I don’t know how it works in other countries, but in Morocco, you can only visit the graveyards between certain times. That is starting on Thursday late afternoon until Friday noon. There is even a superstitious belief that if you go early in the evening on Thursday, the spirits step out of their graves. I would not know as we only visit during the Friday mornings before breakfast. It would not be safe otherwise.

I had not visited his grave since several years now, and as we stepped out of our car, I noticed how many additional ones were built. We all were concerned with how to find his grave amongst all the other ones.

My father was a simple man in life, and he insisted that we would ensure his grave would be white and of stone, like most of the people who pass away unnoticed in Morocco. He was never a man who attached importance to material wealth, at least not during the end of his life.

So we walk on our path between the weeds, between children who are desperate for money in exchange for cleaning the graveyard when people visit their lost loved ones. My mother has a weakness and is quickly overwhelmed by the poverty surrounding her. So as she gives some coins to a few, a whole swarm of other children came.

I became frustrated as I considered this time sacred and I was gathering courage for months to see him.

Thinking about what I would say to him. Wondering whether he would be proud of the woman I am today.

These children took that moment away from me as we had no peace of mind when we finally found his grave. The only thing I managed to do is to show my son where his grandfather was buried, and explain to him that his spirit is within us. Always and forever. He planted a flower on his grave and told him how much he loved him.

Goes without saying that I could not keep it dry despite my anger at the children who took away my moment with the man I miss deeply in this life. 

We went back to the car, and my mother was still trying to send away the children who were asking for money. She never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. The problem though is if you give people one finger, they will take your entire body!

And these children don’t know any better than to stick around the graveyards and wait for visitors to try and get some money. The money they desperately need for their families to survive. It is a sad reality, and unfortunately, it is their reality.

But this moment was meant for my father, whom I only see once every two years, and me. And they took that moment away from me without shame or remorse.  I was fed up, and in a very assertive and polite way, I gave the “stop messing with Nadja look” and uttered some words.

They left as we were driving away leaving my father behind in a labyrinth of graveyards. We had breakfast, and I remained quite despite my mother asking a million times if I was ok. I was afraid to speak and hurt her feelings, so I kept everything cropped up inside.

Part of me was mad at her as well for allowing these children to ruin my precious and brief moment with my father. It was only the next day I was able to communicate in a non-hurtful way how I felt and why I was upset, without putting the blame on her or anyone else.

When we communicate our feelings without blaming the other, that’s when we connect at a profound level. That’s when we cultivate connections of pure love and authenticity. 

Being grateful for all that life offers, right now

I managed to feel grateful for the brief moment spent with my father.

I managed to be grateful for the flower my son planted.

I managed to be grateful for walking away from the graveyard knowing I am still alive.

I am grateful I get to wake up and make a difference in this world.

I am grateful for the few, but authentic and deep connections I have in my life.

I am grateful I am now able to communicate from a place of serenity.

I am grateful for the ability to forgive others and let go.

I am grateful for a roof on top of my head and for food on my table.

I am grateful I am able to provide for my son. Despite my anger, I feel pain for those children who live in a reality that should not be theirs.

Visiting my father and connecting for a brief moment with him made me realize the abundance and gratitude life offers, every single day when we wake up. 

In four years since he passed, the graveyard doubled in size. What does that tell us?

It tells us we will all drop dead one day, no matter our titles, status, identity or level of importance. We are all mortal human beings.  Human beings whom every day get a chance at life.

Some in the most excruciating circumstances and others who seem to have it all.

Be conscious of your mortality. Be grateful for all that you take for granted. Be loving to your loved ones. 

What I regret most is how many times I just wanted to hug my father and tell him how much I loved him. Pride and ego got in the way.

I forgave myself, and I tell the people I love that I love them, as much as I can and no matter what they feel or say. The love within me shines throughout. And I am beyond blessed to see my son leading by example and is expressive beyond limits already at the age of five.

Thank you for reading my stories written from the heart. Stories to inspire you and live while you are still alive. Stories to encourage you to connect with each other beyond the superficial.