17th of April 2004


This year Rashid would have been 16 years old. Maybe he would have had pimples, a darker voice, maybe he would have been riding a motorbike, perhaps he would have delivered newspapers, he would have had a girl-friend. Maybe........

I don't know. Last year I was very busy with Rashid's 15th birthday. I wasn't working because of a burn-out and I had lots of time to work on Rashid's homepage, typing out all my journals, making his films.
This year everything was different. I had been working fulltime again and I had fully recovered from my burn-out. And at the 4th of February 2004 I started my first driving lesson. It was never within my life's expectations that I would ever try and get my driver's licence, but my life has changed so much; I have changed so much after Rashid's death.

So I went, very nervously and afraid to my first lesson and it wasn't so bad. Fortunately I was allowed to drive around in circles on quiet industrial grounds for two hours and when I got out of the car I felt quite a hero. I just couldn't walk from the stress in my legs and I was so tired.

What struck me was that the instructor, to break the ice, asked me if I had any children and I immediately told him Rashid's story, who died of a incurable brain tumor. In every other situation I do not tell strangers my story. But this man made me trust him from the moment I saw him. He in turn told me about his little boy, who died of meningitis years ago. His son would have been 15 this year, Rashid 16. It almost seemed like ours two boys brought us together. It was so very important for me to be instructed by someone whom I could trust. And that I certainly did. Many times during the lessons we talked about our children, about missing them, about the grief and the hurt and about the place where they would be now.

The following lessons were not easy but slowly I progressed. Finally the day came I was ready to take my driver's test. The date was set for the 19th April, two days after Rashid's 16th birthday. No problem, I thought, because I would now have enough time to go to Rashid's grave on Saturday. But that too went differently. On Saturday I could get an extra driving lesson so I could practise some more for the driving test on Monday.  The only possible time was at half past one in the afternoon. I explained to the instructor that I really wanted to go to Rashid's grave, because that Saturday was your birthday. I would have enough time to spend some time at the graveyard before the lesson. 

On Friday my instructor asked me to change the time of the lesson to 12 o' clock, because one of his students had cancelled the 12 o'clock lesson. I hesitated, because there would not be enough time to go to Rashid's grave before the lesson. I would be driving until half past two and needed about one hour and a half to get to the graveyard, which would close at four o'clock. "That wouldn't be a problem," my instructor said, "I could drive to the graveyard in the instructor's car and thus I would certainly be in time" It was frightingly exciting. I agreed to the plan.

I decided to go to Rashid's grave anyway, before going to the driving lesson, because I wanted to put down a  Happy Meal at Rashid's grave (like I do every year) and hang the balloon I bought last year; I didn't want to take those things along to the lesson. So be it. Hennie offered to help me by driving to the party shop very early in the morning to have it filled with helium. I really wanted to do this all by myself, but I didn't know how. There was not enough time. So I went to the graveyard on my bike and left it there. I spend some minutes alone with, put down the Happy Meal, that I had bought the day before and I unwrapped Rashid's present: a new china bear, a gift on his 16th birthday. By that time Hennie arrived with the helium filled balloon that I attached to the gravestone. After another 1quick look I had to go in order to arrive on time for my driving lesson. It was a strange lesson. I felt strong and calm and drove like I never drove before. At last I could take the highway to the graveyard. When I saw the exit "Watergraafsmeer" I became excited. Here I knew the way. I felt strange when I got out of the car right in front of the graveyard and my instructor drove off with a happy "See you on Monday". I bought a beautiful bunch of flowers and had time enough to spend time with Rashid. For a long time I sat thinking on the bench in front of his grave. I had not really thought of Rashid's birthday much before this day because the driving lessons took al my time and energy.

Unfortunately I failed the driving test on Monday. I was much to insecure and I was far from driving without an instructor. One month later I was able to take another test ( I wore blue underware (Rashid's favourite colour) and the beautiful angel pin); I don't know that was the reason that I passed the test this time, but I did. I thanked Rashid with a beautiful bunch of flowers for helping and protecting me, that I placed at his grave. I knew for sure that I had had a guardian angel on my shoulder during the test and that Rashid had helped me through.

At this moment I have been driving in my own little red car and it feels great. Often I am also sad when I get into my car for never having had the time, the courage and the money to take driving lessons when Rashid was still alive. I would have been able to drive him anywhere. Travelling by public transport took so much of his energy and many times I had to say to him that we had no time nor the money. 

If I had only had a car then.......if..........oh, if Rashid had only lived.........

Angels in Heaven

It happened so fast everything was a blur
And everyone came by and said how sorry they were.

I knew that they meant well So I tried to force a smile
And they said I should be thankful that I had him for a while

But now all my friends and my family have gone home.
I am just left here sitting with my memories all alone

I've always heard that God does everything right
I just wish My Angel wasn’t in Heaven tonight

I know there are some things beyond our control
And some things only God can decide
That won’t stop this hurting that I feel in my soul
I just wish my angels weren’t in Heaven tonight

Oh I know there are some things beyond our control
Some things only God can decide.
Oh But that won’t stop this hurting that I feel in my soul
I just wish my Angel wasn’t in Heaven tonight

God won’t you please Kiss my Angel Good Night
Good Night

© Higher Faith

God gave us special rainbows
With tears of rain that fall
Rashid now shares colors
That have become our shawl

Purples in the heavens
Among the pink today
As little Angel celebrates
His Birthday underway

Angels busy laughing
Running on the clouds
Bringing rain to fall on earth
So Rainbow is allowed

There within the heavens
An arch of color swept
Within the sky so very bright
New tinge of purple kept

Colors now will fill the sky
With hues so bright and warm
Upon the world so many tears
Life's rainbows from the storm

Rashid's dreams on earth below
Have all been washed away
Within the sky horizon full
Of colors he displays

Angel wings and precious things
We see as he goes by
Leaving such a pretty glow
As colors form on high

Rashid smiles upon us all
His light for us to share
Colors warm and beautiful
His rainbow always there.

© Francine Pucillo