In May 2012, 19 people, including 15-month-old Umar Emeran, died in a fire at Villaggio Mall. Today, his family will mark the third anniversary of his death. Mother Zareena Solomon, who gave birth to a daughter 10 months after the fire, said writing a letter to her son would have been too hard, but wanted to share this message with everyone.
Umar’s yellow and red bike stands around the house, enjoyed by his youngest sibling, Maryam.
Just months ago, the thought of it coming out of the storeroom would be impossible to even suggest. Now I can look at his pictures daily, often with a smile, sometimes with a tear. And looking at him, I would say “we will meet again habibi, insha Allah.”
I so wish I can meet him in my dreams, I make this wish daily. It’s been a while since I dreamt of him. Alhamdulillah I am thankful to Allah swt for having had the honour of carrying him for nine months and spending one year and almost four months with him.
When I ask Maryam what her youngest brother’s name is, she blurts out “Umar!” It’s important to me that she knows Umar though she never met him. I wonder if she dreams of him? I hope she does.
Time doesn’t heal
It’s been three long years and three short years all in one. We remember meeting the triplets, seeing Zaina’s mum in the lift and of course, I remember Shameega Charles, who took an instant fancy to Umar when they met.
From that day on, they remained bosom buddies.
I told a friend the other day, that I don’t like the statement “time heals” – it doesn’t. Time makes me cope, time makes me appreciate time, time makes me reflect on lessons learnt since that day.
I know that one day we will be united again as a family. I try to imagine it….but I don’t get very far, it’s beyond any idea I can fathom.
I’ve learnt that patience is hard, it’s exhausting, it’s painful, but it’s my test to accept and hopefully, insha Allah, to pass.
Umar came to change my life and that of his father’s and siblings. Death has taught us about life. We are thankful.
Umar is always remembered by many who met him and many who didn’t.
Just recently, my sister Zulpha ran the London marathon and honoured his memory with a poster with his pictures, titled “In memory of Umar Emeran.” Thank you Zulpha and my brother, Faeez for loving him.
My eldest sister, Fuzlyn, who continuously donates her time and books to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, all in Umar’s name.
Today, May 28th she has donated cupcakes to the hospital with Umar’s name. Sis, we thank you for loving him and your continuous pledge to keep his name alive through good work and helping others.
My message today is to you all reading, don’t forget our children, teachers and the two fire fighters. They died heroes and ambassadors for safety awareness in Qatar.
Umar’s mom, Zareena Solomon
View the rest of the Letters to Heaven here.