To Shakilla with love

Shakilla, your name means beautiful and your physical attractiveness attests to this. But you are beautiful on so many other levels.

Since Zanifa messaged me on Tuesday that Fareed had passed away, you have been perpetually on my mind. I’ve known Raghunath Singh’s family since I was young,  and you and Fareed since our days at Iere High School. We were all teens, then went on to become teachers. I left Siparia Senior Sec for Canada, and you went on to be principals at other schools.

You had a wonderful life with Fareed, and two handsome, intelligent sons. God’s will had aligned for you perfectly. Though Fareed is gone and memories ought to focus on the one who passed, my heart grieves for you, with you. So I write to you, friend of my youth. Fellow teacher, my table mate in the staff room, I pay tribute to you in this post. Because words of comfort and appreciation, words of gratitude, are best spoken when one is alive.

You were the glue of the social gatherings at school. You remembered everyone’s birthdays and ensured that there was cake. You planned the Christmas lunches and end of year parties, and collected money for gifts. You spearheaded my going away luncheon at the Chinese restaurant in Siparia. I scrounged up some pictures from my albums- the first one is of a few of us we took at one of the luncheons when I was leaving. Interestingly, you and Zanifa are on either side of me, with Karen. After I returned and completed my contract, you coordinated the second going away party. (Annie was also leaving and we are both sitting on the chairs. And for those who know him, our principal Rohit Ramkisson, now deceased, is in the picture with me in the red dress.)

Shakilla, you are a people-person with relational skills that few could match. You included everyone in our limes, and diplomatically handled those who disagreed. You had spirit and spunk which was always exuded with grace. Kindness and generosity marked your life, as it does to this day. In fact all the qualities I’ve mentioned above stand out, refined only by age.

After a long, long time, we connected on Facebook last year. Last year also I visited Trinidad and went down to Point Fortin to pick up my passport. Someone had mentioned that you were the principal at a school in Vessigny, so en route we stopped in to see you. But that was not your school.

I’ve prayed for you continually since I heard the news on Tuesday, and I will continue to pray. I shed tears for you because I did not know how you would carry on. I felt I had to write to you, about you. Zanifa has been very helpful in keeping me informed, thanks Zan, and I hear that you are a trooper, a strong woman, and this reassures me. Death is hard at any level, but there is an added helplessness whenever I hear of a death of someone I know, and I’m so far away.

I pray that the arms of God will continue to be your strength, that you will call on Him at anytime to uphold you, knowing that He will. May the memories of your late husband be your comfort; the special times embedded in your heart will never fade or grow dim. I pray that you remember that your tears are collected by God and bottled in Heaven (Psalm 56:8) and one day there will be no more tears. But until that time cry when you will, for your husband, your gift from God is a treasure to be grieved. And remember Eternity awaits.

I pray that from the ashes of Fareed’s death- literally ashes from a cremated body- you will rise like the Phoenix of Greek mythology, more beautiful and radiant, brilliant and purposeful. That the latter days (post Fareed) will be greater that the former days as stated in the transferable promise in the Bible.  How that looks will be unfolded, and we hold on by faith for it.

May your children call you blessed, and may you be their steadfastness as they draw from the incredible woman that you are. And may you be supported by them.

Shakilla, your name means beautiful, and you are a joy to Father God. I am proud of you.

Your friend,

Susan

P.S. Shakilla, I read your comment on Fbook “my heart is breaking but I take comfort that he is free from the pain and suffering he endured over the last two years…” I know too well about pain and suffering through challenges with my own health. I’ve added this PS to let you know that I’ve seen the other life, Heaven and Hell, and I’ve written my story of miraculous healings in Touched By Eternity which is being released in mid-April. Release from pain is indeed a blessing.

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