A FINAL GOODBYE


 “I am going home to Denmark, Son, and I just wanted to tell you I love you.”

In my dad’s last telephone call to me, he repeated that line seven times in a half hour. I wasn’t listening at the right level. I heard the words, but not the message, and certainly not their profound intent. I believed my dad would live to be over 100 years old, as my great uncle lived to be 107 years old. I had not felt his remorse over Mom’s death, understood his intense loneliness as an “empty nester,” or realized most of his pals had long since light-beamed off the planet. He relentlessly requested my brothers and I create grandchildren so that he could be a devoted grandfather. I was too busy “entrepreneuring” to really listen.

“Dad’s dead,” sighed my brother Brian on July 4, l982.

My little brother is a witty lawyer and has a humorous, quick mind. I thought he was setting me up for a joke, and I awaited the punchline – there wasn’t one. “Dad died in the bed he was born in – in Rozkeldj,” continued Brian. “The funeral directors are putting him in a coffin, and shipping Dad and his belongings to us tomorrow. We need to prepare for the funeral.”

I was speechless. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen. If I knew these were to be Dad’s final days, I would have asked to go with him to Denmark. I believe in the hospice movement, which says: “No one should die alone.” A loved one should hold your hand and comfort you as you transition from one plane of reality to another. I would have offered consolation during his final hour, if I’d been really listening, thinking and in tune with the Infinite. Dad announced his departure as best he could, and I had missed it. I felt grief, pain and remorse, Why had I not been there for him? He’d always been there for me.

In the mornings when I was nine years old, he would come home from working 18 hours at his bakery and wake me up at 5:00 A.M. by scratching my back with his strong powerful hands and whispering, “Time to get up, Son.” By the time I was dressed and ready to roll, he had my newspapers folded, banded and stuffed in my bicycle basket. Recalling his generosity of spirit brings tears to my eyes.

When I was racing bicycles, he drove me 50 miles each way to Kenosha, Wisconsin, every Tuesday night so I could race and he could watch me. He was there to hold me if I lost and shared the euphoria when I won.

Later, he accompanied me to all my local talks in Chicago when I spoke to Century 21, Mary Kay, Equitable and various churches. He always smiled, listened and proudly told whomever he was sitting with, “That’s my boy!”

After the fact, my heart was in pain because Dad was there for me and I wasn’t there for him. My humble advice is to always, always share your love with your loved ones, and ask to be invited to that sacred transitional period where physical life transforms into spiritual life. Experiencing the process of death with one you love will take you into a bigger, more expansive dimension.

DEATH NEVER KILLS


“ Death is the believer’s gift.”

                              Hz. Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

 

Kübra Özgür is not at our school this year. We lost her to a deadly disease which dominated all her body a short time ago.When I heard the sad news, I really got very shocked. To tell the truth, I knew that she had a frail body and weak health and she had missed many lessons because of her health problems, but I hadn’t heard that she was inflicted with such a catastrophic illness. One day, seeing her face very pale, I had asked her what was wrong with her. “I don’t know what is happening to me, teacher,” she had answered with utmost innocence unaware of her destiny ordained by Allah.

My ex-student, Kübra Özgür’s death had shaken me to the core of my existence, bringing her vivid memories to my mind. What kind of student was Kübra Özgür? She was just an earthly angel. She had a good sense of responsibility and always she was  clever and hard-working as a student. Her black eyes used to shine with a strange magic of love and compassion. In addition to her success at the school, she had a perfect character adorned with kindness  and good manners. She was the embodiment of love and respect. These are not the words full of exaggeration to have been said upon someone who has passed away. Kübra Özgür was a creature of rarity which Allah has bestowed on us as a precious present  for a short time.

Here, I cannot do without touching the fact of death which will knock on the door of every mortal being. Death is something inevitable for everyone. However, death is not an end or worse, non-existence. Death is a door opening to an other world which is going to last forever. Death is not an eternal separation. On the contrary, it is the real unity. That is why Mawlana calls it as the day of wedding. We came from Almighty Allah and we are going to go back to Him passing over the bridge of death.

Life is not merely restricted to this world. We are going to meet our loved ones in the Hereafter. Therefore, it is not proper to remain stuck in a permanent grief and mourning over the people who left this temporary world.

Before the funeral prayer, the imam addressed the congregation gathering in the yard of the mosque, emphasizing the fact that Kübra Özgür was a girl who migrated from this world so early even before  she knew what  sin was, as pure as an angel. Thus, Allah–willing, Kübra flew away directly to paradise like a bird yearning for its real motherland. We should find joy  in this fact rather than sheer consolation and we should reflect on our situation. In a hadith it is narrated that Allah the Almigthy  takes his servants whom He likes most, early to His presence.

“If you want an advice, death is enough ,” says a renowned scholar. Death is just moving from one house to another house. However, we will be taken into an account for our deeds and rewarded or punished accordingly. So, we must prepare ourselves for death through enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, instead of fearing it.

 

 

                                   “Die, before death comes”

                                     Hz. Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

                                                                          

Turgay EVREN

English Teacher

LOVE IS DEAD


Love is dead

Since God is dead.

Tell all the pretending lovers that;

The theatre is finished,

The army is disbanded,

Our last stronghold is conquered.

Moses for the first time defeated,

Jesus once again crucified,

Muhammad, as is known, condemned to hunger and torture.

Oh Siddhartha! Return to your palace

Where love is sacrificed to lust.

Love is dead, before I said

That’s why God is dead.

 

 

Love is dead

And man is dismayed.

Let the earthquake destroy the hearts!

What difference does it make?

Mercy and compassion are two orphans,

Hungry children are my weapons

Abandoned old people,

Raped decent girls,

Civilization they call me.

I saw God for the last time, shortly before He perished.

He was a blanket on a trembling Pakistani woman’s body.

And a summer tent, for sure, sheltering another quake-hit family.    

God is dead I knew, so is modesty.  

 

 

Nietzsche, Russel and Sartre

The grave-diggers of God’s tomb!

Strike fast and hard

This is God, who knows?

He may resurrect and come back.

Patients appeal to Him.

The oppressed is awaiting yet.

The universe is missing His Face

Only His name keeps the birds singing.

The heart of history beats with His specters.

Oh my God? What is that moving out of the grave?

You gave me this mind, you save!

                                              

                  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Turgay TURGAY EVREN