When she heard the news of her father’s passing, my mother realizing she doesn’t have anything black to wear (it is tradition to dress in black for forty days in the death of an immediate family member in Egypt), bought herself a nice French-made black blouse. She was overseas and pregnant with twins (my sister and I). I can’t possibly imagine the state she was in at the time.
“What’s the matter, mama? why are you looking at this black blouse like you have seen a ghost”
My mother shifted her gaze towards me, took a deep sigh and said, ” now we wait for someone close to die…”
My mother was organizing her closet, ( storing Winter clothes to give room for Summer clothes–as she did at the end of each season) when she came upon her father’s blouse. Since that time, she managed to wear it a couple of times before the blouse disappeared forever. The blouse only appeared right before news of someone passing– the news usually came within forty eight hours time. And then it vanishes, no matter how hard my mother would look for it, it only shows up bearing news of death.
This particular time after my mother found the blouse in my presence, I received a phone call hours later– two of my good friends died in a car crash(they were seventeen years old). I was devastated, and demanded she gets rid of this dreaded blouse. We turned the place upside down, but we both knew it was gone.
…Quraan recitation was blasting through loud speakers in a hall attached to my childhood mosque. When the reciter stopped for a break, my mother squeezed my hands and with a faint voice breaking with gasps of grief said :
“I did it Nermine, I finally managed to get rid of it today”
“What are you talking about?”
“The blouse… the black blouse. She has given me her final news, my mother rests by my father’s side tonight”
Please read the fatiha (the first chapter of the Qur’an) on my friends and grandparents souls, may God have mercy on their souls, Amen.
forgive me for the sad post. This is unlike myself, but I’ve been remembering death lately, and this little memory visited me late last night. (No more caffeine before bed!)