When Grief Came In Waves

And Grandma Taught Me A Lesson

4 min readMay 9, 2024

I was in the middle of my taraweeh prayer. The room was dim and still, a layer of serenity enveloping it all.

It was the 4th rakaah. I was making my way down to sujood, trying to remember what I needed to make dua for. I have a weird habit of almost prepping my taraweeh duas for sujood just to make sure I don’t miss anyone or anything.

As I went through my mental dua list trying to rack my brains, a name flashed before my eyes — umma.

Umma, my grandmother. May Allah have mercy on her.

In my 2023 list, I had her name down to make dua for her to have a long and healthy life. But not even a year has passed, and a Ramadan later, her name on my dua list meant a complete different type of dua.

As my head hit the floor, I felt my heart tighten, my throat close. Before I could control myself, my body began shaking uncontrollably.

And the tears flowed.

I’m not sure where this pain came from today. It had been many months since I’d felt this type of pain. It was the same searing pain I felt 9 months ago, as I lowered the sheet over her head and held her cold lifeless arm.

They say grief comes in waves. But I didn’t know the waves never ended.

Still in sujood, I saw flashbacks. Not of her in her hospital gown in her bed, struggling to speak. But flashbacks from before — of her wide smile as she made me chai when it was still dark outside, of her humming as she patted me to sleep.

I saw other flashbacks too — her hurrying to feed the workers outside our house, her earnest conversations with the shopkeeper.

Moments after moments of her love, of her giving.

The verse that came to mind

وَأَنفِقُوا۟ مِن مَّا رَزَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ فَيَقُولَ رَبِّ لَوْلَآ أَخَّرْتَنِىٓ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍۢ قَرِيبٍۢ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُن مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ١٠

Give out of what We have provided for you, before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only delay me for a little while, so I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.’

Surah Munafiqun: 10

The verse that came to mind after taraweeh that night was this. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

In this verse, Allah paints for us an image of a man in his final days, lying on his deathbed, thinking back to his life.

You’d think there would be a lot of things on his mind.

Maybe regret that he didn’t pray more salaah. Since salaah is the first deed that will be judged on the Day of Judgement.

Maybe regret that he didn’t fast for one more day. Since fasting is the deed that is specifically rewarded by Allah and a special gate in Jannah, Al Rayaan, is prepared for those who fast.

But instead, Allah shares with us that the final regret of that dying man was that he had not given enough.

Note that there is no mention of it being referred to money. This verse refers to all types sadaqah from smiling to helping someone with their bags — giving from anything you have been provided for, as Allah emphasises at the start of the verse.

Why sadaqah though?

Although I always found this verse profound, I’d always wondered why was ‘not giving enough’, the thing that a man would regret the most.

Was it because like the Prophet (pbuh) said ‘sadaqah burhaan’ — sadaqah ‘giving’ is a proof of your Iman (faith)?

That could be.

But after sitting on my prayer mat, with tears running down my eyes, my body rocking back and forth as I plead to my Lord to expand for umma her grave, to ease for her her questioning, to grant her ease like she granted us all ease in our time with her…a new realisation dawned on me.

The power of giving

While acts of worship that are done between you and Allah, stay hidden and stop when you pass away, acts of giving that happen between you and another person stay on.

The effects of your giving remain with the person you gave to, past your death and all the way till theirs. You too may have forgotten, but for the one you gave, it remains forever etched in their hearts.

When we die, people will mourn our death, but eventually move on. That is the nature of the human.

Allah gave us the ability to carry on, past the pain. But even as we carry on, there are a few people that tend to linger on your mind month after month, year after year. The ones who made you feel heard, loved or understood. The ones who went out their way to be there for you. The ones who gave and gave and gave.

These are the people who we dedicate our duas for, the ones we recite Quran after Quran for, perform umrah after umrah for.

While these beloved slaves lie in their grave, unable to pray another single prayer or fast another single day, their scale of good deeds carry on growing heavier and heavier.

Because of their sadaqah, of their giving, when they were still alive.

And that could be why the mans final regret was that he didn’t give enough. Because of how his scale of good deeds would no longer grow.

I pray we can be a source of continuous sadaqah for all, from those closest to us in our home to those on the opposite side of the world.

Ameen Ya Rabb.

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I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself. Reflecting on life and faith through fiction and daily happenings. Instagram: @tas.neemuu