Four years ago, I lost my husband to cancer. It was the most horrendous experience of mine and my daughter’s lives. Losing a relationship spanning three decades is tough.
Tougher to bear was the behavior of three siblings of my husband who didn’t leave out a single chance to bring more pain and unhappiness into our lives. Also, the silence of the third one, who was a party to it all. The fifth one at least gave us verbal assurances, even offered to help, however, didn’t do anything concrete. However, he at least gave peace to my husband, when he was in hospital, his children came for ‘dua’, and family has contact with us.
All this painful behavior, in the garb of taking their Islamic share – they started grabbing at everything they could, while my husband was still alive and dying in hospital. The three daughters of mine, became an excuse for them. Though the same Islam made us sole owners of almost 80% of all assets, I was soon to find out that we are also sole owners of hundreds of kanals of agricultural lands that my father-in-law had put on our names in his lifetime. -A fact which my in-laws hid from me.
They were selective about which Islam they wanted to follow. I also knew that they get a share, only because they are supposed to help the family, not become bullies and stealers. Islam has very special ways of treating thieves and murderers. I wonder if they also wanted that part of Islam?
Being educated, I was not one to fall for their pressures, character assassinations and bullying. Having no son of my own, no brother and being an only daughter of my old parents, they thought I’d be a sitting duck for them. Alhamdolillah, I’m a Muslim and fully prepared to give and take all my rights and responsibilities. It’s been a very tough battle, but mainly a battle of spirit. I’ll be sharing my story with you all. But let me start with the end which I’ve had in mind always. The big question to share with you is this:
I’m sharing my story, only because every one of us, goes through trials, and in the hope that perhaps something I’ve done, or was successful in, maybe of help to someone else going through a trauma of another sort, in a similar situation.
How did my daughters and I survive?
Here is how:
- By thanking Allah at every step, even at the worst of times. The first thing was the fact that my husband’s cancer GBM IV was a painless one. When he passed away, it was shocking for us. Yet, one could see that perhaps, it was another way to save him from prolonging an unbearable condition. To accept the will of Allah is the first component. (Remember the five steps of undergoing trauma? Denial, anger, bargaining, blaming and Acceptance? If you start with acceptance, things become much easier to bear.)
- I was also grateful that the misbehavior of my husband’s siblings helped to expose their intents.
- The moment I realized my financial situation, I looked up. I had a silent ‘human-to-God talk …’
- “All that is happening to me, is in front of You. I am not going to ask anyone for anything. I know, that only You will give me all that I need. Just as You provided me all my life, I’m sure You will do so for now and later also!” After that I was calm and sure that He will certainly help.
- He did.
- At the same time, I did everything that I could do which was legal, right and correct.
- I made up my mind that I won’t’ do anything illegal or with the help of lying and deceit, as was their case. I told my lawyers that we will fight their lies with our truth. (I confess, I was lured into certain paths mostly by my lawyers, which were wrong, but thank God, I managed to save myself and my family at the crucial moment.)
- On a daily basis: We made up our minds, not talking about any depressing thing after 5 p.m. which was dusk time. We followed this rule strictly.
- My first need was to begin a normal life routine as soon as possible.
- Gratefully accept all acts of kindnesses from all my loved ones.
- Gratefully accepting acts of kindnesses from total strangers.
- One day a few months later, I sat down to write the number of people who had helped me or made my life miserable. The number of person who made me miserable, were hardly three or four. But the helpers were over sixty!
- Listen to everyone, but do what your heart tells you to do. Pay attention to your gut feeling at all times.
- Read Holy Quran translations daily. Best is to read one Siparah daily, as whatever, your situation, you are bound to find guidance in some parts. If nothing else, you find peace, courage and strength. “ La haula walla quwwata…” and “Hasbi Allah o wa neimal wakil” help a lot.
- Have fun. Listen to music, go out to watch movies, go out for dinners and invite folks for meals also. Meet friends, and make sure the conversation is not about all the miseries on earth. In such situations, everyone comes and tells you their miseries too. Stop yourself and take them to more pleasant topics also. In this way you give them the hint that ‘I’m really pleased you have taken out time for me. Now let us spend some nice time together.’
- The biggest thing that helps is Sadqa, or giving charity. If I got Rs.100/- I gave Rs.10/- So, I tried to give 10% of whatever I received. It is at times like these that you know how it feels to have no money. I regularly, fed poor people. I knew what it feels like to not know where your next meal is coming from. Just the feeling. Because, my Allah made sure I had enough not only for myself, but to give to others as well. Also, give charity.
- Read, Tahajjad which is praying after midnight. Say all five times prayers. And do ‘zikar’ or take names of Allah and God all the time. So, my God helped me in ways I couldn’t ever have imagined.
- Enjoy all His blessings. The biggest blessings were and are my family, friends, relatives, my staff and all those strangers who helped me at that time. It is they who stood by me during my toughest times. We share a bond now which will remain as long as I live.
- You face allot of lethargy: Must have a good exercise and health program. I fell short in this, and didn’t make time for my usual walks. I’ve suffered a lot due to this. You must exercise on a daily basis.
I’m just so glad, I received all the right help when I needed it most.