Future and Fears

Bismihi Ta’ala


When Mama first got sick, there were times that I felt myself floating beyond reality… almost as if there was no escape from the clouds that seemed to constantly loom above us.

I would creep away into my own little world, read my little books to my little self… or escape to Khalid’s garden whenever I felt the weight of sullenness start to rain on me.

It was on one particular autumn day that I sat under the great oak tree, just humming to myself and watching the pigeons flock together, when little Khalid plopped himself on the bench next to me.

”Hey Khawlah, are you okay?”

I had been exceptionally quiet that day, and nothing had escaped his notice.

”Yup,” I said, looking away. I didn’t want to talk about it.

He said nothing before he got up and started drawing in the sand as he usually would. I could see him playing a solo game of X and O’s and as I pretended not to watch him, he suddenly turned, tossing the stick away and looked up at me.

It was just Khalid, something was telling me. I could tell him.

His grey eyes were curious as he watched me. Khalid was always so jolly.. except when he was thinking deeply, like right now. I supposed that it was moments like these when he entered my heart…reserving his place there… all that time ago.

“See that tree there, Khawlah? The one with most of it leaves fallen off?”

I nodded carefully as I looked up at him.

His dark floppy hair was all over the place and his expression was slightly pensive as we looked at it carefully. It was almost bare. It’s dry leaves were piled up… abandoned at the bottom..

“A sick person,” he continued softly.  “Their sins fall off them like the leaves fall off the tree… imagine that, Khawlah? Imagine.”

I closed my eyes to imagine. I could almost picture it.

“You know what Papa says?” He said, and I already knew it was going to be something good.  ”Papa says that the believers are payed back for any little pain or inconvenience that they may feel. Get this, Khawlah: even if they’re looking for something in their left pocket, and it’s in the right one… they are rewarded even for that…”

Wow. I sat there, a little speechless.

”Khawlah, it’s going to be okay in the end,” Khalid said, his icy eyes softening as he looked at me. “Ummi says that if it’s not okay… it’s not the end…”

I couldn’t help but smile back at him. I had heard her say that before. Khalid’s smile was contagious as if morphed into a childish giggle as he made a funny face, and I couldn’t help but laugh back.

And it wasn’t like I had poured my heart out to my friend. I was only 6. Because without telling Khalid, there were many things that he already knew. He was exceptionally perceptive. For a kid, we sometimes underestimate their ability to understand… but they do.

And it was no wonder that when Khalid had told me that, all those years ago, somehow, his reassuring words had stuck with me whenever I happened to come across anyone sick… whether it was a menial flu or a fatal disease.

For Mama, for Foi Nani, and now, even for Aadam.. as I looked at him. It was like I could just see Allah’s mercy showering down on them… just like those leaves were falling off that magnificent tree, I could almost picture their sins being shed for them. I would picture their abode being prepared for them. I would fervently pray that I too, by some miracle, be blessed with a tiny bit of what they were receiving… and it was always a comfort.

”Khawlah. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

I turned to look at my sister-in-law right then, her eyes still brimming with tears as she looked at us.

”I shouldn’t have done that,” Rubeena said from where she stood at the door. “Aadam should have been the one to say it…”

My mother-in-law stepped back as she came in,  little embarrassed about her open show of emotion, softening as she looked at her daughter. It was the first time I had seen the two of them in this kind of fragile state… so openly affectionate and empathetic… knowing that they were all in this together. I almost couldn’t believe that I was seeing this moment before my eyes. It was extremely emotional.

”It’s all my fault…” Aadam’s mother had whispered to me, just moments before. I shook my head at her… trying to convince her that it could never be.

And even though I knew that her feelings were nothing farther than the truth, if was only a reflection that in those crucial moments, these were the defining feelings that had somehow surfaced.

Guilt. Regret. Remorse.

”I pushed him so hard,” she said, shaking her head. “Always pushed him to be the best, work the hardest he could… and now see! See!”

And I suppose it didn’t even have to do with the apparent. It was just a regret that fills you when you realize that you’ve put so much effort, for so long, into the wrong thing.

”It’s no-one’s fault,” I tried to convince her. “It’s only Allah’s will. You can’t blame it on yourself…”

It was ridiculous. My mother-in-law stopped for a moment and looked at me, wiping her tears eyes as she tried to compose herself.

”Do you think he’s going to die?” She said, desperately seeking an answer as she looked at me.

And honestly, how do you even answer that? I wished I could console her, but the fact was that no-one knew what the future held. We all live in that fear of the unknown…

”Whatever happens,” I said, swallowing the emotion. “It’s going to be okay. You have to believe that. Its in Allah’s hands…”

She looked at me for a moment, slightly taken aback as she processed what I just said. She was actually a beautiful woman who I rarely got to notice, because of the way I had seen her before…

It had been a few minutes that we were in the kitchen, and as I heard shifting and Aadam clearing his throat behind us to signal his arrival, I found myself stepping away as Ruby left and I turned to look at him, still not really believing everything that I had just heard.

I still needed time to process it all. To think about how I felt. To let it all sink in.

”I’ll leave you two alone for a while,” I said, glancing at him and my mother-in-law.

For some reason, I couldn’t meet his eye. It was like my husband was no longer the man that I had known all this time. He was a patient. A cancer patient who was living with a fatal disease. How do you adjust to something like that? How do you change your mindset from thinking that you have the rest of your lives together… to wondering if you probably don’t..?

”Khawlah,” Aadam said softly to me as I passed by, attempting to  console his mother as best as he could. “You don’t have to go…”

”It’s okay,” I said assuringly. It really was.


It was my mother-in-law who spoke now, as she looked at me. I looked back with a small nod.

”Thank you,” she said sincerely.

It was just two simple words, but as they escaped her lips, it felt like every wall that had been built between us all these months was instantly being broken down. And although I barely knew it, it was that very moment that was a moment of revolution that would define our future…

I nodded and walked out slowly, still in a daze. The kids were bustling around and my mind, for once, could not settle into their tedious frame of mind. I needed to be away…

”Can we go?” I asked Aadam, now absolutely exhausted as he came out a few minutes later after assuring his mother he’ll be back to talk about it, . I desperately wanted to talk to my husband on his own.

There were so many things that were going through my mind… like an influx of information and questions that I couldn’t seem to shake…

”I’m so sorry.”

I couldn’t help but shake my head at him as he said it. Typical. He was apologizing to me.  It was so unbelievable that Aadam felt indebted, despite him being in the situation that he was. How crazy was that?

”You’re apologizing?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “You have a condition that’s destroying your limbs and organs and you’re apologizing to me? Honestly… Aadam, you really don’t even have to…”

”No,” he said softly, stopping and turning me gently to face him. “You know it’s not that. You shouldn’t have had to find out that way. I wanted to be the one to tell you, Khawlah… to hold you before and console you after and tell you that it’s all going to be okay..”

My heart shattered a little more as he said it…

Is it going to be okay?” I asked softly, finally looking up at him. ”How bad is it? Is there a stage?”

”Let me just put it this way,” he started casually,  and I could see a hint of humor flicker in his eyes. “I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow..”

”Aadam,” I said with an exasperated sigh. “I’m serious. This is not a joke and you need to take this seriously too! I need to know!”

“Okay, I’m sorry,” he said meekly, with a tiny smile. “Lets just say that I’ll pretty much be my normal annoying self for at least a few more weeks. The cast is coming off , and then Siraj is pushing me for the radium and chemo treatments but I’ve turned them down… I want to try something else, and those may also have side effects but according to what I’ve read, they’re not as bad. Obviously,  try tell a medical doctor about alternate options and he shoots you down…”

Alternate options? I was also skeptical, as I looked at Aadam. What were the guarantees? But then again… Were there any guarantees in life at all? Right before me was a young guy with his whole life ahead of him… and now he was faced with something that was completely life changing, and not only for him.

He still looked the same. High cheek bones. Dark lashes. Striking features. I wasn’t even sure how something so deadly could be living inside of this guy…

Aadam averted his gaze  as he ran his hand through his beard.

”Khawlah, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said softly. “There are going to be bad days. There’ll be days when I won’t want to get out of bed. Days when I will probably make you angry and days when I will make you cry. Days when we’re probably going to fight like cats and dogs. Days when you will hate me. Days when I might hate me too… and you’ll probably walk out on me on some days, because this is going to test us in ways we never felt before. But I want you to remember that you have to come back, Khawlah… because I promise you, there are going to be good days too. Days that will give us hope and moments within them that will be the ones that you remember forever and remind you about this crazy guy you once loved, and no matter what happens, we still fought through this all in one solid piece…”

”I will never hate you,” I said, swallowing back all the emotion that he had just brought on. “And don’t talk like that. We’re going to get through this. You will fight it.”

”Khawlah, how do you do it?” He asked, looking baffled as he met my eye. “I wished I knew, because it’s like you never need my comforting… time and time again you keep proving to me how much you can bear and I don’t understand  it. Through this all, what I do know is that Allah has given me so many bounties amidst this sickness and one of them is that He brought you into my life to be the one that’s right here to hold it all together exactly when I need it…”

“I’m not what you think, Aadam,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t half as strong as he thought but not really wanting to go into that right now.

I had fears. So many of them, because so much of my own life would change. Our routine, our relationship, our future… And every decision that had to do with it would be revisited with this new and alarming piece of information in mind.

I couldn’t help but think about how we planned everything… to the last tee. How we would be apart for the year and then move in together. How Rubeena wanted to plan the function a week after my finals are over. How we had checked to see if we could make a booking for a getaway in advance… all those plans… now on hold as we waited for this unpredictable stage of our lives to be over.

And then came the plans for the following year, that had featured more often that I had thought it would. As we get older, our dreams get bigger too. I admired my mother for being the committed mother and housewife that she was, but times were different now. Well, that’s what everyone said. Everyone in my class was applying somewhere or the other. It was expected for me to do the same… even though my heart was never in it…

“Listen sweets,” Aadam had said one day a few months before as I sat with my dilemma and googling career options… as he folded his long legs to sit next to me. “You and I are brought up differently. I’ve always been driven by education. Maybe even shoved into it. That was my mother. That’s why I think that having a career is important… but for you, maybe not. Your brothers may think differently, and your father may not like it. But you married me, and if you really want to pursue something  … I can work anywhere … I’ll come with you, yeah? I know the environment is not ideal, so I’ll take you, have lunch with you, be your chaperone… you do what you need to do. I’ll be there.. just name it…”

”Can’t I just do nothing at all?” I finally said, exhausted from all the information I was processing. “I think 12 years of school is enough to put anyone off for life.”

Aadam grinned. Of course I would do something.  I was thinking along a completely different train…

”You don’t need to work, gorgeous,,” he said sweetly. “No pressure. You can sit at home, stuff your face and shop online the whole day and I won’t say a thing. Just don’t let my mother know.”

He smiled as he said it, but I knew there was a deeper meaning to his statement right then. I understood that his mother was extremely ambitious with regard to academic studies and though she might have felt she was motivating him… I knew that the pressure had impacted negatively on Aadam as he grew up.  That maybe she had focused on the wrong things. It was always the most important thing to her. He was always pushing to get to the top… and she loved him to be there. It was when  he got there that he  couldn’t understand what the big deal was anymore…

And yes, it was precisely then when he realized how much more there is to life… and he wished so badly that he had known if earlier.

My thoughts were a jumble as I filled application papers, not really knowing what I was setting myself up for and not really caring much about it either.

It was a back-up plan that would fall in if I ever changed my mind. I had sent them in to a few different campuses and left it at that, forgetting I ever did it. Aadam was still exploring treatment options and gearing himself up for it as the holidays started and it was a rollercoaster of emotions for those few weeks as everyone found out about the battle he was facing. Everything else took a back seat. I just wanted to be there for him before the following term would dawn again.

Of course, when he returned, Ahmed’s Nikah was the last thing on my mind. With the shock of the news… there was just too much else going on.

And in the midst of it all, as I entered the house after one exhausting day trying to convince Aadam otherwise about his treatment options, knowing I was getting nowhere at all.. All I expected to see was Dada sitting on his rocking chair catching his afternoon nap. Instead, as I entered the kitchen to grab a glass of juice, Ahmed was sitting on the bar stool, almost motionless… as he leaned over some documents.

”Assalamualaikum,” I greeted, opening the fridge door while my brother barely mumbled back a reply. I busied myself with choosing the flavor I liked, calmly took of out and just about poured a huge glass of cranberry and apple juice when Ahmed’s voice spoke out.

“Can you explain to me what’s the meaning of this?” He said suddenly, holding up the papers in the air as his penetrating gaze fixed on me. “Since when did you get all these ideas, Khawlah? Speech Therapy? Property Development? Law?”

”What are you talking about?” I asked him, completely confused. It was like he was building himself up, and now it was time to erupt… with no warning at all.

“University letters,” he snapped. “Provisional acceptance. From three different campuses. You really have a hope of that!”

Woah,” I said, feeling overwhelmed as I took a seat and put my glass down. With so much going on… I even forgot about those. “Am I really accepted?”

”Don’t you dare get any ideas,” he said with raised eyebrows. “Its not becoming of someone in your situation to go and run off to campus. Besides, you still live in this house until you leave. I won’t accept it and Abba won’t allow it either…”

”If doesn’t matter what Abba says,” I said stiffly, the defiant streak in me taking over. “Or you, for that matter. I’m married, remember? I don’t think I have to answer to you…”

How dare he tell me what I can or can’t do? He had no right. He had no idea what it was being in my situation… or what I was dealing with right then.

“Please,” Ahmed scoffed. “You really think Aadam is in the position to be making decisions like that?”

“I think he’s completely capable,” I said stubbornly. I mean, he wasn’t dead. Why was Ahmed acting like an idiot? 

Ahmed’s eyes narrowed at me as I faced him, not relenting with my gaze either. I didn’t know that all this had stemmed from something else that had erupted in his own life, that he failed to tell us about. All I could see was an intensely temperamental Ahmed threatening me with his fierce looks and rigid approach, and I didn’t like it at all.

”Mark my words, Khawlah,” he said angrily, tossing the letters across the table and glancing up to look at me. “This is not Adam’s choice anymore. You better burn those letters and forget about them or I won’t let him hear the end of it.”

I know everyone is taking it a bit easy this holiday season – please bear with me if next posts are a little delayed 🌷

Keep safe and Much Love, 

A xx


Sunnah of Drinking water

Drink water while taking three breathing pauses. It is prohibited to drink water in a single gulp as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Do not drink water only in one breath, but drink it in two or three breaths.”

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13 thoughts on “Future and Fears

  1. I enjoyed this post!!! So many different feelings ❤️ and the hadeeth at the beginning. Just the comfort and hope we needed 🤗 now what’s up with ahmed… Cant wait to see(can’t help saying that😁) whenever you free sister no stress. 🌺

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lol, no it’s okay… it’s good that the posts are looked forward to… InshaAllah we’ll get there.. it’s just been a busier holiday than usual 💖 Alhumdulillah- but I will try and keep to a post every few days… InshaAllah 🌈
      Shukran sister S ❤️

      Liked by 3 people

  2. So much of emotions. . Shewh. . What a tear jerking post. . ما شاء الله. . Having hope here that all will be ok. . Thanx for the post. . I dont think she should go out to study. . Not now. . Her brain won’t cope. Maybe when Aadam recovers ان شاء الله then she should take up something through correspondence if she wants to. . Just my thoughts. .Aadam needs her right now. . Hope they move in together now instead of later. . Time is of the essence for them currently.

    Liked by 4 people

    • In fact I share the same sentiments… although for Khawlah it’s more her battle with her brother that’s probably also clouding her judgement and altering her thinking… 👌
      Hmmm… that’s an idea… but the question is, will he want to take that step at this time when he isn’t in the best of health..? lots left to be seen… I know. 💕 Shukran dear sis.. good hearing from you after so long 🌈

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Such a rollercoaster of emotions in one post, enjoying each one…
    ما شاء الله sister you’re are so talented, May Allaah take you from strength to strength with your writing skills…
    I wonder what’s got Ahmed so worked up….
    Sister Jazaakillah khair for the lovely posts with all the reminders and I know that somehow the holiday mode puts us all in relaxed mode. So take your time with the posts, just do t leave us waiting too long ⌚️

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Subhanallah I echo everyone’s good comments. Mashallah Allah bless you always.
    Allah can change anything through sadqa nd dua these two are very great in front of allah.
    Hope I’ve wrote it right.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Subhanallah these posts…..such beautiful reminders..
    Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?
    Seriously adam has such strong restraint
    Is that even remotely normal..
    Sorry for ramblings#

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol, Someone else asked me that too. I told them that maybe he isn’t really normal, hehe. Although I know of one couple who did that.. but they didn’t see each other as often, so I understand your concern 👅
      On a serious note.. if you read between some of the lines, a lot probably happens behind the scenes that I obviously won’t write about so let’s just leave it at that.
      Either way… with the sickness I expect there’ll be some change… ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Subhanallah
    Many reminders in this post.
    How merciful Allah is . Any opportunity to forgive us.
    Enjoy your holidays just remember we await the next post. Happy to know we in for a happy ending

    Liked by 2 people

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