Sunday, August 05, 2007

One Very Small Egyptian

I have a dear friend in the tentmaker souq. He married last year, and is glowingly happy. He is a big and humorous man with the groove in the front teeth that indicates a love of the seeds so many Arabs adore. I often breakfast with them in front of the rug shop on Ta'amia sandwiches and mint tea or kakadeh. The sandwiches are always delicious and the company is fun.

All this year I have followed his wife's pregnancy with odd snippets from my friend. I have sympathised with her lack of sleep and her discomfort in the heat. I have laughed at my friend's descriptions of her cravings for odd foods, and wondered if I could offer help without offense when he detailed the vitamins her doctor had ordered in obvious concern. I have given him bits of advice about looking after her from time to time and marveled at how tender and solicitous he is.

She went to the hospital to be checked on Monday and they kept her in, saying the baby was imminent and the wrong way around. He rang me sounding worried next day saying things were not easy and he had gone back to work but he was grave and obviously worried. He said that all would be well as she was in the hands of Allah.

His best friend rang two days ago to tell me the baby had died. My friend had to choose between his wife and his son. I spoke to him and he was deeply sad. He said that God had given him this boy and he had taken him away.

He did not see the baby and did not want to.

I cannot decide if his deep belief in the justice of his God is distressing or comforting. I want to rage at the sky - this is a lovely lovely man and would have been a wonderful father.

If anyone reading this knows something I could do that might help please put it in the comments! I know the process for a funeral, but this little Egyptian did not really live, and I do not think there will be a funeral. I want to help but am at a loss.

I cannot imagine his wife's misery. I feel so sad.


Blogger QuiltMom said...

What a sad story- It is always hard to find the words to help someone you care for deal with loss. Babies are considered gifts in most cultures and it is even harder to understand why things happen. I can only suggest that you continue to be a caring friend, offering a listening ear and the comfort that only friends can bring. Only the caring of loved ones get us through when we struggle with life's challenges. My heart goes out to all of you at this difficult time.
Regards from a Western Canadian Quilter,

7:00 am  
Blogger Cairogal said...

I don't know what else you can do except offer words of comfort.

10:18 am  
Anonymous Denise said...

How terribly distressing! For muslims, the way to deal with this is to show patience (sabr) and acceptance of Allah's will. This is very difficult to do but Allah will reward the person who shows patience (either in this life or the next).
How is his wife now? Did she have a cesarean or did she deliver naturally? I would try to visit his wife. He would definately consider it an honor from you.
Hope this gives you some insight during this sad time.

3:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As with all couples who lose a loved one...listen.

My sister-in-law who lost her child nearly the same way found comfort in thinking that the little soul knew something was wrong with the body, and would come along in their next baby. So often parents who have lost a child are afraid to conceive again. My SIL always felt one child short until it occurred to her that maybe that little sould was waiting to be given another body.

12:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you could make them a quilt to honor the baby. would that be acceptable??????????

joan in indiana

12:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realise that this could be totally the wrong thing, but maybe those of us who read the blog could donate some money to an account to contribute to a caesarian for next time? I know that if I felt secure that the next time definately had a better chance, I would feel better about conceiving. Then, maybe, as another reader said, they might see the first child's soul as slipping into the next body. Lots of things take 2 attempts before we get it right. I am so moved by this story. But you will need to set up an account and publish it. I am not sure how that goes either (being 'unsavvy' in the field of internet security). But this idea might spur a better idea on...

5:56 am  
Blogger Sandy C. said...

I can say from personal experience that the best thing for you to do is to listen to them. I am sure that your friend's wife would appreciate the visit from you. I know they will have some adjustment never really gets over something like this. Just be the friend to them both that you have been to the husband. They need as many kind-hearted people around them as possible. And you seem to be one of those such people!

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

losing a child is hard; something that rips out a piece of your soul. Time allows some healing---but there is always that feeling of something missing.

Being a good friend and listening, and getting back to 'regular business' are perhaps the best things you can do.

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having suffered a miscarriage myself several years ago, I think that perhaps a visit to his wife would be an excellent idea. Show friendship and support and compassion to them both, you obviously have so much of those qualities to give. They are going to have to come to some kind of Acceptance (and yes the capitalization was deliberate) of this loss. Their faith will be the backbone of that, but they are also hurting and angry and full of questions and doubts right now, she likely even more so than he, because she has lived with this child and has a certain knowledge of him aside from what the father experiences. You know what I mean. Offer kindness and compassion and empathy as much as you are able. If you haven't experienced this sort of loss yourself, the worst thing you can say is "I know how you are feeling", but perhaps the best thing you can say is "I cannot imagine how you feel" by way of opening up some kind of dialogue.
And for what it is worth, don't tell them there will be other children. Those other children are ephemeral, just thought right now, and they pale a long way in comparison to the child they thought they would actually be holding. And from experience, even having had two more children after my own miscarriage, there is a part of you that always wonders what the child could have been or become. As for a gift, perhaps a keepsake box in which to put some of the things they had received for this child, where the memories can be stored until they are strong enough to face them. Beyond that, you have a wonderful, caring spirit. Let your conscience be your guide, and you will be fine, and I see a wonderful friendship growing even more out of this tragedy.
Hugs, Jenny.

12:50 am  
Blogger Leah said...

For me, having people acknowledge that the child existed was the most important thing. A friend also told me that my babe spent her entire life being hugged by my body, and surrounded by love. This was a nice thought to hang onto.

2:12 pm  

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