Normally, I can barely think about Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, let alone listen
to it, without breaking down in tears and discontinuing the thought or play all together.
I played that album TO. DEATH. when my beloved was one and two years old. We would sing some of the songs together in our one bedroom, first floor apartment in East Orange, New Jersey. Perhaps his favorite was All I Do. When it was time, I would give him the floor, and he would belt out his tiny toddler voice right along with Stevie, “BABEEE!”
When others remember my son, they recall the five- or eight-year-old running around the masajid or helping at our restaurant; the boyish teen they ran with, causing just enough mischief to have fun yet not get caught; or the passionate young man turned leader who was gearing up to lead his people out of oppression, the youth into a bright and productive future.
I grieve them all. Separately. Together. Each moment that I am asleep or awake.
The seconds-old newborn placed upon my bare chest who greeted the world by lifting his head and looking only at me before quickly returning to sleep, exhausted from twelve long hours of labor; the five-year old praying at my side as I taught him how to worship The One Great Soul, with his face to the ground as the prophets of old had done; the six-year old who proudly completed his first book about a hippopotamus becoming president; the thirteen-year old I had to release so that he could travel to the other side of the world for an education I could not provide; the teen (justifiably) filled with anger and angst that I struggled with so we could find a balanced relationship together; the twenty-something who finally found his purpose; the man, father, and leader who had finally become convinced that education was where he could be most useful (to my absolutely glee), deciding to return to school to finish the last few semesters towards a degree, as he worked as an assistant professor at the prestigious college where he had become invaluable during the past several years, and would become a full-fledged professor (something we planned to do together).
He/they were/are all my children.
When I see the murderer and conspirators who befriended then betrayed him, smiling and living life as if no heinous wrong has been done… I am reminded:
There will be no peace for the wicked.
May Creator right all wrongs, in this world and the next, and welcome my beloved son into the most beautiful Jannah Firdous. Amin.