Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Haneen Abo Soad | 20-03-2018


Ten years ago, my Aunt Feryal, my father’s sister, died of breast cancer at the age of 33. In Gaza, proper cancer treatment often is not available and is a death sentence. We were very close. She was a librarian and an English teacher, which is maybe why I love to write today. She was strong and independent, choosing never to marry. We were inseparable; I even helped her choose her outfit each day for work, and she let me sit with her while she painted. One recent night, I thought of her, and I wrote this.

Art by Malak Mattar

You have been gone for 10 years now,
yet it feels like yesterday that cancer took you.
I hope you are well.
I hope all that pain,
and the burning you said you felt inside,
has vanished.

What about your heart?
Is it still beating with love and hope?
What about your hair?
I remember how it fell.
I cry when I remember that day:
I remember you looking in the mirror,
cutting off your hair,
your tears mixing with your fallen locks
in a big mess.
I cleaned it up.
When I return to my grandmother’s house,
I can still picture it.

Do you still paint where you are now?
You loved it so much.
I hope you are at peace.

If you asked me how I am doing,
I’d lie and say I am fine.
But the truth is that I desperately want to be with you.
I hope you know you are still in my heart

Did you forgot about me?
Why don’t you visit me in my dreams?

Life is messed up.
My dad is lost without you.
We are all lost

Your last days were like climbing a steep hill.
You were so tired.
You just wanted to go home.
Your body was shutting down,
yet your heart was strong

You didn’t want pity;
so you didn’t share the news of your diagnosis.
When everyone asked if you were all right,
your eyes were pools of sadness.
Damn, I wanted to hit them for asking that question.
Damn that question!

You are still the strongest person in my life.
You are still the one to whom I look up.

Visit me once in my dreams.


Posted: March 19, 2018

Mentor: Mohammed Massoud Morsi

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