Real lessons

This blog as we know it is dedicated to the buzz of planning for a wedding — happy things, basically. But life isn’t all the time made up of sugar and spice, and everything nice. And once in a while it would actually do us some good to be reminded of the flip side.

Which is why I wanted to write about this.

Over the weekend, I witnessed the funeral of a relative. She died young, from cervical cancer. She would’ve turned 31 had she lived up to her birthday this year.

Relative of mine she might’ve been, but I had never met her before. She was a distant relative. All that I’d ever known about her, I knew on the day I attended her funeral. I knew that she always kept her spirits high, even in the face of cancer. And the first time I ever saw her was when they lifted the white cloth covering her face to let family and friends kiss her a last goodbye.

But God works in mysterious ways.

How amazing is it that even without having spoken a word to me, without having to do anything but lay there with her eyes closed forever, she had taught me and reminded me of life lessons so easily forgotten — especially when you’re caught up with the world.

As I gazed upon her face, she looked like anyone else sleeping — just like you, or me. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? That at any moment in time, it could be you — or me, looking like we’re asleep, when in reality we’ve had no choice but to leave everything and everyone. To face the Creator. A lot of us may not even be ready.

Then as I gazed upon her lone, motionless body covered with nothing but a pure white cloth, she spoke to me about the things we strive so hard for in life — in particular the things that we ‘invest’ in so much, but cannot even take to the grave. Fame. Popularity. Status. Money. In the end, what would it all have been for?

Looking around her, there were no bags packed, no belongings to take with her, even if she wanted to. But there were people. People who knew her, and possibly people who didn’t — like me. But everyone who cared enough to be there were there, offering prayers for her and seeing her through.

The sight of so many people present at her funeral touched me and spoke to me, telling me that no man is an island. If we live a life full of arrogance and hate, and are in turn hated by others, who is going to gift us the gift of prayer when we need it? No matter how independent we claim to be, it pays to do good simply because whether we like it or not, we will continue to depend on others this way, even after we’re long gone.

And the good that you’ve done is really all you have to take you through.

Thank you for the lessons, Nor Aleena Binte Tasrif.


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