A Void That Can Never Be Filled But Healed
A long time ago, on the morning of the 21st of September, I, being a 7-year-old, was playing with my cousins when the phone rang. My grandma picked it up and soon tears started rolling down her wrinkled face. And then my cousins started acting weird around me. Whispering into each other’s ears and looking at me with sympathy-filled eyes. I wondered if I was looking awkward or funny. Suddenly I heard a vehicle stopping in front of our gate and I peeked out of my second-floor balcony and noticed an ambulance with a red beacon on top. I thought maybe my sick dad is back from the hospital. But the doors opened and two men wearing white uniforms stepped out of the vehicle holding a human-like figure wrapped in white cloth like chocolate wrapped tightly in a wrapper. And I realized what happened and it hit me really hard. I stepped back silently, completely shocked, sat on a sofa, and cried my heart out. I guess that was the first time in my life I cried so loudly. The man who never let me cry was gone, gone forever….
Our lives changed forever after that dreadful day. It’s been 21 years ever since but the memory is as fresh as if it was just yesterday. Whenever I think about it, I feel like I’m living that moment again with the same amount of pain.
After the period of Iddah, my mother had to join my father’s job in order to make the ends meet. My siblings and I, as being used to staying with our mother all day long suddenly left all alone. In spite of my grandma, cousins, and their parents living in the same house, the house felt empty and sad.
This void that I felt had changed my whole personality. Something broke inside so badly that I became silent and lost my self-confidence. I was scared to speak my thoughts out. I became the girl in the class who no one ever noticed. Even though my mom tried really hard to provide everything we needed with a smile on her face, there was always something that was missing. Something not materialistic but something emotional.
The father is like a shield to the family, when that shield is broken, one feels unprotected and unsure.
As I grew up, I tried stuffing that void with some other means. But nothing really helped. As time passed, I realized this void in my life cannot be filled but healed.
Here are some things that helped me heal and overcome the grief.
How to heal the void?
When we lose a loved one, it is natural to feel grief. The sadness that follows will impact our lives in many ways and each person’s journey of dealing with this loss can be different from the next person’s. It has been said, “time heals everything.” With time, the feeling of sadness subsides but an emptiness remains which cannot ever be filled again; try experiencing your void as well as you possibly can by talking about what you are missing or writing out these feelings instead of suppressing them inside where they may lead to depression later on.
What does a psychologist have to say about grief?
Grief is a complicated process that many people go through after the death of someone they love. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first proposed five stages in which an individual goes through grief:
However, she later revised her theory saying it may vary from person to person depending on their personality traits or how close they were with the deceased.
Another popular model comes from J. W. Worden, who proposed that humans must undergo the “Four Tasks of Mourning” to heal:
- To accept the reality of the loss
- To work through the pain of grief
- To adjust to life without the deceased
- To maintain a connection to the deceased while moving on with life
It is difficult to accept reality when you lose someone. It’s like a hard lump of rock that you need to swallow. Yet, with time and effort, it gets better.
Once the reality of your situation starts to sink in, it’s going to be a rough and emotional time. You’ll feel negative emotions such as anxiety, shame, guilt, sadness, emptiness & fear. It takes some time but you can get past these difficult stages towards healing.
Once you’ve lost someone, it’s hard to adjust. When you’re trying to move on with your life, every small thing reminds you of them. But instead of feeling sad or hurt try remembering those moments that made the good times so special and cherish these memories – sometimes this is all we have left now they are gone; many people’s lives change completely like mine too but I’d rather remember my better days than dwell in bad ones.
Remembering your loved one is a bittersweet moment. Where we feel happy as well as sad, because you know how much they meant to you and had fun with them but at the same time their absence leaves us feeling empty inside too.
Advice on dealing with grief according to the Quran and sunnah
There is much evidence in the Quran and hadiths showing us ways in which we can deal with grief.
This painful emotion of grief was experienced by many prophets in different aspects of their lives. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) experienced grief at many points of his life when he lost his children, spouses, and other loved ones. We see an intense emotion of Grief felt by prophet Yaqub (AS) when he was separated from his son Yousuf (AS). He grieved so much that his eyes turned white due to the tears. One of the things that we learn from these incidents is ‘PATIENCE.’
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah says, ‘I have nothing to give but Paradise as a reward to my believer slave, who, if I cause his dear friend (or relative) to die, remains patient (and hopes for Allah’s Reward).[Hadith; Sahih al-Bukhari 6424]
Showing patience is one of the ways to overcome grief. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cry and express sadness. Shedding tears as much as you want and expressing sadness is permissible but wailing, screaming, and saying something that displeases Allah (Swt) is prohibited. Oftentimes, we are so engulfed with sadness that it affects our thinking. We start to question the qadr of Allah by saying things like ‘why me?’, a series of ‘ what if’s?’ Questions haunt us. Indeed, We don’t have the knowledge of the unseen.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, “if only I had done such and such” rather say “Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever he wills, He does).” For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.’”[Hadith; Ibn Majah 79]
Make dua for the deceased and give charity on their behalf
Making dua and giving charity is the best that we can do for our loved ones. Islam teaches us ways in which we can gain rewards on behalf of our loved ones. The best way to do that is by giving charity on behalf of them. And make dua for them as much as possible
The best dua you can recite for them is
Allaahummaghfir li (name of the person) warfa’ darajatahu fil-mahdiyyeena, wakhlufhu fee ‘aqibihi fil-ghaabireena , waghfir-lanaa wa lahu yaa Rabbal-‘aalameena, wafsah lahu fee qabrihi wa nawwir lahu feehiMeaning: O Allah, forgive [name of the person] and elevate his station among those who are guided. Send him along the path of those who came before, and forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds. Enlarge his grave and shed light upon him in it.
A Reminder for us
Remember this life is a test and temporary. Allah will test every person on the earth in different ways. And this life is a temporary abode for us. The death of a loved one is also a reminder of the purpose of life. And that our soul belongs to Allah and to Him we have to return. And every single soul will have to taste death.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the guided.”[Quran; 2:155-157]
It’s just a matter of time….
Every person on this earth has to return to Allah(SWT). We will gather together in a single place after Qiyamah. And will be sent on to heaven or hell (depending on our deeds) to live an eternal life. The best part about it is that we get to meet our loved one and live an eternal life with them.
So, we lost them here in this worldly life which is really really short and temporary. It’s just a matter of some time that we will be able to meet our loved one and live an eternal life with them.
Plus, we need to strive hard to live this worldly life in a way that pleases Allah. And gain success in this world and hereafter.
I would like to end this article with one more beautiful hadith
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties.) And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts (breaks) it down when He wishes.”Sahih al-Bukhari 5644
Dealing with grief is difficult. Have patience and ask Allah for help. Try to move on with beautiful cherished memories of your loved one in your heart. Our loved ones leave an emptiness or void in our life forever. Which can never be filled no matter what but can be healed.
Of course, I will miss my dad till the day I meet him in the hereafter. But I’m trying to heal the effects it had on me one by one.