Tribute to my late brother Abdikarim Abdullahi

On 30 August 2021, my dear brother Abdikarim Abdullahi Hussein died in Buulaburte. It took me almost three years to put the painful feelings of his departure into writing. I was reluctant to write about the death of my beloved brother and the heavy emotions and pain I felt when he died.

Abdikarim died at noon while I was sitting next to him. I had a bottle of water in my hand that I had been using to help him wet his mouth while I was reciting the Holy Quran to him. Family members and relatives were in the room and were also praying to Allah for him. His wife, Hawa Alasow, called her children and asked them to sit in the room and accompany their father in this difficult moment. My uncle, Ali Barrow, who was sitting next to me told me that my brother was dying. He asked all of us in the room to read the Quran and remind him of the Ashahada. He then told us that life had already left from his legs. It was a bizarre and difficult thing to accept. I had never believed in this. I finally saw my brother breathing his last breath. My uncle was right. My brother died after less than 3 minutes. That was when I believed what my uncle was telling me was true. It was a harrowing moment to witness in my life. I asked myself many times about what was happening during these minutes and the complex situation I found myself in.

A week before, I was called and informed of the sad news that the health situation of my brother was deteriorating and that he might die soon. I decided to travel to Buulaburte the next day and see how I could help him. When I arrived in Buulaburte, Abdi was in a coma.

Several months ago, we found out that his liver situation reached the final (cirrhosis) stage and a doctor in Mogadishu predicted that he could only live for about 6 months. The only chance for my brother to live longer, the doctor said, was a liver transplant, which is too expensive and has never been done in Somalia before. That evening, I received the bad news while my brother was lying in a hospital bed with his daughter and two of our sisters around him. I looked at him thinking how I would convey this message to my sisters as the Syrian doctor conveyed this message to me in English. When I told the news to my sisters with a grim face, they did not believe me. A few weeks later, Abdi, who was staying with me in Mogadishu for several months, was flown back to Buulaburte. I arranged a pickup and said goodbye as he headed to the airport. It was the last time he would visit me and my house in Mogadishu.

Abdikarim had had a problem with his liver for many years. I vividly remember him complaining about his stomach and using traditional treatments. He did not treat the problem well, and he did not discover the liver condition early on. He came to Mogadishu many times for treatment, but he did not get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Several hospitals failed to indicate the deteriorating situation of his liver. Were they concealing the news? I suspected so. Even when the liver situation reached the cirrhosis stage, no hospital told us this information except that Syrian doctor at the Kalkaal Hospital.

Although Abdikarim was in a coma when I traveled to Buulaburte, he started to regain consciousness about two days after I arrived. He asked me where he was. I told him that he was in his house and that I had come for him. He cried, probably realizing how critical his situation was or not expecting me to travel to Buulaburte for his illness. We did not have much hope that he would get his health back but did believe a miracle could happen and that Allah could make him healthy again.

One night, around midnight, I was called and asked to come to Abdi’s house as his situation had deteriorated. Three of our sisters were staying with him in addition to his wife and children. My brother Abdifatah and I ran into his house. We started reading the holy Quran and giving him some milk. He got slightly better, and we got a couple of hours of sleep. In the morning, he was getting weaker and weaker.

At noon, while I was at home, my phone rang. Liban Dirie, a relative who was also a neighbor, informed me that I should come immediately as Abdi was in a terrible situation. I ran into the house. The house was full of our siblings and relatives. Two of my sisters started crying although Abdi was still alive. He was about to die, but as I said above, I did not believe it. After a few minutes, my brother breathed his last breath and died. I cried. I tried to look strong and control my emotions, but I couldn’t. For the first time, I felt the pain of witnessing the death of a brother. I lost my father when I was 12 years of age.

We started planning for the burial. I was the oldest among the boys in Buulaburte, so I started leading the funeral preparations. When everything was prepared, we decided to take my brother to the main mosque the next morning, on 31 August 2021, to pray the Ṣalāt al-Janāzah (funeral prayer) there before burying him.

When we reached the mosque, I saw hundreds of people waiting to pray the Ṣalāt al-Janāzah and accompany us to the burial site. This was the moment I started crying. Youth in the town decided not to go to the football playgrounds as they usually did, and instead prayed the Ṣalāt al-Janāzah and accompanied us. People in Buulaburte arrived at the mosque in high numbers. I felt heavy emotions when I saw the crowd and as we prayed the Ṣalāt al-Janāzah. When someone came to me to convey condolences, I cried. On our way to the burial site in the Bari neighborhood, I couldn’t stop weeping while inside the vehicle. But I managed to hide my situation from those around me who were listening to a recorded speech of a religious sheikh that the driver played in the car. For the first time in my adult life, I felt a very heavy emotion that I had never felt before.

My brother was buried on 31 August 2021 in Buulaburte. It was a very painful experience to witness the departure of our beloved brother. He was 56 years of age. He was a close friend and a humble man. When our father died in December 2000, he was our eldest son and had stood in the place of our father to all of us. He left us too soon, but his memory will stay with us. May Allah reward him with his Jannatul Firdowsa Al-Aclaa. Aameen.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *