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Dealing with Death 10 December 2007


In the process of the past weeks, I have been coping with my friend’s death. The pain persists even through today. When I see his picture, I find myself thinking that I was not there for him; that I abandoned him. I find myself thinking that I should have talked to him more. I have no question about the timing of his death. Meaning, nothing I could do would have extended his life because the moment and location of our death is set. But I feel as though I should not even call myself his friend because I was not worthy of it.

Is it Survivor’s Guilt?

I picture him in those final moments. It is late at night, raining. He is confronted by the potential robbers, who shoot him. Young kids with guns, knowing the power dynamics that those guns give them, but not knowing the power that those guns possess.

They panic and run away. He lies there, alone, in the rain, staring at the black sky.

And the Angel of Death arrives.

Does he feel pain? Does he feel fright? Or, was it a moment of tranquility?

Did he wake up that morning, knowing it would be his last?

This is a man who just took his mother on the Hajj. This is a man who was known for being very solid in his prayers. He was known for performing the prayers of Ramadan with great diligence. And it was in one of those final nights of Ramadan that his Creator revealed His decree that this man would not see another Ramadan.

So, in those final minutes, what did Amadou feel?

And those young kids who took his life. They did not know in those moments that they would become killers. They did not know that they would be — in the split second — making a decision that would forever affect their lives.

And, further still. They would not know that they doomed themselves. If Amadou was not a student at this university, he would be just another Black male that the world (outside of his family) would ignore. But, his murder — as a student of a very prestigious university — would compel the University to scramble and hunt down the killer. If they do not, then they would risk hundreds of students, hundreds of thousands of tuition dollars, and millions of endowment dollars. From the second those kids pulled the trigger on Amadou, they doomed themselves.

But, regardless, they are alive and have the opportunity to turn to God, even if they are in prison. As do I.

But, no longer Amadou.

And I am not worthy to call myself his friend.

It is my honor.

To God is the return.



1. fathima - 14 December 2007

It is indeed your honour.

and from god we all came.

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