Saudi Arabia, Abdullah and Coping

The love of my life has been gone for three months today.  It still feels surreal to me that he is gone.  I realize part of my acceptance or lack thereof of his death is not having been with him when he passed away.  I was not there to have that final goodbye or be able to wash him for his burial.  I was not there to say goodbye before he was laid to rest.  As a result, I’m still struggling for peace.

I cannot express vividly enough how much I hate cancer.  Cancer took Abdullah away from all who loved him too soon.  Cancer is also what kept me away from being with my husband and taking care of him in his last days.  I’m still battling my own cancer.  Some days I do feel so tired I ask myself is it worth the fight.  Then I have to remind myself of what would Abdullah have wanted for me.  How would he expect me to face this battle without him?

Abdullah was not a quitter and he put up a valiant fight with his cancer until he took his last breath.  I know he would expect the same of me.  No matter how tired I may feel, I’ve got to keep fighting.

I recently attended a Relay for Life rally.  This rally is to remember and honor those who lost their battle to cancer and to celebrate those who have survived the battle.  The rally kicks off with living survivors walking around a track in celebration.  It is a very emotional event.  While survivors walk around the track, onlookers are on the sidelines clapping and cheering with every step taken.  As I made that walk as a survivor I let the tears fall freely down my face.  I felt that Abdullah should have been beside me as I walked.  I confessed that thought to a friend who was with me, a fellow survivor.

Small white bags filled with sand and holding a candle bordered the entire walking track.  My friend took my hand and led me to one of the bags.  Little did I know that the bag would contain the inscription “In memory of Abdullah.”  Yes, my friend knew how I would likely feel and wanted to show me that Abdullah was not forgotten and a part of the rally.  Of course I cried harder on seeing his name but I also felt some release and relief.  After I had my cry, I was able to continue walking along that track with my head higher and imagining that Abdullah was beside me with our hands entwined.

There’s no polite way to put it…Cancer sucks.  It really does.  And it is going to take more Relay’s and other awareness campaigns to raise the necessary funds for a cure to this hateful disease.  In a few short weeks, I am going to be part of an official Relay for Life team.  I am trying to raise awareness and funds for the cure.  You can help too.  If you’d like, you can support me.  Click on this link to read more of my story and why I think we all must join together, regardless of faiths, locations and nationalities, to combat the ugly war of Cancer.

I lost my husband to cancer.  I am still fighting my own battle and unsure of its conclusion.  Let’s fight together to increase the odds for survival and better yet, a cure.  Support me and Abdullah’s memory.

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23 Responses

  1. I lost my father and two aunts to cancer. Cancer is not only deadly, it’s an illness which gives extreme suffering to the patient and the family and friends who watch the person suffer.

    Carol, I pray for the eternal peace of his soul and for your complete cure soon.

  2. What a beautiful post, Carol.

  3. Cancer is common in my family, especially in my mom’s side. The Prophet, salAllahu alleyhi wa salam, said that there was a cure for every ill except death. InshaAllah we will find the cure for cancer.

    Allah give Abdullah the hightest jannah for his fight and you for your patience ameen

  4. Please, keep fighting. Abdullah would want you to. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

  5. My father died of cancer. Like yourself, I couldnt be with him when he died, but I was lucky enough to travel back to the US when he first got sick.

    I wish you luck on your battle and hope God grants Abdullah heaven, Insha’Allah.

  6. Thanks all. I keep being told that grief heals over time but in my case, the grief at missing Abdullah seems to get stronger each day.

  7. @Carol,

    When I have lost loved ones over the years I actually found that initially it was EASIER to deal with it. It is after, months or ever years later, that it gets harder. I just think as humans we are able to adapt and learn to cope better. So the grief doesnt go away we just find ways to adapt better to it.

  8. Carol,
    I feel your pain; hearing your story makes me so sad.

    As my father lies very ill, I, too, cannot be with him. He calls my name, confusing someone else for me – and that makes it even harder.

    When it gets really difficult (and to cope), I write letters to him. He cannot read at this stage but these letters are for myself addressed to him, It helps a bit though. How nice it would be if I can phyiscally be with him.

    May Allah have “rahma” on Abdullah’s soul and keep him safe. He is free from worldly pains. May He grant him a high position in Heaven and give you the patience and strength to bear with this great loss. May He give you good health and remove all sickness from you. Ameen,

  9. Carol, my heart goes out to you after losing the love of your life to cancer. Now you are fighting your own battle with this horrific disease. You are such an inspiration to other American girls living in the Middle East. You have the best blog in the region and I look forward to your posts daily. God Bless you and I know you can beat this!

  10. I think it’s a great cause. I supported some of my family who did the same thing.

  11. Dear ABedu,

    Really very sorry to hear about your loss. May Allah forgive your husband’s sins, and give you & your family immense strength to fight this misery.

    I sincerely wish for you recovery from this awful condition of cancer. May Allah bless you with good health and long happy life. Ameen!

  12. Thanks all. And if you are able (no pressure) please do support me in the Relay for Life. I wish that there were such Relay’s and other activities in Saudi as there are in the States which bring knowledge about the disease and a multitude of support for families and those with cancer. I’ll be writing more on this subject.

  13. @Sameera,

    Welcome to American Bedu and thank you for taking the time to comment with words of condolence and support. I really do appreciate that and it is uplifting to my spirit.

    Best Regards, Carol

  14. Bedu…

    A Cushion for your Head – by Hafiz

    Just sit there right now
    Don’t do a thing
    Just rest.

    For your separation from God,
    From love,

    Is the hardest work
    In this
    World.

    Let me bring you trays of food
    And something
    that you like to
    Drink.

    You can use my soft words
    As a cushion
    For your
    Head.
    _______________________________

    My Prayers, hopes are with you Bedu.

  15. I am doing a workshop on coping with grief and loss at the moment. We were reminded this week that there is no single “right” way to do grief. It just is. Whatever we feel is what we feel and so is “right” for us. There is no “correct” order for feelings or time frame. The counsellor said that sometimes people feel like they are “failing” grief (!) because they don’t feel things in the order mentioned in a book or on the same time scale. We are each unique and each experience is unique and so our reactions will all be different (within a broad overall commonality of experience). I must also add that when people say things get better over time, I assume they mean years and decades… Certainly from what I have seen (and experienced) the big griefs take a long, long time to ease, but there are little baby steps all along the way every now and then and times when one realises how far one’s come in the journey, as well as times when it still overwhelms. The depth of the pain usually reflects the depth of the love that was present.
    All your friends wish you lots of love and support, Carol! We are all walking beside you on this journey. We cannot feel or share your pain, but we are there all the same, wishing you well with every step.

  16. Oh Inal, that poem is so beautiful! Truely, our hard work on this earth is from our feeling of separation from God. So profound.

  17. Inal, Claire,

    Thank you both so much for the comfort.

  18. As Salaamu Alaikum Dearest Carol:

    I can partially relate to your pain and grief. My former husband died while in Cuba on “vacation.” We now know that he somehow knew it was time (he was struggling with HIV complications), and he went to Cuba because he loved La Habana more than anyplace in the world. None of us got to see him or anything except my BIL who went there and arranged for cremation. When we think of my former husband, we usually smile. In a weird way, we’re all still waiting for a postcard, or looking forward to his return.

  19. @Safiyyah,

    Thank you for sharing. I think that not being there when a love one passes away makes closure more difficult.

  20. Dear Carol,
    Cancer sucks!
    I was struck by how not being there for the last hours must have been hard and how the burial washing might have given you some small modicum of peace. I am so glad you have a good friend –who took you to that small pouch of sand–to be with you. Courage in your struggle.
    Jean

  21. Thank you Jean!

  22. [...] 21 May, as I participated in an American Cancer Society, Relay for Life event, I did feel close to Abdullah.  I certainly felt that his aura or presence was there.  Why, you may likely [...]

  23. [...] began and ended in Saudi Arabia where my beloved may rest in peace.  My own journey with cancer, without Abdullah, the love of my life, continues in America. There is no polite way to say it, regardless of [...]

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