نظرتي للحياة

 

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

تعلمت من الحياة أن لا أصدق كل ما يقال دون بيان، وبأن الإنسان لا يدرك ما يحسه الغير حتى يمر بما مر به الغير…

تعلمت أنني في الحياة قد أواجه أناس مختلفين، لكني على يقين بأنه مهما يفعل هؤلاء عليَ أن لا أعاملهم بالمثل. وذلك لكيلا تبدأ سجيتي بالتحول إلى مالا يرضاه الله تعالى ولا يريد أن ينقاد له العقل ولا يحسه القلب…

تعلمت أنني بشخصيتي أثبت وجودي وعليَ صقل مهاراتي وخبراتي لتتأقلم مع التغيرات من حولي، لكن ليس علي محو شخصي وكياني لتماشي رغبات غيري…

التمست أن كل ما يحدث في هذه الدنيا الزائلة إذا عدنا واطلعنا عليه سوف ندرك بأنها أمور بسيطة، ولا يتوجب علينا أن ننقاد إلى الغضب واليأس والكلل. فكلما فكرنا ونظرنا للأمور بإيجابية، توصلنا إلى الحل والمهم الوصول للحل وليس البكاء على ما مضى حيث أن المفتاح يكمن في التعلم من الذي مضى وتجاوزه والمضي قدما نحو المستقبل المشرق من خلال الواقع المبهر…

 

 

Understand Grief to Better Offer Your Sympathies

Do you find that you avoid people who have had a death in the family? Do you feel awkward when you are around them? Maybe you trip over your words or say something and immediately think how dumb it sounded.

One of the reasons it is so hard for people to know what to say is that they aren’t familiar with grief in the same way. They may not have lost someone close to them so they aren’t sure what words would make the person feel better or worse. When you take the time to understand the grieving process, it makes it easier to know what to say.

Grief Happens in Many Ways

No two people grieve the same way. One person may cry a lot while another may seem stoic. A mother with young children often has to pretend that everything is fine even when it isn’t. Just because a person doesn’t act the way you would expect doesn’t mean that they aren’t grieving.

Don’t be oversensitive. Don’t spend time analyzing your every word to figure out how the other person will react. Most of the time, the bereaved person appreciates the sentiment even if the words don’t come out the right way.

Be prepared for intense and extreme emotions. Don’t assume that what you say is the cause. The person is feeling all kinds of emotions and they can vary from one moment to the next. While something may trigger a change in emotion, sometimes it just happens. Unless you are intentionally cruel, what you say is not going to make the person feel worse.

When Silence is Golden

Sometimes a person’s presence is all the comfort that is needed. Just sitting in silence can let the other person know that he or she is not alone. This is especially true for the first few days after someone’s death. The family may receive numerous expressions of sympathy and just appreciate the quiet companionship.

Physical contact can speak volumes, sometimes even more than words. A hug if you are close to the bereaved or even a pat on the arm or squeeze of a hand lets them know what you can’t say in words. It’s a gentle reminder that they are not alone even though they may feel like it.

A Listening Ear

Sometimes the person who needs to do the talking is not you. The grieving family member may need to talk about his or her feelings and your job is just to listen. Offering a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen can be the best way to offer your sympathies in many cases.

You may hear stories about the deceased or other random thoughts many times. You don’t need to feel like you have to respond other than to show that you are listening. For the other person, the healing comes through talking.

Understand how grief works in different people so that you can offer the right message of sympathy to a grieving loved one.

The Season of Strong Will

raya4new

Hello Dunia,

So that sneeze in my last entry was as predicted the start of a mild flu, which is really strange as I have taken the flu vaccine and so far it has not been that cold in London, so I don’t really understand what and why this happened. The good news I managed to get all the birthdays done and dusted, it was a very tiring experience I have to admit, I am not good at surprises and rarely do they work, or rather as usual, I expect too much and want to give my friends and loved ones the best thing which is not easy.

December is now here; a strange month one that brings back painful memories yet is also a filled atmosphere month in London, where you actually get to see a different side to my favourite city in the world.

Like I have told you before I really dislike winter, as it means I can’t go out as often and there are more viruses, flus and illnesses around, so I am more likely to catch something. I have a weak immune system and respiratory problems, a slight cough could be lethal in my case. Yet, December is different, in my view it is the only month in the year that the people of London are seen smiling in the streets, their faces full of joy and excitement with an overwhelming feeling of giving; be it to charities, friends or family.

Although I am not keen on cold weather, I do love going out during December. Seeing all the pretty lights and decorations on the streets, shops, cafes and houses, hearing school children singing festive songs in the market, people shopping, smiling and generally looking happy. I was out buying presents for my friends who celebrate Christmas and, as usual, people were staring or looking at me, especially Arabs or Muslims. This is something that has always puzzled me, why am I, or why are disabled people in general, an alien creature in the eyes of Muslims? What made this incident interesting is it involved children.

As I was driving my wheelchair at full speed trying to beat the cold weather I saw three children with their mother who kept looking at me and pointing as they spoke to each other. When their mother came, instead of telling her children not to stare and point, she told them to thank Allah for their blessings.

I heard her. To make her realise that I’m an Arab and understand what she said, I laughed loudly and said ‘Hello’ then drove past. Ten minutes later I drove past another family, but in this instance they were English and as the son was staring at me, his mother pulled him to the side and told him: ‘It’s rude to stare, if you have a question ask’.

Honestly, I was not bothered by either encounters as I am used to such things, especially from children, but what made these instances stick in my mind was the reaction of the two cultures. Two mothers from different cultures, one told her children to ‘Thank Allah for their good health’ while the other decided to teach her son basic manners, the manners that Islam teaches.

I remember reading once that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH ) warned against staring at people with disability as it hurts their feelings more than the physical pain that they may be enduring. Why does Arab/Muslim culture tend to forget such examples set by the Prophet and get taken away with cultural ideas and society’s conventional rules?

I am sorry Dunia I am not in a very positive mood, like I said December is a very difficult month, and when I tell you I am sure you will think this is a dubbed Mexican soap but it is true. On new year’s eve my eldest brother died – weird the one day where the entire world unite in celebration and joy we remember one of the darkest days that we had to endure. This happened 20 years ago and we have accepted it and moved on, but seeing mama during that whole month as she tries to hide her pain, pains me more. Ten days to go to the actual day, I wonder what will happen. Nighty!

The Other

raya4new

Hey Dunia,

October has come and gone, my birthday has passed and autumn the best time of the year is about to finish but not before I prepare for November, the month of birthdays for almost every close person to me. It is my niece’s 10th birthday, the nearest person to my heart, plus it is my brother in law’s birthday, 5 friends and….hmmm someone special to me.

I think the time has come for me to tell you about ….him, I won’t name him to you because I would rather he remain nameless, no it is not because of trust, don’t be silly, but I just feel human attach too much information to things which decreases their beauty. Mystery has a special magic that is lost in the open and I want him to remain a mystery for as long as possible, or maybe I fear if I utter his name I will lose the ‘fairy tale’ aspect of this ‘dream’ I am fighting to keep, yet at the same time I know it is not meant to be. Maybe in another lifetime, or in a different world things could change, but in our world, my ‘person’ will forever remain a fairy tale that will never end, for there can never be a happy finale to it like all tales. It is strange, I always give names to all my gadgets and soft toys, even my wheelchair has a name; Speedy Spectra, but for humans I try to keep them nameless, I have no idea why I do that.

Although I am life’s greatest advocates for details, as they are the main source of information that guide one to make adequate decisions, but on this particular subject I don’t think details matter. I am not seeking approval or want guidance, I am simply telling you about an important person in my life, any other details about him are irrelevant. I will tell you the basic, though he is a mixture of personalities, and you can never guess what he will be like yet he has the kindest heart, the noblest of characters and one of the wisest people I know. He is my friend before anything else, I’ve known him for more than 7 years, I liked him the instant I laid my eyes at him, had this intuition that something special lies in him. Don’t get excited Dunia, it is one sided and in silence, and that is the way it will remain, because I believe he deserves someone different from me. I am not a pessimists nor melodramatic, but why pursue a path that will lead you to pain. Plus I have major guilt issues, I hate restricting or limiting people because of my special needs, so how can I be with someone knowing all that.

Anyhow back to November, few days after his birthday he suddenly vanished, stopped replying to my messages and calls, I thought maybe it’s his usual ‘time out phase’, I told you Dunia, he is complicated and moody so you never know when he will just take off suddenly. He likes to have alone time, so I usually just wait and I did that this time too.

I decided to keep myself very busy so I don’t dwell on his absence and I did that, pushed myself to go out with friends, started writing articles and blogs and went around libraries distributing posters of a disability awareness page that I have created. Simply I was not idle at all and that kept my mind occupied, I was determined to plan the perfect birthday for two friends who deserve spoiling more than most, and I also wanted to reach a certain number of followers for my disability page before its 2 years anniversary, which also happens to be the last week of November.

You know Dunia, I might not be the strongest but I am very patient and determined, so once I set myself a task I often achieve it, and I was adamant that I keep busy and active.

Atishoooo… Oh oh! I really hope I am not getting a flu…I better go and take a hot drink Dunia. Adieu!

Flying Cups and Saucers

I have wanted to write this post for quite a while now. No, this post is not about aliens or spaceships (pun intended, especially when a Bollywood movie about an alien is running quite successfully at the local theatres). This post is about the umpteen number of paper / foam cups that literally keep flying on the Dubai roads. Agreed that the mochas, lattes and karak chais are quite the local favourite in our city, especially in the ‘winter’ season, yet some of the educated masses forget all ethics when it comes to getting rid of the cups. This further adds to our city’s municipality’s woes, who are doing a commendable job in ridding Dubai’s streets of waste.

A look around our beautiful city will clearly depict an abundance of waste bins; be it streets, metro stations, malls, offices, shops. You name it, there’s a dustbin. In fact our city municipality has even gone to lengths to drape the city’s street waste bins with colourful images of flowers etc. Should we not then restrict the urge to let the cup fly by while driving on E11 or one of the other numerous roads? This problem gets aggravated especially on the highways, where the speed limits are higher, hence the motoring community feels that they can probably get away with it as no one will really notice a paper cup being tossed out of a speeding car at 100 km/h.

There is no doubt that our city is a beautiful one indeed, whether it is towering skyscrapers or gardens, snaking metro viaducts or the plethora of flyovers, none of them look good with flying cups. I humbly urge our community to continue enjoying the mochas, especially while the weather lasts; just be responsible enough to toss it in the bin, instead of letting it fly away and then collect as an unsightly dump.

That Day

I lost myself that day

The day you crashed and burned away

For years I kept it locked away

Till one day I was forced to face the pain

And I broke down that day

When I heard your voice on tape

Then I broke down everyday

Listening to your voice on replay

But I had a friend who never walked away

No matter how much I pushed the world away

She stayed and helped me lock it away

As she knew there was no other way

I could survive the rest of my days

Cuz I lost myself that day

The day you crashed and burned away

Goodbye

Lying under the stars

Lying in the dark

Even the moonlight was dull that night

We both knew we have to say goodbye

There was a lot of love

But that love wasn’t enough

To fill up our world

So we smiled and we cried

While we slowly drifted that night

There was so much to untangle

Our hearts were so fragile

It was more than we could handle

So we smiled and we cried

Knowing we had to say goodbye

 

Wondering Paths

Careless Birthday

I have kept you waiting to finally learn what happened on my birthday outing, well after the Chinese restaurant’s failure at providing a suitable table that would be of an appropriate height and their unwillingness in offering an alternative to what seemed like a wasted trip, my friend who in my eyes is a mix of fairy and miss fix it, went searching the other restaurants within the Shard for tables that were wheelchair friendly and to find out if they had an available table. Luckily she managed to find a place; it was an American restaurant with a much less rigid atmosphere to the Chinese one.

I am not very comfortable in big exclusive places; I guess such locations make me feel as an outsider, like it is not my world, rather a fake and pretentious atmosphere that lacks feelings. The tables were low and we had a big window opposite us that overlooked the whole of London – all I could think about at that precise moment was ‘is that what it is like to be on a flying rug that travels the world?’ and inside my head the Carpenters song was playing at full volume ‘I am on the top of the world looking down on creation….’ I could not stop smiling. I was sincerely happy and beaming. As a rule when out with my friend I have to try a new thing and move away from my comfort zone and so on this occasion I ordered two things that I have never tried; octopus which to my great surprise was very yummy, and another dish that consisted of humous, aubergine and cheese which was also quite nice.

I returned home feeling very blessed and fortunate, full of hope and ideas; I have developed a great hunger for achievement and eagerness to do so many things. But most importantly I had this deep feeling of content.

This was the first part of my friend’s birthday surprise, the second was an afternoon tea at a new and quirky hotel with a group of friends, again I was oblivious to what or where we were going and did not expect all of those people to actually come, then everyone sang happy birthday to me and I blew the candle with help from my friends as I don’t have enough strength, and yes of course I made a wish but not going to share it with you Dunia.

I am joking, I just wished that the happiness I was feeling never ends.

That week I realised many things that are too long to list, but I came across this anonymous poem which magically expresses everything that was filling my head and soul:

We look to the universe for answers we seek,

but the answers are closer than any of us think.

There in all we see, if you just look around.

and in a close friend they can be found.

I’ve been down so many paths,

and around so many rivers all dead ends.

I found and lost so many friends.

I’ve been from shore to shore;

now I’m on the road, I’ll wonder no more.

People are put on our paths each and every day,

some to help others to get in the way.

Some are complicated beyond belief,

others are there for some relief.

others there to bring you grief.

Some are there to help you grow.

The difference is for you to know.