I woke up the next morning…thinking what a nightmare…then I realized it was reality.

Muslims bury the dead quickly like within the same week…or within a couple of days.

So Yama’s funeral was on 12/18/12.

After the person who passed away is buried, the family holds a prayer at the mosque. The Quran is recited and food is served. Immediate family comes back to the house and the rest of the guest head home usually. Then, every Thursday for the next forty days, there is a religious ceremony held with the immediate family. On the fortieth day, a special prayer is said usually at the place the person pasted away if possible. Then that is it.

So lets review… Burial, Memorial, Thursday Night Prayers, fortieth day of death.

The days leading up to his funeral are a complete blur. I went to work and I went home. There were still a lot of people in my house. And, honestly, the drama was unreal. You would think that all of these people from all over the world have come to pay their respects but it felt like they were there to fight their own battles. That’s just people honestly. There is ALWAYS DRAMA whether it is a wedding or a funeral.

This was upsetting because I lost my brother and all of these assholes are sitting here talking about bullshit from hundred years ago. He said this..She said this..etc. It doesn’t even matter. We will all die..just like Yama.

The day of the funeral was hard. I didn’t want to go to the funeral. My grandma refused to go. I didn’t want to watch my oldest brother go in the ground. We didn’t buy a casket instead we used a white sheet. What does it matter if its a white sheet or a casket. Your in the ground regardless. We went into the viewing room and all the seats were taken. I sat in the front and I couldn’t believe that Yama was in the viewing casket in front of me.

He had just been bathed by my father, Uncle Karim and the Muslim priest. They wash the body and recite prayers over it. It is a cleansing bath. After the bath, your not suppose to touch the body.

Hazel, Yama’s ex girlfriend was there. Yama’s wife, Nazira, was there as well.

A family friend said his obituary. I wish I did it or one of the siblings. This man didn’t even know Yama but it was just to hard for us. A picture of him in his suit from his wedding day sat next to his casket. There was so much crying all around us.

The Muslim priest asked close to kin to come up and view the body one last time. Nazira jumped out of her seat and ran towards Yama. She kept yelling “please don’t leave me!” We grabbed her in time but we were also confused by her actions. I will explain this later in the story.

All five of Yama’s brothers and sisters walked up to the casket along with his parents and his wife. We stood over him with a sense of protection and love. No one can hurt you now big brother. It was really hard.

He looked beautiful. He looked eighteen again. He had a smile on his face and his eyes were shut. The swolleness of his body was gone. He looked like he was at peace. I could still remember that moment when I close my eyes. I see him laying in that casket. I stood next to my brother, Adres. It was such a private moment but all of these people were standing behind you wanting to see the body like it was a show. There were a lot of screams and cries from the women. I walked outside a couple of times because I needed a moment. I remember that my ex best friend was sitting with me.

The men finally carried the body out. Muslims don’t want women to be at the burial site because the spirit of the dead person is watching and everyone is naked. Kind of funny LOL.

So women stand and watch from afar.

Geeti didn’t listen. She walked with the men to the burial site and she stood next to my Uncle Azzim. I was walking over to the site but it was to hard. I couldn’t do it.

I stood by myself and watched from a distance. I think my ex best friend was standing next to me but I can’t remember.

I do remember my dad going into the grave and lowering my brother down into his final resting spot. How did my father do that? I have no idea how his heart let him do such a difficult task. Then each man standing there took a small amount of dirt and threw it into the grave.

An image from my thesis for my Master’s degree. I did a graphic novel on the death of my brother.

I started to walk away. It was to hard to watch my brother being put into the ground and now buried. I kept thinking how will he breathe down there..oh wait..he isn’t breathing. Then I would think about how he is here…all alone and all of us are going to be leaving.

An image from my thesis for my Master’s degree. I did a graphic novel on the death of my brother.

The weather kept changing. One minute it was cloudy, then raining, then sunny and so on. It was the universe gift to my brother.

An image from my thesis for my Master’s degree. I did a graphic novel on the death of my brother.

The rest of that day is a bit fuzzy. I know we went to the mosque and set up the tables for people to eat and for prayers.

When we finally got home…everyone was tired and depressed.

Muslims believe that the first night in the grave is the hardest. It’s when the soul is asked about their good deeds and bad deeds. It is said that the soul wakes up in the grave. We all must answer for our actions.

I stood in the kitchen with my siblings and some of my cousins. We all spoke about the last time we saw Yama.

I shared that the last I saw Yama was Thanksgiving but the last time I heard his voice was a week before. He came to my room at 6am. My door was lock and he kept knocking on the door for me to open it but I was asleep and I did not want to get up. He kept saying “fat fish”….get up. That was the last time I heard his voice.

After I shared this story, Geeti started attacking me. She said, “why didn’t you just open the door…what was wrong with you?” She made me feel so bad in front of everyone. I already felt bad. I knew I had messed up but she was rubbing salt on my wounds. I will never forget the way she made me feel..ever.

I got up and I walked to my bedroom. I just sat in the dark for a while and cried. It was the time of cry where you feel hopeless and there is nothing you can do. I couldn’t change anything. I couldn’t save my brother and I couldn’t change my actions.

My brother, Hasib, walked into the room and saw me. His wife was with him. He said whats wrong and I told him what happened. He looked at me and said…”don’t listen to her. It isn’t about that one moment, it is about your relationship with him overall and you guys had a great relationship. We both know what Geeti’s and Yama’s relationship was..so she shouldn’t be pointing fingers.”

Hasib and I have always had a strange relationship. Were close but not like normal siblings. We don’t talk all the time but we have love for one another. It’s a sibling bond. I know if I call him for something..he will have my back.

His wife…aka my sister-n-law sat with me for a while. I told her to pray with me. It was my brother’s first night in the grave all alone…please pray for his soul with me is what I said. So we sat and we prayed.

To be Continued


2 thoughts on “Yama: Chapter 5

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