Losing a loved one through death changes something inside of you. And when the dead person is your best friend, your grief experience is beyond mental and physical – it becomes a sadness of the soul that is near impossible to describe in words.

On Friday 19 April 2024, I lost Meli, one of my two best friends. My life will never be the same again.

With Meli, I could laugh aloud until my belly cramped with fun-coma. With Meli, I could cry and never be interrupted once to explain why I was sobbing like a two-year-old. With Meli, we reminisced about our silly pre-Islam days of spiritual ignorance and terrible life choices, and together express immense gratitude to be chosen to embrace Islam.

We would revere at the self-proclaimed title of being the “cool reverts”. With Meli, I could just be – warts and all – and she would love me unconditionally like a soul-sister and a true friend. And now she has departed this world. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

It has been a rough few weeks for me personally, however, with the state of the current world, our Ummah is suffering through a collective grief and every day is harder than the previous day. Watching innocent children, women, and men die a brutal death from Israeli airstrikes and forced starvation has created a continuum of grief trauma.

Grief is one of the most difficult things to experience. Grief does not only occur with death but also when it feels like someone, or something has died. Like the end of a marriage or work contract or a leap from adolescence to adulthood where one feels the death of one’s carefree days.

In all of these experiences, grief brings about feelings of some form of sadness, anger, regret, frustration, confusion and many other complex emotions.

Self-Care and Kindness Strategies

The following helpful strategies of self-care and self-kindness can help manage complex emotions that arise from the experience of grief:

Speaking to a mental health professional (counsellor or psychologist) – it is a good idea to speak to a professional if you feel that grief is affecting your daily life and stopping you from accepting and moving forward.

Speak to trusted family or friends – sharing your thoughts and feelings with trusted people in your circle can help you unburden and allow you to laugh again.

Nostalgia – allow yourself some quiet time to think happy thoughts of the person you have lost. Think of the moments you laughed together and other happy or funny incidents. Also, do little things to keep the memory alive of the loved ones you have lost. For example, a photo collage, a scrapbook, donating to their favourite cause.

Journaling – If speaking about your feelings is difficult, write them down in a journal.

Time helps heal – acceptance of loss takes time. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself that time. With each salah, make duaa to surrender to the acceptance of loss.