Drove up and oh, but the memories! I will forever associate this pretty little city with my older sister Bushra.

I had planned on meeting a friend for dinner at 5 pm, none other than Sheema Khan, so I hastened to leave home at around 11 am yesterday and yet each little thing I did seemed to delay me. Didn’t actually get out of there till closer to 11:30,  you know how you get when you’re leaving, remembering every last thing you might have forgotten.

Still didn’t bring my kobo reader and I miss it. I had started reading The Blue Castle again (got it as a free download–yeah free!) after finishing the Brothers Karamazov.

By the way, The Brothers Karamazov isn’t nearly as good as Crime and Punishment!

So in driving up here I was in a bit of a rush. Didn’t want to be late. And yet I had intended to visit my sister’s grave.

It’s in this little cemetary just off Carp Road. I can always tell the road I have to turn down because there’s a pretty white church with a silvery steeple on the corner. She’s buried by a fringe of pine trees, her grave is lost amid a carpet of pine needles, those big long kind. Push them aside and you can see the number on the little brick like marker. We’d thought of getting a grave marker but it’s actually not really an Islamic custom. A relative was going to spring for one but I said it would be better to spend the money on her children.

But as I passed by the exit for Carp road thinking, nope, don’t have time, my heart did a sort of flip flop in my chest and I felt bad.

All the way here I was listening to two CD’s that particularly remind me of her. I installed them in the old fashioned CD clip thing in the trunk of my car before I left (one of the reasons it took so long to get out of there).

One was the Greatest hits of the Alan Parson’s Project. The last two songs I think one of them is called The Boatman, and the other is As far as my Eyes can See, or something like that. Both deal with death and are well worth listening to!

They made me cry. Oh how they made me cry.

Bushra was the one who introduced me to the Alan Parsons Project.

I still maintain the songs are some of the best!

And crying like that kind of felt good. Bittersweet if you know what I mean. Just missing her in a good sort of way and dwelling on my own eventual demise.

And I could finally figure out why people like the ‘blues’.

It’s like you go there, emotionally, but then when you’re done, you feel kind of better.

My friend picked me up and we went to a wonderful Palestinian restaurant called Jericho in the Glebe district.

Oh the hummous!!!!


And the anise tea at the end followed up with this kind of torte that was absolutely yummy!

But the hilarious thing was when we were driving down looking for it. Sheema Khan was busy at the wheel, manoevering the traffic and looking for the street number and all and talking to me at the same time, she asked about my sister because I’d mentioned that she’d lived in Ottawa and I said, “Oh she’s buried near Carp.”

And she said, “Oh, does she like it there?”

At first I was like, “Huh?” And then I realized that she hadn’t really heard me. She was too busy focusing on the driving, which was the way it should be, and I just thought it was so funny!

I said, “She’s dead. She’s buried there.”

And then poor thing, Sheema was all apologies but here I am laughing hard because it just seemed so funny to me.

And I knew she didn’t mean to say anything like that, and if I were in her shoes I’d have been mortified too, but maybe after listening to the blues, it just put things into a completely different perspective.

I don’t know. I just couldn’t hold it against her.

We talked and talked. The time flew! And it was great to hear the wonderful things Sheema’s doing these days, especially initiating a project that deals with family honor and honor killings, a sort of outreach program to new immigrants to prevent honor killings in Canada like the horrendous ones we’ve had Aqsa Parvez and the Shafia trial!

And I felt a little better because no way can I get involved in stuff like that, but she does all kind of good work and may Allah make her the stronger for it!

Sure she deals with a lot of flack and hate mail when she writes her column for the Globe & Mail but she just keeps on keeping on, and who wouldn’t admire that?!

I do my thing with stories and it’s funny how both of us work for Canadian society as well as the Muslim community but each in such different ways!

I’ll be done the presentations early today, insha Allah and I think I’ll pop out to visit my sister’s grave this afternoon insha Allah.

Sheema told me of a time when she and her mom went to visit her father’s grave and some Muslim guy starting haraguing her about it not being proper.

Stupid nosey men!

Oh well, they don’t seem to contend with me.