Two Years Later:
As time passes, the death of my brother Raad becomes more of a reality. We have lost that slim possibility that maybe it was all a nightmare and not true and when we wake up, Raad will still be alive. Around this time, two years ago my son Amer went to see his uncle, followed a few days later by his sister Nada. They went to say goodbye to their beloved uncle they cared for him so deeply while I was under cancer treatment powerless, hopeless, devastated by the doctor’s announcement that my dearest brother days among us are limited.
It was so hard for me to call and talk to him, because it meant we were saying goodbye to each other, and that was something we didn’t want to do. And as his elder son Hussein told me later, it was the same for him. His loyal wife Um-Hussein, his dearest sisters Alia and Anwaar, his two brothers Saad and Salam, his closest cousin Saleh and his wonderful children Hussein, Ali, Hasan, Mahdi and Mohammad among many others surrounded him all the time. In his final month, he remained as he always was; in command of his life, never lost faith, generous, and courteous to his waves of friends who were visiting him continuously, day and night.
It was the hardest ordeal for me that I couldn’t be by his bed in his final days. It was heartbreaking for me that the jewel of our family was evaporating from existence before our eyes and we had no say or power to change the sequence of events. We were all paralyzed, physically, emotionally and mentally. Among all, I am the one who knew him all of his life. I am the one who knows him inside and out. I am the one who lived with him without any barriers whatsoever, but I am not at his bedside.
Regardless of all that, we strongly believed that a miracle has to happen. God has to interfere to save such a faithful man. Crazy and wonderful things happen in life. We have seen that in movies, we read it in many books, we’ve heard it in so many stories from our grandmothers and grandfathers. Miracles exist and we are waiting for one to surprise us. Miracles and immortality come in many different ways. For Raad, his miracle was his strong command and his unwavering faith even during his final days. His immortality translated very well, during his Fatiha (فاتحة) proceeding with the outstanding attendance by all the drives of Iraqi community members living in Greater London. I heard from many friends who attended his Fatiha that it was the largest ever. The attendance was not for the sake of anyone. He was not a billionaire. He was not an Iraqi political leader. He was not a high ranking British official. He is not a Sayad or religious scholar. The attendance was simply to share the sorrow for the loss of a very humble gentleman they know, named; “Haj Raad Al-Najafi” “Abu-Hussein”.
Farewell, brother. You made it. You had a very good life. I am proud to be your brother. Your physical departure is a reality we have to learn to live with, but to be honest, it is not getting any easier. We will always remember you, envy the legendary record of your life, hoping to follow your footsteps and walk in the same direction. You will remain in my broken heart and in my eye’s tears forever. Till we meet again, rest well Hajjie.