Losing My Dad at 27, and the Lessons He Taught Me

They say writing is a form of healing, so for the next few minutes I’d like to share my experience on losing my dad at 27, and the lessons I learnt from him as a new mother.  

They say writing is a form of healing, so for the next few minutes I’d like to share my experience on losing my dad at 27, and the lessons I learnt from him as a new mother.  

Standing around the hospital bed knowing my father had only a few days left was the most painful experience I’ve felt in my life. With my husband abroad – frantically trying to fly back to offer support for myself and baby – I was at this point, truly alone. Waves of family came in and out – but struggling with a toddler on my own while trying to grieve was hard. No children were allowed in the ICU, so I relied on extended family members and potential strangers as it was the only way I could spend a few moments with my dad during his last days. I kept reminding myself how much my father loved my son. The sheer joy when he found out he was having another grandson is something I playback in my mind during the quiet evenings I spend alone thinking of him.

During my very recent grieving process came significant reflection. Could I have done anything differently? Have I fulfilled my role as a daughter to him? What can I now do to help his journey? With many nights of endless tears, heartache and a dread to wake up to the pain I was experiencing; my toddler gave me great hope, support and love I didn’t know I needed. Seeing his smile, his giggles and little legs run across the playground gave me a sense of peace I didn’t know I could find. 

My toddler fully occupies my day, and as a stay-at-home mum – it’s busy. But with the loss of my dad came a tremendous amount of silence inside me. An emptiness I couldn’t fill except with the remembrance of Allah. As days turned into weeks, I became more present in my daily routine with my baby. It wasn’t as mundane. I began to reflect on my purpose in this world. When we leave, what do we truly take with us?  I often think about how my dad was an avid lover of the Holy Prophet and his household (peace be upon them all), all their anniversaries needed to be observed. Du’as to be recited on certain days – especially on Friday’s where we were to sit together and use our time to supplicate to Allah collectively. I find myself slowly implementing these habits into my son’s life. I remind myself that I am my father’s Thawab-e-Jaariya (ongoing reward), and I can make his journey easier through my existence in this Dunya.

This then led me to reflect on my role as a parent – the attachment I had to my dad, and the gratitude I have towards his support throughout my life, education, marriage, the list goes on. This all comes with significant investment into your child. A significant amount of time.

I was my father’s Amaanah, and he did his utmost to ensure we were following Allah’s command and to guide us to the right path.

Losing him  reinforced the fact that my son is my Amaanah, and even during the tough days, when my days are over – I’d like to know that I have fulfilled my role as a Mother- a role that Allah has blessed me with. Like I am to my father, my son will then be my Thawab-e-Jaariya

So how do I fulfil my role as a mother? Is it really a long check list of items my child needs, clubs he joins, personal academic achievements? Or is it his pure soul, developing Taqwa (piety) and understanding of Tawheed? Where do we draw the line on what makes us successful as parents? It seems to be defined by societal expectations rather than a simple understanding of what Allah thinks of us. And how do we achieve this? Is it by out-sourcing everything possible that we feel will help our child succeed? Honestly, from the time I’ve reflected- it’s being present, which is easier said than typed. Through my grieving and loneliness – giving my support and presence to my child aided and will continue to aid my ongoing healing.

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