Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dear Yousuf

Dearest Yousuf,
I know that you won’t be able to read this letter until later in your life but I thought I would write to you now during the experience of the situation. You have Leukemia. You were diagnosed on June 22, 2009 in the afternoon on a Monday. I remember that day crystal clear and maybe you will, too. You were a couple months away from your 4th birthday. That was 6 months ago and we are almost out the difficult phase, almost.

Yousuf, I know that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. It was ordained to happen to the both of us and to our family as an entirety. I’ve beat myself over and over again on all the “What if’s?” of the past as your mother. I have tormented myself from fear with all the “What now’s?” The truth is, it happened and is happening and that’s the way it was supposed to be. I don’t know how you interpret all of this and could never understand what it feels to be you as you sit anxiously awaiting your name to be called in the hospital over and over again. I only see the scars of all the needle pokes and surgeries but don’t feel your pain as you do. But as a mother there is no greater desire in the world than to be able to take it all away, for you to not suffer or feel one tiny prick for even a second. The pain associated with the feeling of helplessness is also agonizing.

I know sometimes you look at me and wonder why I let them hurt you over and over again. You wait for the day that I will give in to your many requests to make them stop…but I can’t. If I could I certainly would. The doctor’s goal is to cure you and mine is to ensure your safety and provide love and nurture your self-esteem. I look at you scared and worry as you are fragile in your early life and your outlook of the world is molding you right now. I admire you for your courage and am surprised by your strength. Though I can tell you are exhausted from the repeated hospital trips you surrender in trust knowing that we must be doing what’s best for you.

Yousuf, though it’s difficult to look beyond the finger pricks, repeated pokes, and nasty medicines, you have been given a great opportunity. You have a rare opportunity that not many others get in life. You see Yousuf, the secret to life is knowing how to take your medicine. Allah (swt) is constantly, testing us. You will come to find out Allah (swt) usually tests us in a way that we are forced to face our deepest fears and insecurities. It’s all on how you choose to take the medicine. Do you remember in the beginning when you would kick and scream and we would have to force the medicine anyway? Many people do that with everything in life. When Allah(swt) knows something is good for us, even when it tastes bad, He sends the cure our way. The more we kick and scream about it the harder it is on us.

This tragedy can become a mastered skill in your future. Despite my repeated prayers and hard work for you, there might be challenges in your future that will be difficult for you to swallow. Just remember how much easier it is when you choose to accept your dose and not retaliate because you always have to take it eventually. The more you ignore it the stronger the prescription can become.

You have suitable circumstances that teach you how to experience positive aspects of a situation through difficult times. We enjoy the many gifts that have been given, friends we have made and in increase of quality time with one another. You have acquired techniques and gained knowledge and experience in areas people live and die in old age and never get to see, feel and understand.

You have become accustomed to one of the “Take advantage of five before five” hadith: Take advantage of your health before sickness. Living one of the biggest illnesses one can get in this life, not only shows your strength, but grants you the importance of health.

Yousuf, Habibi (My love), I can only imagine what you’re going through. While I am in service to you by providing you a lap to sit on, a shoulder to cry on, and a hand to hold through all of this, by the time you read this you will be on your own to take your medicine in this life. Along with your reliance in Allah and reaching high levels of patience you have the faculties to conquer any test (insha’Allah) just as you are doing right now!


  1. Beautiful, I never thought of it that way before.

  2. That was just so touching.... it brought tears to my eyes as i can associate with it all fully..Hishaam was asking me to keep a diary of everything.. but i find it too painful to write my feelings.. you are extremely brave, and i admire you <3

  3. Thank you for posting your and Yousuf's experience. May Allah SWT reward you for your patience and acceptance, and may HE reward Yousuf and his family in this life and in the Hereafter - Ameen

    Umm Hamza