The war story of Palestinian mother
Mum I am hungry. I must eat…
– Don’t worry, my dear. I’ll make you a tomato stew.
I went to Um Mahmoud’s house, my temporary neighbor, searching for some tomatoes to satisfy Yusuf’s hunger. His father is at the hospital, and no one can go but me. I rushed and prayed for his safety.
I knocked on Um Mahmoud’s door several times, but no one answered. So, I went to the Al-Muqaddad family’s house across the street, hoping to find some tomatoes for Yusuf, as I hate to be away from him. But there was nothing to eat; these days of war are tougher than anything.
– How are you, Um? How are your children? Hopefully, the shelling hasn’t reached you.
– We’re okay, as you can see. May God protect us, dear.
I echoed the answer to Um Muqaddad and asked her about the tomatoes. In times of war, people can’t afford long conversations; every second might be the last. I took the tomatoes and said goodbye.
– Pray for us, dear. The situation is really tough, as you can see. We don’t want to go to UNRWA; it’s as difficult as they say.
– May God protect you and the people. It’s all a crisis, and we’ll get through it with God’s help.
Then, a loud explosion…
All I remember is a black cloud that obscured everything. I became temporarily deaf due to the force of the blast. But one thing occupied my mind: Is Yusuf okay or not?
I ran towards the street, struggling to breathe through the dust and smoke. There was a big crowd at the bombing site, everyone screaming and assisting the medics, as if it were doomsday.
– Did anyone see Yusuf? Has anyone seen a small child here?
– I don’t know, Um. The injured have been taken to Shifa; try to find them there.
I remembered Yusuf’s father, who works as a doctor there. He hasn’t returned home since the beginning of the war. I got into an ambulance to go to the hospital. All I remember is the last moment before the ambulance’s door closed. The door I closed on Yusuf is no longer there. I was afraid of the dangers from above, like any mother sealing her child from harm. Even fear during wars becomes different.
On the second floor of Shifa Complex, I met his father, in his green scrubs, exhausted from days of war and non-stop work, dedicating his life to his duty.
Yusuf, Yusuf… I didn’t say more than the name. He understood why I was here. People don’t come to the hospital for leisure.
The search for Yusuf began. “Yusuf, 7 years old, fair-skinned and sweet.” That’s what I repeated to everyone I met, be it a doctor, journalist, or a patient. It didn’t matter; all I wanted was to find Yusuf.
After several floors and searching in numerous rooms, I got tired. I tried to lift my feet, but my fear weighed me down. I sat on the nearest chair.
While his father continued to search, Yusuf’s life flashed before my eyes. I was blessed with him after years of marriage, and he was the light of my life. I named him Yusuf, and he was like the moon. He compensated for all the deprivations. I raised him, breathed him in, and every day was a new joy. I saw him grow before my eyes, play, and speak. It was time for him to start school this year, and it was hard for me. How could I part with him for eight hours every day? I waited for him at the door every day, welcoming him with a hug and his favorite tomato stew.
Leave me alone. I heard his father say it in pain. I jumped towards him, shouting that it might not be him. I tried, but he was his son, and he knew him. A father doesn’t mistake his child’s future. How could I recognize his features?
A mother’s emotions told me it’s all over. I wanted one last moment to say goodbye, but they stopped me. They wanted me to keep his beautiful image in my mind. Yusuf with his curly hair, before the war scarred it.
I don’t know who I’m writing this to, but my grief as a mother is beyond translation. How can I express it? How can I explain the years of waiting for Yusuf? He was the one who compensated for my deprivations. I sheltered him and protected him, and now, I’ve closed the door to protect him. How can a mother protect her child in a war?
I waited for Yusuf at the door every day when he came back from school. How can I wait now when Yusuf is no longer here? Yusuf left, and he was hungry. #War_Messages – The story of Um Yusuf.
Please keep Palestine in your dua. May Allah give sabr to the families who have lost their loved ones.
The war story of Palestinian mother
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