The Two Sides of Qalandia Checkpoint Part 5: My Grandfather’s Wish

During the last few years of his life, my grandfather developed a subtle limp in his walk. I could feel he was always bothered by it, and the feeling was reinforced when he didn’t wanto to use a cane to walk or the many times he went back and forth to different physicians and physical therapists to ease the pain and relieve his walk from that limp. He eventually developed gout, and on November 22nd of 2014, he passed away without a final goodbye.

I don’t exactly know what surgery he underwent a month before his death, but it was a surgery that got him up and going. When he’d talk to us over the phone, he sounded happy. As a matter of fact, he couldn’t wait to come back. After he passed away, my grandmother told us of a wish he had which was to come back to Palestine and go to Jerusalem, walk the streets of the old city, pray in the Dome of the Rock without becoming exhausted from his leg.

I remembered this on my second time visiting the Dome of the Rock this month. I imagined him amongst the old men there. There was even an elderly man that looked just like him from far away. I imagined the excitement he would come back home with after a tiring journey in Jerusalem. I imagined my grandmother telling him to not go back in his condition and him not listening. I imagined him flipping through the daily newspaper that isn’t scattered on the table anymore.

This is the first Ramadan my family spends without him. This is the first time I pass by his favorite mosque in this big yet small town and seeing his best friend there without him.

May God have mercy on the souls that have left us.

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