A week before my sophomore year had begun, my emotions were all over the place and not just before of first day jitters. I honestly didn’t know how to feel, but I knew something was off. My body was no longer at ease. All I knew was that I was supposed to feel something I just didn’t didn’t if it should be pain, sadness, awe, angry, or grief. I knew my mom felt something but I couldn’t interrupt what she was feeling either. I only had one specific memory that I could base my emotions off of.
The first time I met him was at a Fourth of July cookout at my brother’s house. I had to be around eight or nine and he was a year younger than me. I distinctly remember our conversation. We were talking about our zodiac sign and how we were a year thirteen days apart. Even though we were connected by blood I didn’t know him enough to feel a strong connection, but I did feel some sort of hurt because I knew this situation was not okay. What brought me the most discomfort was the fact that no one felt the need to tell me what had happened; I had to find out through Instagram. The funny thing is, if it wasn’t for my older cousin pointing it out I would’ve kept scrolling. Even though I have around 25 first cousins we still should know each other or at least be aware of each other’s existence.
My uncle has seven kids in total and I only knew about three of them existed until the Janazah (Islamic funeral), but I still didn’t meet all of them because the youngest lives in Florida with his mother and stepfather. I love my uncle to death but I felt a little anger towards, yet I was still hurt for him. I was sad because I knew my “ fun young” uncle’s light would be dimmed. As much as my family pretends that everything is okay nothing will ever be the same. There will always be a hole in my uncle’s heart that will never be filled because of the lost of his son and that’s what hurt me the most.
On August 22nd of 2018, Mu’aawiyyah Jalil Meekins was taken off life support and it felt like the world was at a standstill. It was sad that he had died but there was a slight feeling of peace. There were no more long nights or early mornings at the hospital nervously waiting for any sign of life. Since majority of my maternal side are Muslim, we had to move quickly because the burial had to place no later than three days and my uncle asked if the gathering to be at my house. I knew I wasn’t going to the viewing or the burial because I knew there was going to be a lot of people and I’m too emotional for funerals. My mom and I had a day in an half to clean the house. There had to be at least 400 people at the Janazah and at least 150 of them came back to my house. At first I was annoyed because all these people that I didn’t know were at my house and my mother constantly kept telling me “Be nice, they’re your family.”, but it honestly didn’t feel like it.
I knew eighteen out of twenty five of my first cousin and most of us were extremely uncomfortable. I’m not really a people’s person so I tend to be very distant to people I don’t know and I found myself doing and so did my mom. My cousins and I had realized that, that day wasn’t about us. We had to understand that we have to people to these that our parents call family. When I did eventually open up to “my family” I felt comfortable with them.
It was sad that we had to get together as a family because of the death of a young one but on the brightside we finally got to meet, and I can thank Mu’aawiyyah for that. He brought us together as a family and we are forever connected. Once everything was over, I realised that you never know how important something is until it is taken away from you.