Written By: Nina

A few months had rolled by as I was trying to pick up the pieces after leaving my marital home. My best friend announced she was getting married and I was filled with joy for the girl-now-turned-woman who had been my companion since childhood.
I sat among the guests at her wedding, watching her shine in all her bridal glory.
As I sat, I was overcome by a huge heavy lump in my heart while tears burned my eyes. My mind had drifted back to my own wedding. Flashbacks of the henna that had adorned my arms the night before, making me shiver with cold, the beautiful heavy red and cream embroidered dress, family rejoicing with laughter and typical wedding squabbles ….and plans.
I had planned to marry, to move, to pave a new way and find a new haven. I had held visions of a future, family, travel, old age. Side by side, hand-in-hand.
As I sat quietly gulping down the incredibly painful sobbing, I realised I had lost it all. I had lost my future. I knew it was all gone. How did I end up here with nothing but a black shadow in front of me?
I couldn’t understand my emotions at the time. I was elated for my friend, I did not miss my ex or what we had. Ironically, I missed my future – the future I had envisioned, my hopes and dreams gone.
During the same time period, my friend Saima stumbled upon something she hadn’t known about her husband, leaving her broken and soon-to-be-divorced. She felt lost, confused and alone as she moved back into her parents’ home to begin again. She came from a culture where family and tradition were tightly knit, where everyone knew and had a say in the latest that happened. There was no escaping this; Her world had ended.
Soon after, I met a lady who was to become a lovely friend. Jasmeen had recently lost her husband to cancer. A young couple very much in love, best friends to each other; She took care of him and held him to the last. I met her, a softly-spoken young woman who was living with her grief every day. She would tell stories of their bond, of his obvious adoration of her and her deep love and affection for him.
I would feel my heart hurt when she would tell me how she was trying to hold on to him, how she would hold his clothes close to her, to breathe in his scent, and somehow keep him alive in her head.  Her future had a full stop punctuating it and there was no going back. Or forward.
Back then, in the wake of my divorce I remember feeling a hatred and distrust of men, feeling sure I could never trust again. After some time had passed, though, I began to see with clarity that I was wrong to paint everyone with the same brush. Gradually, my mind began pulling me along with its own force.
I would feel a pang of sadness as I turned the key to my door knowing the house would be dark, cold and devoid of life.
How many nights I would sigh as I sat downstairs yearning to hear the noise of someone pittering around the house,  I missed the touches only a man could bring; fixing something, watching football, trying to fix a sandwich in the kitchen and making a mess.
How many times did my child do or say something funny or interesting and I would have to supress the urge to turn and say “did you just hear what he said?!”
I missed feeling protected by strong shoulders only a man can provide particularly when out-and-about alone.
I desperately missed not being able to share my thoughts and deen with someone especially at a time I was discovering Islam myself. I needed the support to learn, grow, and implement.
I found myself missing a companion terribly. As wonderful as my friends and family were, there was no substitute for what a man could bring. I am not ashamed to admit my solitude was suffocating me.
Fast forward a collective 3-4 years between us.  Saima re-married, as did I, as did Jasmeen. None of us envisaged this could possibly happen at the time of our trials and individual grief. At one time we were each locked in our own realms of loss, we were bleeding inwardly and there was no chance of anything changing. Except it did.
Amidst death, messy divorces, moves, court dates, child-custody battles, bitter emotions and a complete life overhaul, we each made it slowly through to a new frame of mind. None of us had lost our future. In the midst of pain and anguish we were only fooled into thinking we had.
Somehow the rawness began healing, our hearts began mending, time turned into acceptance.
Each of us healed in our own ways, in our own times. Our stories were different, our journeys separate, our scars unlike each other’s, like personalised tattoos embellished inside of us.
But we arrived at the same destination. Daring to hope – ready to start again.
Life has to go on. Whether that means gathering up the courage to carry on as you were, re-marriage, a move, a new career and so on. There is no shame in needing a companion again, in feeling desire, wanting to make a fresh start and being part of a partnership again.
Hope is a frightening yet exhilarating ride if you dare to get on. It opens doors which will inspire you to dream, to pray and to actualise your needs. Do not lose hope and don’t put limits on what Allah can do for you. Call upon Al –Fattah (The Opener) to open doors of goodness for you. Allah will make a way where you have not imagined, if you ask of Him – if you trust Him.  
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.” (Surah At-Talaq 2-3)

Nina is a British expat loving her experiences abroad as a wife, mother and teacher. Nina has a passion for complementary health, deep reflections and a daydream over a good cup of tea! She hopes to turn her skills and experiences into a means to help other women in the near future.

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