A little over 24 hours ago I met my MSA sisters to grieve the passing of one of our own. Today I'm waiting for Fajr to come in Akron, Ohio with many of those same sisters.
Our reunion quickly turned into a road trip, a pilgrimage perhaps best summarized by the subject line of one of the organizer's e-mails: "To Fatema we ride".
A quick phone call, a dozen text messages and a few hours later I was in DC picking up some sisters and joining a caravan. Early Wednesday morning we got word that the hospital had released the bodies and the janaza was set for 6 hours later. While we knew we would never make it, we wanted to go. I needed to go. So much of our contact today is removed, conducted through electronic or telephonic methods. This simply couldn't be one of them. A 30 second phone call was too little for me to believe that my friend was really gone. It was the opportunity to see her family, to see her one last time.
Our journey lasted 9 hours through the hills of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The ride was often interrupted by text messages or phone calls from our families and friends making sure we were okay. All of our parents, sibilings and bosses had been so understanding of our need to go.
Our group included Dr. Porterfeild, an amazing Georgetown Professor who had somehow secured a 12 passenger van in less than an hour. Knowing we would miss the service he still volunteered to drop everything and drive; without his efforts many people would not have been able to come. All in all we were 21 students and alumni across all faiths and races; a testament to the life of Fatema.
In pure Fatema style, her family insisted we come to their home despite the late hour. As more alumni arrived the night quickly turned into a lively remembrance full of anecdotes and scrapbooks. We honored her memory while taking comfort in each other's presence.
I've been driving and driving, arranging hotel rooms and doing whatever I can do to make the situation any better. But I know tomorrow when I see her grave I will know that there are some things I cannot fix. There will always be a wall that will stop me in my tracks and remind me of the all powerful. And when that moment comes I am thankful that I will be with my Georgetown MSAers. To have them, a group of people who know exactly what this feels like, to create this caravan of travelers and to lean on is truly a blessing from Allah.