Dear Baraka Api,
This message is long overdue but I know you don’t mind. I’ve been putting if off because it’s hard to find words that even come near to doing you justice. I would often jokingly call you a perfectionist but the truth is you admirably strove for perfection in so many aspects of life and were close to perfect in so many ways. There were times during your two year and nine month battle with that horrible disease that I would feel very sad about the whole situation but when I would see how happy and positive you were, I had to ask myself how I could be feeling like that. At other times, I would forget you were ill altogether because you were so upbeat, active and busy! You handled so many challenging events with such elegance and grace Masha ‘Allah, I don’t know how you managed it.
You showed remarkable bravery to fight until the very end and equally remarkable wisdom to accept that the outcome is ultimately never in our hands. Despite all the hardship you went through, you had something that very few people really have; peace. There were moments were I felt it when I spent time with you and when I hugged you.
As for memories with you; there are too many to choose from. From my childhood in Dubai, a few include: ice skating, eating those Chocolate Sundae ice creams, patiently tutoring me and Abdullah, attempting to make a bookmark business and, of course, that time when you had to hide the Gameboy in your room and leave your laptop camera on to make sure we didn’t go searching for it (desperate times call for desperate measure eh – we really were playing it too much). I must now admit you were the smartest in the family; you helped me with academics right from primary school (with countless pieces of homework and projects) and I’m pretty sure I would have failed a few of my GCSEs without your help (especially French). Despite my consistently last minute requests you were always willing to help and you kept helping even after your diagnosis (you thankfully cut out a lot of nonsense in quite a few of my cover letters). I remember the motivational pep talks when I was feeling nervous before exams and when I was feeling lazy. For all that help, you never asked anything back and I remember how you were never disappointed when I couldn’t help you with something (for whatever inadequate reason). I remember your warm smile, your comforting embrace, your calming voice, your profound poetry, your affectionate teasing, your lovely laughter, our pleasant conversations at the dining table and our deeper ones during some of the evenings. Even though you are no longer with us, I can still learn so much from you from how you lived and what an incredible person you were.
Baraka Api, you were the most kind, gentle and understanding person I have ever known. I am honoured to be your brother. I miss you so much but I know you are in a far better place now – I hope I see you there.
I will never forget you. I see you in the stars.
You live on in my heart- always,
Love you sis,