In the early morning darkness Mariem’s eyes open. Her eyes narrate her pain as they gaze out the hospital window to the stars in the sky. She imagines that they are looking down on her loneliness. She smells her favorite flowers. Did He bring them?

As night becomes day, she continues to watch the stars. She thinks of them as her friends coming to visit her. Her only family is her mother, hopeless with worry, at her bedside. She cannot speak, but her eyes ask her mother if He asked about her. Her tired mother shakes her head no. Mariem sees that there are no flowers in her room; the flowers must be from outside in the garden.

Just the day before was her cancer operation and already the doctor has arrived to take her for a radiation treatment. The pain makes her weep. Her tears drip onto her pillow. Her beautiful hair has fallen out and her mother has taken away the mirror so she cannot see herself. Mariem holds the necklace with His name on it and her eyes watch the door, hoping He will come.

She knows that this is her last day on earth, but she will not allow her eyes to close. The sun goes behind the mountains and the room becomes dark. Her eyes finally close.

Mariem feels her mother grab her wrists and pull her up as she shouts for help. The Angel of Death comes to take Mariem, but she says to it, “Leave me! My mother is crying! I will not go with you!”

The Angel of Death carries her up above her bed and her mother. She leaves the hospital, and the smell of the flowers in the garden and the singing of the birds. She goes past the moon and the sun and the sky. She has left everyone, especially her love.

At last she arrives in an unbelievably beautiful place, but the storm of grief is still assailing Mariem. She is so sad. She no longer has any pain and the effects of her disease are no longer in her body. Even her hair has grown back, but she is lost in her sorrow when she hears His voice saying, “You are sad because of me, sad that I did not come to you. I was sad that none of your friends came to see you. All of them were too busy with their lives to bring you your favorite flowers, so I had Nature send them to you in the garden. When you cried from pain, I was sad for you. I told your mother to let you have some rest. She told me that I was most merciful and she was no longer worried about you. I have brought you here where you can be with your family who loves you.”

By Safia

Editor’s note: Safia is a guest writer