The Corona Funeral

It is October. My favourite month of the year. Like all my mornings, on the second day of October, I woke up and sat outside. It was a different type of morning, with cool breeze through my hair I swung on our swing to the sound of birds and the sight of a few of our newly blossomed flowers dancing in the air.

I was videoing an instagram story of the first autumn rain. With the sound of the rain, came a long scream, a torturous plead, followed by other cries.

It was not hard to guess what, why or where from. My neighbour, who battled with strong Covid symptoms for 21 days lost his life. Our neighbourhood was flooded in people within minutes, women fainted by my neighbours door step, sisters came in their pyjamas screaming, cars seemed to fly like airplanes on what was the first day of the weekend. The shock had the five children frozen in despair.

6:58 am on October 2nd, 2020, Kak Namiq left. I am still yet to comprehend the fact I won’t see the strong, handsome, tall, black haired man with glasses cleaning his black car, speaking to neighbours and watering his plants everyday. I am yet to comprehend the thought that I will not have Kak Namiq ring my door bell with a plate of his wife’s famous Kfta. I am yet to believe that Kak Namiq, who 25 days ago was coughing at 5:30 am in his garden, while I had my morning coffee in the adjacent yard, is now gone.

Neighbours, where I am, are your second family. We knock on each other’s doors when we need a large pot or we have run out of anything at home, we share our best meals, and complain about electricity together. When we moved in more than two years ago, Kak Namiq, everyday after work would come in and ask if we needed anything. “I am your brother and father next door,” he would say.

Losing Kak Namiq is one pain. But the funeral has been another.

We have been in constant turmoil of how to show solidarity, condolences, love and support in the time of Corona. you see, my dearest reader, I live in a society rooted in social expectations and social support. A funeral means a home full of guests for three days, a home half full of guests for seven days and a home with constant guests for 40 days. It means going everyday to show support to the family. It means making food and taking it to your neighbour. It means sharing their pain.

Source: UNICEF.org

My neighbours announced that there will not be a formal funeral in line with government regulations. Their family, relatives, friends and neighbours did not comprehend the concept. At any one time, Kak Namiq’s family home can have anywhere between 80 to 150 women (the men visit the elder brother’s home).

By the door they place hand sanitisers and masks. Not many people wear them. As for me, I am the helpless neighbour mourning in silence a neighbour I cherished close to my heart. A few of my neighbours stood head down with masks from the roofs of their homes, watching the funeral from above. They had been tested Covid positive, and remained in their homes at a time that none of us would have remained indoors, should the circumstances been different.

In the past few days, in the late evening I often hear sudden cries from Kak Namiq’s younger daughter and wife. Just like me, they too, cannot comprehend the fact that he is no longer there. I shed silent tears as I water our plants, hearing the cries next door.

This event has really sunk in the depth and seriousness of Covid. It has made me reassess and reconfirm the already strict decisions I had made to self isolate and maintain distancing. It is the idea that I cannot forgive myself should I pass this virus to anyone else who may not have the immunity to cope with it.

This, my dearest, loyal blog reader is what is happening in my part of the world, in my little neighbourhood. How are you feeling in the midst of a global pandemic? Little did we know this is where 2020 will lead us…

Lots of love from

My Nest in Kurdistan

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