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As a Result of My Father's Death

Question and answer details
Suhaib Jalis Ahmed
As a Result of My Father's Death
2008-01-21
As salamu 'alaykum   I am in my late teens, and I recently lostmy father to leukemia last year – he left my mother and I alone. We were very attached to each other. The rest of my siblings – sisters – are happily married al hamdu Lillah.   Since I am old enough to take charge, I am trying to do my best at handling whatever my father used to do, for example. Handling finances etc., coupled with university education. Ironically, my first day of university was on the day that he left us.   I am proud to say that al hamdu Lillah, I am from a very humble well-to-do background, and my parents have inculcated a strong feeling for my faith since childhood. I used to recite the Qu`an regularly, pray 5 times a day etc. Al hamdu Lillah,  I have been given the chance  to go on 'Umrah multiple times, which helped to strengthen my relationship with Allah, and His beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).   Sadly, something else struck me later last year, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian caner. She was given surgery immediately, and is now undergoing chemotherapy. I can say that, that period was a test of faith for me (it was Ramadan as well), and I went through emotional turmoil. My siblings were ther to support me, but since I have always been cushioned by my parents, and I have been protected very well, it was a bad time for me. Al hamdu Lillah I got through and continuously  prayed for my mother.   But since then, I have noticed a huge change in my life, which is affecting my spiritual life. First, I am going through periods of serious depression. During those times. I have often questioned the Divine Decree, and then I regret it later. I have also noticed that I am seriously falling behind with my obligatory prayers; and when I do offer any of the salat, (prayers), I am just not focused enough to feel my relationship with Allah. When it comes to dua`aa', (supplications), I just feel helpless, and I do not know what to ask.   The types of stress that I can deal with, trying to balance education with adult life, also result in falling behind. Please help me to rebuild my relationship with Allah so that I can please Him and see His mercy in this world and the Hereafter.   Jazaka Allahu Khayrun
Hwaa Irfan
Answer
As salamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh my dear son, and may all those who read of your circumstances remember you in their dua`aa's and ask for sakina (calm) and mujahada (the ability to strive in His way) to descend upon you, insha 'Allah.

 

Be kind to yourself my son, and realize that you are indeed going through circumstances that can be quite overwhelming. As the youngest, you were protected from many things, as well as being attached to both your parents I think, so the depth of grief of the loss of your father is bound to hit you hard. It seems, as long as your mother was fine, you were able to cope, and to take on some of the responsibilities out of love. Your mothers illness was probably a shock to you, especially as knowledge of it occurred I think one month after the death of your father, and deep down, the thought of another loss has disturbed you greatly.

 

Bereavement of a loved tends to go through stages emotionally and psychologically. These unexpected emotions can overlap creating a sense of powerlessness and confusion. Sometimes taking on responsibilities and using them as a means of focus delays the feeling of loss, and so what you are feeling now is probably a delayed reaction. You were able to cope to some extent when your father died, even though you miss him bitterly, but when your mother became seriously ill, the emotions could not hold back at the thought of losing your mother as well. How one reacts to the loss of a loved one differs depending on many factors including how you were raised, what emtional support you have, and the nature of your relationship with them when they were living. One can feel:

 

  • Numb – One feels emotionally detached from what has happened, a kind of a shock.

 

  • Disbelief – Unable to accept what has happened

 

  • Anger – with the loved one for "leaving you", anger with anyone or anything that has disappointed you in relation to the loss of your father – even angry with Allah (SWT).

 

  • Guilt/blame  – about things you had wished you had done in relation to your father when he was living, or guilty about not preventing the death, or that it was your fault

 

  • Relief – that your father no longer has to suffer the illness

 

  • Obssession – by continually thinking about your father, things he did and things you did together.

 

  • Fear – that you will forget them when the bereavement process is coming to an end, because you no longer grieve as you used to do, which in turn can lead to a feeling of guilt.

 

As mentioned before, these emotions can overlap and make you feel confused, powerless and depressed, which is probably what you are feeling now. So my dear son, all in all, what you are going through is quite natural.

 

 

It is important to talk to someone about your feelings, no matter how silly you think those feelings are. You might be surprised how much it would help your mother too, if you could talk to her about your feelings around your father, and about her illness. More than likely, your mother has been going through difficulties as well as a result of the lose of her husband. She is probably feeling more alone than you, as all her children are married apart from you, and when your studies are completed and your are thinking of marriage, your relationship with your mother will change.

 

Even a widow is not alowed to greive too long in Islam, time is allowed for it, but life demands that we participate in it. You feel lethargic due to your depression, and unable to exert effort towards anything, but there limitations on how much you can share with your mother without burdening her and making her feel worse, so Who is always there when no one is – Allah (SWT). If you find your self speechless in dua`aa' to Him, then just talk to Him, tell Him how you feel, what you think, and what you are experiencing, and just talk to Him. By naming what you feel, you can be surprised healing that can be. When you have unburdened yourself to Him, you will find yourself feeling less confused, and more able to complete your prayers with your heart, instead of your tongue. You will also find that with time – a  day at a time, that participating in life, taking on your responsibilities, and doing your studies will not be as difficult as before.

 

Give thanks to Allah (SWT), that you have been fortunate to have been blessed with such parents, who gave you love, and with their love, His guidance. 

 

{ "…What is it that your Lord has revealed? They say, Good. For those who do good in this world is good, and certainly the abode of the Hereafter is better; and certainly most excellent is the abode of those who guard (against evil)} (An Nahl 16: 30)

 

 

For your further guidance, please try the following links:
Grief and Religion
Understanding Depression

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