatedly, over 5 times.

My father was present, he had arrived immediately after one of the cousins had notified him that Bhai had collapsed. My father had called my sister and I, we had also been roaming around in the mall somewhere. Little had we known that just 2 minutes away would be where our brother would lose his life. My sister and I arrived at the scene just as the paramedics were giving Bhai the final shock treatment. I will never forget that sight of my brother lying still and limp on the cold, hard floor, his arms at his side, his legs straightened out, his eyes half-open. I’d fallen by his side and screamed at him to wake up, I had felt like maybe he was just napping, but his glassy eyes revealed that they were not registering anything, that my brother couldn’t see or hear me, that he was gone. I held his hand and patted his hair, despite the fact that everyone was trying to pull me up and away from him. I knew he was dead, but all I wanted was to touch him and be with him for as long as I could for the last time. His hand felt like it always had, slightly rough, but his fingertips had started to become cold. All those episodes of medical tv-shows may try to depict how it is when someone dies, but it isn’t until you touch and feel for yourself that you really know how it is.

It’s now the 4th day since Bhai has died. Just writing the word ‘died’ is hard. As hard as I try to force myself to listen to what people say about all of this being for the better, that it’s Allah’s will, that maybe God has a bigger plan in mind, that Bhai is at peace now and in a better place, I cannot understand it. He was so young, he’d just turned 30 in the summer. He hadn’t seen as much of the world as he’d wanted to, there were so many more places he wanted to travel to and explore. He’d never even been to Lahore, and I had always pushed him to come to LUMS so he could check out the campus with his wife and daughter and he’d talked about doing that next month but now it’ll never happen. How is there any fairness in taking a life away so soon, in snatching away a husband from a young wife, a doting father from an 18-month old daughter, in taking a first-born only son away from loving parents, in taking an older brother away from 2 sisters? Where is the justice in that?

It has felt a little better since we buried him on the 20th, I don’t know if that was because of the anti-depressant I was given or because they say that when a soul reaches its heavenly destination, peace comes along with it. Before he was lowered into the ground, he had to be bathed so that his body would be prepared according to the Islamic tradition. My father and uncle were the ones who washed him and got him ready. It breaks my heart to think that my father, the same man who’d first held his child when he was born and cleaned him and bathed him when he was a baby, had to do the same to the dead body of his son just a few decades later. We were allowed to see him after that, and it soothed me a little to see that Bhai looked a little more peaceful, I’d closed his eyes right after his death at the mall, but even at the cemetery they remained slightly open, as if he was just pretedning to sleep and peeking to see what was going on. His face was expressionless, his face pale blue and so, so cold, but it looked as if he was dressed as a traditional Arab, and Bhai had always liked doing that, so it made me a little happy to see him like that at his final stage. I hope he heard me somehow when I said I was sorry for all the times I’d hurt him and defied him, and when I said that I forgive him for any pain he may have caused me in his too-short life. I think he knows it, because every time I try to sleep, I can hear him singing. He loved doing that and I was always the one who would sit and listen to him and give suggestions to how he could play around with the song, so maybe he’s letting me know he heard me and he;s fine by singing to me.

Bhai, I don’t know where you are but everyone keeps saying that you’re in heaven, that you’ve been given a place by God at the highest stations of heaven so I hope that you’re happy there. Your sudden death has made me so angry and frustrated but if you’re okay then all of us will be fine too. Don’t worry too much about Mom, we’ll take care of her extra hard. You were the apple of her eye, remember how much you used to bug me before and try to make me jealous that she loves you the most out of all her children? I know that this is true now, you were her son, her first-born, the one she used to cherish and dote on and make kheer at 4 am if you only mentioned you felt like having it. I know you wanted to do and see so much more, that you had many plans, that you wanted to LIVE, so maybe your own death has even made you angry and annoyed, but please don;t feel that way. You may be physically gone from our world, but you live on in so many ways. Your music, your words, I will keep them alive for you, I will finish your stories. Your daughter, our precious darling Ayana, is so much like you and we will see you in her and through her as well. We will never let her forget about her Baba and tell her many stories about how funny and charming he was and how insanely he loved her. Wherever you are, I know you love her still, just as much as you did when you were alive.

I miss you so much, and I know that this yearning will never go away, it’s like a wound that will always remain open and fresh. I will miss you at my graduation, at my wedding, at the birth of my first child, at any gathering when we all sit around because you loved being the center of attention then and you would do all these hilarious imitations of people. Even now, when so many of our relatives have flown in from Karachi to be here, I feel like you will walk in any minute and start doing one of your funny Anarkali renditions. The last time we all were together like this was just 4 years ago, at your wedding, except now it’s your funeral. I will always feel your absence at every stage of my life, but now I have a reason to make an extra effort to remember all our shared memories which I would’ve otherwise forgotten over time. I am sorry for all the times I resented you, I know that you were just trying to protect your baby sister from the harshness of reality; I am sorry I raised my voice at you the last time that I was at home; I am sorry I didn’t call you or email you more often all those months that I was away from home, I wish now that we’d spoken more than just once every semester. I am glad you picked me up from the airport this time, and that we got a chance to have our usual debate about Punjabis. You always bugged me that I was becoming like them because of living in Lahore, and I always defended myself. I am also glad that in the 3 days that I got to spend with you here before you died, I got a chance to make you chai. I had been doing that for you since I was 7, and I finally got to do it one last time on the 17th, just a day before you left us.

Everyone who came to your funeral commented that, in all the years they’ve lived in Dubai, they have NEVER seen such a funeral that was ever so crowded and so completely bursting with people. Cars kept rolling in every second, and people parked miles away to walk to the cemetary. It made me happy to see that you touched so many lives in your own short life, that you had an impact on hundreds and hundreds of people, from CEOs to peons in all the places you’ve worked. You had so many well-wishers whose lives you affected positively, so many people expressed how grateful they felt that they ever knew you and it’s an amazing thing because the more hands that are raised in prayer for you, the better you will feel. People have been calling from all over the world, there are so many that we have never heard of yet they insist on telling us how you changed their lives. You lived a short life, Bhai, much too short, but even in just 3 decades, you managed to connect with and touch the lives of hundreds, almost thousands of people. They will always remember you.

You will never be a part of any family picture again, but for us, you will forever remain an integral member of the Sakrani house. You are gone, but you will live on. In our hearts, our memories, our minds, we will hold high the flame of your life. I hope you never, ever forget that we all loved you immensely and will continue to do so for as long as we are alive.

It is said that when you look at a picture of the deceased, it hurts their soul. Nonetheless I am posting a picture of Bhai, but when you look at it, please make a dua (prayer) for his heavenly soul so that he feels better.

Smiling serenely as he thinks of the next song to sing. We'll miss you Bhai.

Advertisements

24 Comments

  1. To the prefect and scout – shouting at the top of his lungs as he lead the scouts out to raise the flags.
    To the leader who’d always recite the quran in big events.
    To the brother who’s love and protection his juniors felt even from miles away.
    May you find peace in Jannah and your daughter be a constant path of savaab for you the way only offspring can be. Ameen.
    I am speechless, shocked and gutted.

    Reply

    1. I have no memories of Jawad..for I have never met him..or any of his siblings ..or his wife..or even his father. Myself and Jawad’s mother were together at the University many many years ago. We had remet after several decades…in the meatime she had become a doting mother..a wonderful housewife and a lovely mother in law to Jawad’s wife. I knew she had a son whom she loved immensely…the birth of his first daughter had brought so much happiness to the family..for a child had been born in the family after such a long time..
      Sunday morning as I lay in the bed trying to figure out what to do on this dry sunny day my cell phone rang with a familiar Dubai number but an unfamiliar voice….a steady monotone conveyed the sad tragic news…which was not too easy to comprehend or digest…Uncle I am Tehsin’s daughter speaking…my brother has died suddenly last night…groping for words which so often desert you in such striking moments…when you need them so desparately…I could not utter anything of substance…shock was what I was undergoing..at the same time trying to imagine what Tehsin would be undergoing at this moment in time…it was a tragedy of immense magnitude…something which no one wants to happen to any one…had happened to Tehsin and her family…being a father of a grown up son myself I could imagine the effort..the pain…the love…the whole life time of attention it takes to make a child grow into a young man…and within the twinkling of the eye…everything is gone…the hopes the excitement…the bright future that lay ahead..the dream of a life full of joy and of seeing an army of grandchildren…running in the house…all lay crumbled at the grounds of the indoor cricket stadium next door.

      I flew in to Dubai to…meet Tehsin and her family…to be with them in this hour of need…to comfort them..hoping that it could mitigate the level of suffering a bit…because to be among friends…with people you have spent your child hood..is always comforting. I am so glad I made the right decison..a decision I would always cherish for the rest of my life…although I was unfortunate not to have met Jawad..but meeting his father…a gentleman…I have begun to admire so much..so content with the will of God…so serene in his manners…a man any man would love to be like…and the two sisters…so loving so doting..so caring…I am glad that all of them were there together trying to brace themselves…successfully for the challenges that lay ahead of them…Good bye my dear Jawad..may you have the choicest place in heavens…for all of us liked you so much…but Allah in his infinite mercy liked you better. Uncle Masood

      Reply

      1. dearest basma
        i had never thought that i would be reading the eulogy on your brother and that i would be responding to it. such are the ways of God. your write up is very moving and i pray to God to give you and your family solace and strength to bear the loss. i cannot even imagine the pain that your mother, my friend of years, is going through. but her faith is strong and as you are a close-knit family each will be a source of strength for the other. i remember the day jawwad was getting married, tall and handsome he stood out. and when i was in dubai he was the ever considerate young man.they say that God takes away the special ones young and jawwad inshallah is in a much more beautiful place. time will ease the pain in your heart although at the time it doesnt seem so. i felt the same way when my father died and thought the pain would never go. God bless you.
        khursheed aunty

  2. ** How can ye reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return. (28)(Al-Baqara)**

    Allah has made “Time” the best healer for such griefs.

    Just pray for his soul every time you miss him more.
    I am sure you already do all this ….

    Reply

  3. i am very sorry for the loss. i think i do remember your brothers face from srilanken embassy school.
    Allah has a reason for everything and maybe we wont know till the next world.
    may allah rest his soul in peace.

    Reply

  4. salam basmah
    im one of his class fellows from srilankan school…when my freind msgd me about jawad i kept on praying Allah please this news is not true please my freind be mistaken…but its Allah’s will..n no one can compensate for ur n ur family’s loss
    i remember jawad reciting quran so beautifully in school and all used to stand still…when he used to take a brake in between all we cud hear was voice of wind and birds…may Allah giv him highest position in jannah for his deep love in recitation…
    when we were in 8th grade my brother was in 4th grade i used to see many a times in brakes that jawad used to put his tie n giv him sweets n protect him if his freinds r fighting with him…MAY ALLAH GIV ALL THE HAPPINESS N SUCCESS TO HIS DAUGHTER…
    please i cant write anymore please take good care of his daughter n family this will make him happy in jannah..
    please let me know anything i can do for him….

    Reply

  5. Hello Basmah,

    I just found out about Jawad. Everyone in my family is shocked by this news. Please accept our deepest sympathies.

    Jawad and I were classmates at the Sri Lanka Embassy International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Its still difficult for me to comprehend that the same the boy who I played played soccer and kabbadi with, the boy who had a his entire leg cut up by a doctor trying to find a rogue needle, the boy always was the top of the class, the boy who always won the Quran recital competitions will no longer be with us.

    Also please pass on our condolences to Mrs.Sakrani and family (Jawad’s mom and my grade 6 class teacher). Let her know that Mrs. Ramani Silva (school nurse from the SL Embassy school) is also thinking of her and family in this difficult time.

    Thank you Basmah for setting up this site.

    Take care,
    Ranga Silva

    Reply

  6. A.s.a. You guys will not know me. I have known Jawad since his days at Sitel (client logic)in Toronto. We had a blast together. Later he moved to dubai and then facebook came along and asked me to add Jawad and we kept in touch. The last time i spoke to him was when I was in duabi 3 yrs ago but we kept in touch online. I found out about him this morning at fajar time through a facebook update. It is very shocking to say the least. I cannot even imagine what it would be like for family. I can only pray. May Allah bless him and grant him the highest of the ranks in janna and shower his special favours on the family he left behind. Ameen.

    Reply

  7. Dear Basmah,

    I just heard today…. I do not have words to express myself and can only begin to imagine the loss for all of you. Please accept my heart felt condolences.
    Jawad was my sisters class mate at SLIES in Riyadh, I was his senior. We met again in Windsor in 2000. It was a great time. Long nights and wild stories…..
    It is only right now that I regret loosing contact after he went to UfT and I went to York.
    Wonderful and lively fellow always able to make everyone laugh…. I pray for Allah(swt) to give you all the patience to bear his loss.

    Regards.

    Reply

  8. Hi Basma,

    First off, I’m really really sorry to hear of Jawad bro’s demise! I remember him, samaiya (although, i’m few years junior to them) and mrs. sakrani very well from my childhood years in srilankan embassy school. I remember going to the sakrani household one evening in riyadh to practice my dancing routine for one of the cultural talent shows and get the feedback of mrs. sakrani, my class teacher – I was only 6 or 7 years old then. Although my memories of your wonderful family is from a very long time ago, it still remains vivid till this day. That’s why when I came across this tragic news on facebook, I was equally shocked. I pray to Allah to bless his soul and give your family the strength to walk through this tough phase. And reading your heart-felt blog about Jawad bro really brought tears to my eyes. Although, been decades and I am literally a stranger to Jawad bro or mrs. Sakrani at this point, I’m still quite sad to hear of this. As a kid in srilankan embassy school, we always looked unto our seniors whether it came to sports, grades, personality traits etc. And I remember Jawad bro being a very nice young man, usually s “prefect”

    Reply

  9. .. Usually a “prefect” and being a very good human being!! I hope Allah grants him a great place in heaven and I will pray for your family. And please give my Salam to your mom.

    Reply

  10. Hey basma,

    I really got inspired after reading your write up.

    I cannot totally relate to you but in some way or the other I can because I recently lost my uncle (phopha) and he was close to me like my father.

    I write too but since his death I just wrote one thing similar to yours but never published it. After that, I was going through writer’s block so didn’t really write anything.

    I would like to tell you, that your write-up truly inspired me and I wrote the same thing and just published it. In fact, I never used to blog, started today.

    May your brother’s soul rest in peace and be awarded with the highest grade in jannat (ameen).

    He shall always live in your heart and also of those who he indirectly left an amazing impression.

    take care 🙂

    Reply

  11. Wow, I’m so sorry for your loss, may Allah (SWT) grant your brother a place in Jannah and give you and your family patience and consolation. I think the biggest testament to your brother’s legacy is the love that he has left behind in all those whose lives he touched. It’s something that can never be replaced. There’s real beauty in a personality who’s death inspires others to live life to the fullest.

    Reply

  12. salam basma

    May your brother’s soul rest in peace and be awarded with the highest grade in jannat (ameen).

    Had read writeups of your’s it is not only the writeups or any book story it is the real pain which you had gone through and true love and feelings towards your brother.

    i dont know your brother personally but heard about him from my office colleague’s and freinds and he was a nice gentle man.

    i can understand the pain you had gone thorugh while writing these write ups.

    It is the fact of life and every one has to face, what a miracle parents can easily come to know when a child will enter to the beautiful world so they start preparing good things and plans for new born baby it take 9 months …..but it take seconds to go away from this world.

    My prays and dua is always with you and your family and blessing for little angel Ayana

    Iltemase Dua

    Tahera Rizvi

    Woking in Emirates Islamic Bank.

    Reply

  13. salam basma

    May allah give courage to you and your family, Ameen Inshallah.

    very much inspired with your words & truly believe with you that whomever we love so much not easy to forget them,when they passed away from this world.

    But it is Allah’s Wish ..I’ll always pray & remember you & your family in my prayers & Dua (Allah give’s strength)

    My wishes and good luck is always with you.

    ………….(:

    Reply

  14. Hey Basmah Salam,

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. Jawad was such a fun guy, always cracking up jokes, so talented, athletic, so awesome, and a great person (it feels so strange writing ‘was’). I can’t express how deeply saddened I am. I know that nothing I say or write makes a difference in how you and your family feels, but I just want you to know that I am praying for him, and he will always be in my prayers. I remember how much he loved you and his family; he always talked about how cool “just like him” his lil sissy was. I pray that Allah gives you strength during this time. InshAllah he is in a much much much much better place. My deepest condolences to your family. I miss him.

    Reply

  15. I knew Jawad since more than a decade while in Canada. He was such a nice, humble, soft spoken, Allah fearing,full of fun and had a great sense of humour. I always remember him to be very witty with his mom. He was one person who was always available at any request to be made to him. I will always remember him for that and always prayed for him. He was very fond of music and loved food too. He loved to prepare BBQ himself as well. He would also lead the taraweh prayers in his residential building in the recreation hall where all would assemble for it. No one expected this to happen as this is allah’s wish and no one knows His capabilities but He loved Jawad so much that he took him away from all of you at such a young age. When I was visiting Dubai last June, he came to pick me up from the airport and which ever friend visited me met and liked him very much. They, upon hearing this tragic news were all in a shock. He was the most obedient son, caring husband, a loving father and a wonderful brother to you and Sumaiya. I also remember when Jawad would return home after work, he played with Anaya who never wished the play would end. She is too little to know but eventually when she grows she will learn as to how wonderful her father was as a person and would feel proud of him too. I can imaging how sad and upset you must have been as I also remember,you, were the chahitee of his heart and he would do anything for you. May allah give you strength to bear this ultimely and tragic loss. May his sould rest in peace and he be rewarded janat e ferdaus ameen. As I am reading your articles about your brother , I can sense as to how sad you are but behold! allah is there to take care of you and your family. My prayers and blessings are with you and your family. May Allah also give strength to your parents and sister in law to bear this loss ameen.

    Reply

  16. hey basma…how r u?
    i hope atleast now u n everyone in the family have a lil more strength to cope up with the tragedy….really sorry for ur loss…though i had no direct memory with Jawad Bhai…but had tons of memories with u all…n cant even believe myself tht this all is a reality…wen i got the news i seriously felt like flyin to Dubai right away..not tht i culd do much…but it just felt the same as if my own family was hurt…just met Jawad bhai..asma..aunty ..n everyone after i got bak from hajj in nov..n withitn few days wen i heard the news…i culdnt stop cryin…may God giv HIM the highest rank in Jannah..Ameen.
    really like the way u r tryin to gather up all the precious moments of his life…thru this…People come n we all haveto go..though we forget it everytime..but a sudden departure like this is peaceful for the person who left but too painful for the ones he left behind…inshallah God got u all into it n HE will get u all Thru IT!!! Anything i culd do to help in ne way do lemme knw yaara!!!
    take care,,,
    Salam to all in the family.

    Reply

  17. Saddening news. Though I’ve not known that Jawad had a sister younger than Sumaiyya, but I do remember Jawad brother reciting the Qur’an during Assemblies at Sri Lankan school back when we were kids. Sumaiyya was our class-fellow and we often used to compete in scoring good marks over each other.

    No words can soothe the feeling of losing a loved one. I lost my mother to cancer 4 years ago. And I can tell you that the feelings that you have expressed here are real. You’ve put them into words beautifully. Its hard, really hard to lose someone. But then again, we as Muslims, need to understand the real purpose of life. We are sent here to die, this life is mortal. We all should be prepared to die. In our lovely and most complacent lives, we’ve forgotten the true essence of being sent to this planet for spending a few decades. As hard as it might be to lose someone, we must try and make peace with ALLAH SWT and thank HIM endlessly for having blessed us a past full of beautiful memories which billions around the globe are unable to even imagine. We’ve spent near-to-perfect lives, we’ve had every blessing that so many would kill to have… And one HE takes back what HE had given us, in the form of a parent, brother, sister, child, we should thank HIM for having given them to us in the first place. We all belong to HIM and to HIM shall we return.

    I pray for his sisters, his mother (our teacher), his father, his wife and his daughter to be granted patience at these tough times.

    Sorry for the late message. I just heard from a common friend today.

    HAMMAD QURESHI

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s