72

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Life will knock you down, but it will never knock down the life in you.

On the day i turned 19 my mum gave me a letter. She said that my eldest cousin who passed away 5 years ago (May his soul rest in peace) told her to give it to me when she thinks I’m ready to read it. It was so movie-like, but then again welcome to my family: expect the unexpected!

I was so shaken and scared I couldn’t bring myself to read it for the past few days. Today though, when I woke up I found myself heading towards the shoebox in my closet; the shoebox where I keep everything that’s special and dear to my heart.
I unfolded the letter and a very cold shiver ran down my spine, it was his handwriting. Over the past 5 years, I have successfully managed to eliminate everything that’s related to him from my life. I still get the usual mini breakdowns and the sleepless nights where I miss him so much, but if you try to look around, you wouldn’t find any physical evidence that he’s ever existed. In fact, the entire family decided to never talk about him again, I don’t remember the last time his name was mentioned… it all happened too quickly, he was taken before any was ready to say good-bye, it was easier to not say good-bye at all. ever.

It was an apology letter. An apology for making false promises and giving me hope when he knew there shouldn’t be any. The letter was written on the 17th of July, he went blue on the 30th. It was a letter of hope and heartbreak.

Dearest Nesma,

I don’t know how long it’s been or where life has taken you by now, but I’m sure you still hate your hair and smile at things only you understand. Before that usual panic attack arrives, this is really me, your mom is not trying anything here. You are curled up on the very uncomfortable hospital armchair right here in front of me. Menna is out for a walk. This is my chance to write to you, that’s the language you understand.

I’m so sorry. I know I did something terrible, horrible to you, and if I could take it back, I would. I gave you hope. I shouldn’t have, but it’s just all these things are happening and I need someone. You’re the only one I can talk to. You’re the only one who understands. You know that hope can never be evil, from the day you were born you taught every person in this family that a hopeful smile is the best cure for all heartbreaks. I remember when Geddo (grandpa) died, they were all crying and you were painting a picture of you and him. You’ve always been different, don’t lose that.
There will come days when life will knock you down at it’s best, but you’ve been holding my hands daily for the past 20 days or so, you’ve been that strong, you can be stronger. Hold onto your smile. My days are limited. I won’t be here forever to make sure you’re keeping that smile on your face, so please do it for me.
Life will always always try it’s best to bring you down, and that’s when you’ll learn about the difference between overcoming and leaving behind.

You are still young and you’re going to screw up a lot. You’ll talk like you know everything, but you don’t. You’ll change your mind every 5 minutes regarding decisions considered to be life-changing. You’ll grow up and you’ll learn about regret, but parallel to it, you’ll learn about letting go.
Horrible things have happened, I know. And I know that you are now angry at her, you shouldn’t be. I only wish her well. Please do too.
Men will come along and try to break your heart, maybe you should let one do it. It will help you soften. We’re all entitled that kind of pain. And when you fall in love, make sure that person deserves all the love you have to give.

Stay strong and beautiful. Stay the girl I brought up.

P.S: We don’t say good-bye. We’ll meet again someday.

I fail to know what I should be feeling right now. I wish I hadn’t left all of our pictures at your old house. I miss you. The words are very strong, and now typing them down, I feel the intensity.
Mona says I should be happy you cared that much, so maybe I’ll be happy. You want me to be happy. I get to choose an emotion, how amazing is that.

Thank you for being everything you have been through out your life and even after your death.

I love you.

And yes, we don’t say good-bye.

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