Bilal and my oldest the night before we left Baghdad. December 2006.
My husband is here from Baghdad for a short visit. We spend a lot of time at his parents' house, with his cousin 'A', here from Baghdad, attempting to move on with his life. 'A' is mashaAllah, in good spirits, not only laughing, but most importantly, making all of us around him laugh. He's brought a beautiful touch of Baghdad back here with him.
We sit with him and listen to his stories of Baghdad, and reminisce with him. He mentions his brother, Bilal, Allah yirhamuh, often. When we're eating, taking pictures, playing. He shows us old videos and photos. I realize how everything reminds him of his brother, and of home. But I'm impressed by his ability to stay strong and cheerful and to make everyone around him smile and laugh. I see him when he has his dark moments, but he manages to move on. May Allah keep him strong and cheerful always.
The other day we were sitting and he was going through his wedding pictures. A day of celebration and smiles and happiness. Flipping through those pictures was like looking at a summary of Baghdad today. 'A' pointed at the people in his picture, 'This one was killed, this one left the country, and this one, May God grant him freedom, was taken.' Three fourths of the people in his photos had left Baghdad, or been killed, or were kidnapped by one force or another. And these pictures were from less than three years ago. In such a short period of time, life has changed so much for these people. SubhanaAllah, if I knew the future, I would do so much good.