My Aunt From the Second Floor

October 28th 2013

Before I was even born, my family lived in Bangladesh, in a beautiful flat. Everything was new, and we knew no one. But soon, our neighbor from the second floor became a part of our family. It’s not easy to let people into your life, let alone find someone that becomes such a big part of it, but when you do, it’s like the world turns to an amazing place. I was born into that world, and those people became my aunt, uncle, brothers, and sisters by heart.

You love your mother more than you love anyone else, and to me, my aunt from the second floor was like a mother. I looked up to her, and I loved her like a mother. I was a sassy little child, and whenever I disagreed with my parents I would just say, “I’m going to ma,” and run upstairs. I called her my mom, I looked at her like she was my mother, and in my heart she was just that.

When I was around the age of six, we moved away to Canada, leaving our blood related family behind, but also my family from the second floor. We moved to the other side of the world, not knowing anything or anyone. Everything was new and nothing made sense. We left our close ones behind.

About eight years later, we went back to visit. And I saw my family once more. Sadly, I didn’t remember Ma from the second floor, just the stories that I was told, but they were enough. Ma hugged me and cried. She told me how much she loved me and how much she missed me. I wished that I could remember her, and not just the story, because just those gestures made me feel so comfortable with her. I knew I could learn to love again.

Our visit was short, and our meeting was over too soon. We planned to go visit the next time we went to visit Bangladesh, but things don’t always go according to plan. About four years has passed since our last visit to Bangladesh, we were four years too short.

My heart broke when my mom told me what happened, when she called me into her room after getting off of the phone. She told me that Ma from the second floor, passed away. It took a while for it to sink in, and though I didn’t have strong memories of her from my childhood, I still love her.

I’m sitting in my room right now, crying as I’m writing this and have been since I walked into my room. There is really no words to describe how I’m feeling right now, no words to describe how much I want those memories back. But right now all I can do is pray for her and ask Allah to send her to heaven and that will be enough, because she was an amazing women and I know that she was a great Muslim, so my prayers will always be there for her.

-Shanzida Khandaker

*End note: I apologize for any errors or grammar mistakes, I wrote this while crying.

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