The Bustle in a House

There’s something about the morning after death. Everything sounds so quiet as if life came to a halt and the earth stopped going around; paying respects for the dead. And although you know that people die every day, you only feel that way when death hits close, someone you know, someone you care about. And then you realize that nothing has stopped, because life doesn’t stop for anyone, it’s because you’re living in that intense moment that you can’t process how life just goes on.

And really, it’s amazing how life goes on, but you’ve got to think when you’re in the middle of the ordeal, how do we just go on about our lives, laughing and going to work and doing all kinds of mundane stuff pretending that we’re not going to die? Actually we’re not pretending, we know we’re going to die but we just can’t believe it, it doesn’t register in our minds most of the time and we choose to foget it; because if you realized this fact, I mean if you really understood that one day you and everyone else will be dead like you realize it the moment you see the dead body of a loved one pass by, carried by 5 or 6 men to be laid down 6 feet under, if you really don’t forget that fact for one moment, how do you expect life to go on without people turning into hermits or losing their minds? Or maybe, just maybe, it will be a Utopia, but the human race has proved throughout history that we’re not perfect so, I guess the Utopia is a far-fetched possibility. So yeah, as we always say, thank God for the blessing of forgetfulness, but at the same time if you overdo it you might one day find that you didn’t make use of your days as much as you should’ve, just when it’s too late.

You know what’s a blessing too? Selfishness. Imagine that each time a person dies around the world your heart aches and as it does when it’s someone close to you. Nobody will be able to get anything done. Yet it’s a blessing in moderation, abusing it could really backfire.

And it makes you think, is anything really worth spending your days away from those you love or doing things you hate? Is anything worth fighting over? And then you think, why are so afraid of taking risks? What’s the worse that’s going to happen? I’m going to die? We’re all going to anyway…

Death is fascinating.  It brings you closer to God and to people. It brings families together. You know, one of the best things about a condolence house is when everyone leaves and close family members come together, talking about their memories of the deceased, or how they all should cooperate to support his family in every way they can, or to just have a few decent laughs after 3 days of exhausting grief. So don’t let the chance go by, if you feel the willingness to get closer to God then act  on it because you never know if or when it will come back again, and if you feel the willingness to let those you love know it then let them know it, because you never know when or how you’re going to part with them.

As someone told me a couple of days ago: Death is not the moment of departure, it’s the feeling of loss that you develop day after day when you miss that person and you realize they’re not here anymore. That’s why when we were discussing how to break the sad news to my 6 year-old cousin, I suggested that we don’t. Let him realize it at his own pace, little by little, and hopefully he’ll finally make peace with it.

So after the ceremonies are over and people go back to their own lives, because they’re not the one who’s dead, then comes the cleaning up and turning the page. This is when you have to sort out what’s left of that person, down to their most trivial positions that they will never use again, the bustle in a house as Emily Dickenson put it in her poem that keeps coming to mind year after year.

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth, –

The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.

The Bustle in a House

The Morning after Death

Is solemnest of industries

Enacted opon Earth –


The Sweeping up the Heart

And putting Love away

We shall not want to use again

Until Eternity –



9 responses

  1. I`m not sure if u drafted this or just wrote it now (I`m saying so bcoz over twitter the passing away was a couple of days ago, right?); either way I`m happy I came across it this very moment.

    I`m sorry to turn this into semi-personal one but just 2-3 hours ago I learned bwt the passing away of one of close friend`s father.

    I`m thinking gloomily ever since.

    I`m at my office, minutes away from our flat, in a place where we know no one, my family are there, near yet far and I`m just thinking what if I die here now and they found out in the morning.
    what if I came home and found one of them dead, just like that.

    yes death is a great wonderful tutor!

    a master actually.

    strong words u have tonight ya 3ola.
    “… because life doesn’t stop for anyone” + “life goes on” + we humans -r we human!!- all these ingredients stir us in the ever so complex formula and reshape us.


    even at this tier, there is -for me- a degree of comparable, relative, and probable aspect(s) ya 3ola… it does NOT go on for every one when faced with death, it does not! #life

    • Actually I wrote it yesterday, 4 days later, not only because I didn’t have time to write but also because the real bustle in a house actually starts after the wake is over and people turn to go about their lives.

      As for the last remark, I think that life goes on in spite of us, whether we like it or not. You can’t stop it even if you wanted to. So yes, life goes on for everyone and if you failed to catch up with it then you’ll be left behind.

      • It was going through your head though, right? Or u reflected upon it afterwards?
        Just a question.

        I guess some parts of us do not agree to move on, and that is a hard strike between that being a choice or dictated upon us (driven by intense feelings?)

        In either way, -for me- if subtle parts of you are held (back) by frequent accumulations of (death) exposures then u r not moving on, just pretending maybe or carried along the wave.

        It`s true for all sorts of other things but -still- death has uniqueness.
        Simply bcoz it`s the opposite of .. life, could be!

  2. عظّم الله اجركم، ورحم ميتكم واحسن عزائكم.

    death is a great tutor, yet we are human in arabic “انسان” that has portion of “نسيان”, and how quick we do forget/let go,

    لما احضر جنازة حدا بعرفوا، واسلم عليع والدموع على عنيه و ببكي وبخفق ، بيجيني شعور غريب لما اشوف نفس الشخص بضحك بعد شهر او شهرين، وهو بكون فاقد امه اوحدا عزيز عليه

    اشي عادي ؟ ما بعرف، الله ايصبر كل فاقد ويعينه

    that day i was jogging with my wife on the beach, it was a public park, we came by a brick fence with islamic art on top, i wondered what it was, i told my wife it might be a grave yard, she declined the idea, stating it could be government land reserved for something, specially its just in the public park on a beach.

    we came to the end of when we noticed a small paper hanging on the wall with a title “دعاء القبور”, i felt her shock, and each time rush to the fence and see within the “art holes”, was plain desert, i could identify head stones, some graves was next to each other and some of them were scattered in a random way, i wondered who are those people, when and how did they day, were they good or bad, and whats their status down there ..

    ironically, in the same day evening i told her that we should visit my grandparents at the grave yard, and how they way of burying and graves layout here was more Islamic than Nablus.

    how tiny and pathetic we humans are, how arrogant and sometimes we live like we are immortals.

    بذكرني بسيدنا عمر رضي الله عنه، كان يلبس خاتم بايده مكتوب عليه الموت، عشان ما بنسي

    وصدق رسول الله عندما قال: “اكثروا من ذكر هادم اللذات مفرق الجماعات

    يا ريتني دايما اتذكر هالبيتين

    ولدتك امك يابن آدم باكيا والناس حولك يضحكون سرورا
    فاعمل ليوم ان تكون اذا بكو في يوم موتك ضاحكا مسرورا

    رحم الله جميع الموتى
    ولله ما اخذ وله ما اعطى وكل شيئ عنده باجل مسمّى

    • آمين… That was deep, I don’t know what to say. لا تستغرب لما تشوف حدا بضحك بعد حزنه على فراق شخص غالي عليه، هاي طبيعة الحياة وغريزة البقاء فينا. أصل الحياة مش الحزن، الحزن حالة طارئة

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