… “I’VE LOST MY CHILD”
Do you know one of the worst experiences in life, worst than death itself is having your child missing? Let me share a little of what it feels like to have a child missing. I once or twice experienced it. Not for long, but long enough, if about 5-6 hours could thus be described.
My first daughter one day as a small child, strayed off and was lost in our neighborhood. Fortunately, I was home that day when the whole excitement started around 12 noon.
My mother kicked off the search by venturing into all the neighboring houses her grandchild would normally go to for one reason or another. We waited heart in mouth to hear her come in with the news of her whereabout, but with each going and coming, nothing.
The child’s mother, my wife immediately covered herself too and with the rest of the women in the house joined in the search, scattering in different directions. After every 20-30 minutes, someone would return to base to inquire if she has been found. When given the negative answer, she would turn back and take to a different direction.
30 minutes turned to 3 hours and women in the neighborhood, started joining the search team. Worries, distress, anxiety, anxiousness and more took over the scene. Of course prayers and optimism that she’ll be found eventually kept hopes and spirits alive.
And by 4 pm, despair and panic started to set in and take hold. Meanwhile, I remained adamantly hopeful and confident in Allaah SWT, that she would be found hale and healthy. Once I realized for real my child was missing, the first thing I did was call to Allaah in a sincere, devotional supplication.
I performed an ablution and prayed 2 raka’at, in which I informed my Lord of my missing child (as if He didn’t know ahead of its happening) and beseech of Him to keep her safe and sound wherever she might be. We knew not where she was, but He of a surety knew.
He AWJ Knows exactly where she was and her exact condition. So, with confidence I begged Him to watch over her and return her safely back to us. That a sad development might not take place and leave us devastated. Thereafter, I took to the streets too.
As I walked, my eyes fell on every child of her age about 2-3 years, male or female. I tried to conjure her up in every child that passed me by, but of course my magic spell casted, kept failing. So, a father would wish that the very next child his eyes fell upon would be his little angel.
Kids sitting, running, playing, arguing together, in company of parents, sisters, brothers, in front of their houses, away from home all reminded me of the treasure I had lost and must of urgency be found before night fall.
The fear of the innocent child, helpless and alone, experiencing nightfall for the very first time without love and protection from her parents and home, created havoc in my already depressed heart. I looked up into the heavens, as if I could see God’s Face and silently prayed to Him.
I turned my sight to my right, left, then ahead in front of me and often would turn to look behind me, then scan nooks and crannies, behind a parked vehicle, a table of trade, children gathered to buy something or watch a display and so on. My beautiful daughter was nowhere standing, sitting or laughing in their midst.
Good Lord, please. A tear would well up in my eyes and I would quickly suppress it and tell myself “Men do not cry, pray instead.” But I want to cry I told myself. “Not yet” a voice within warned. “Wait first until she’s found. Then you can cry. But for now, be strong. You’ll need to be, for her mother’s sake.”
Like a robot I took one step after another, filled with all sorts of possibilities, aided by ugly and worst case scenarios from movies, dramas, documentaries, features, narrations, news and real life recounts each were crisscrossing through my mind.
Where does one start the search for a child that could barely utter a sensible, reasonable, audible word, call the name “Mummy”, talk less of mentioning her mother’s maiden name or describe her father or where her home is, just in case she was found by a kind hearted soul?
I didn’t realize when a tear broke its bank from the over filled dam in my eyes and poured down my right cheek. I quickly wipe it off and warned myself to stop that. Reminding myself that all things are transient and nothing is permanent. This will come to pass and good will be its end.
“Inna wa’adalLahu haqq” (The Promise of Allaah is true) I heard myself thinking out loud. The real existence is Allaah. All other things are of shadow existence. He is the Only One that is real. The rest of us are illusions. Everything and everyone exists for a time ordained. Not a second more nor less.
I knew it was impossible for me or any of us to find that little girl, except if Allaah (Almighty God) found her for us. I imagined our ward, then our neighborhood, our area and our locality on and on and on, till I expanded my mind to accommodate the whole world. There was simply no way I could find her, no way.
The only way was God and to Him I turned my whole mind. I prayed my most sincerest of supplication, even making a covenant out of desperation. Offering something I normally wouldn’t consider doing within my limit of devotional acts. More children and another giggled, laughed or cried passed me by, none was my lost child.
Thus my thoughts kept flowing as my feet gathered dust in count with my footage. My shoulders drooped, weighed and burdened with sadness. How can I handle her mother? What would I say that would be enough comfort or solace for a bereaved mother? The mere thought of that choked me. I didn’t want to go back home.
But, by the time I regained conscious of my where about, I was back on our street. An invisible compass had guided my return home it seemed. I prepared myself to enter back into the house, expecting the unwelcome tale that she was yet to be found. I told myself, if that should happen, I would just pray 2 more raka’at and return back to the streets to continue searching all night if necessary.
Sudddenly, one of the children in the neighborhood saw me first and ran over to tell me excitedly “An gan ta, an ga Mamima!” (She’s been found. They’ve found Mamima), holding and dragging me by my left hand fingers. Relief overwhelmed me. But instead of filling a sprut of energizing happiness, only weakness registered and took over.
I followed the excited kid into our house like a camel on a leash. I saw my daughter, my only child then, in this whole wide world of about 7 billion people, eating a meal in a bowl, placed in between her cute tiny waka-about legs. She rose her face and smiled at me and simply said ”Abba!”. And everything else, disarrayed a few moment earlier, fell back into place.
I silently thanked my Lord and prayed it never happens again to me or to anybody else.
(c)2001 Tijjani M. M./DWi
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