July 8, 2015 will be one year since you left us, Ish. A lot of stuff has changed in the last year – and surprisingly little at the same time. If you were here, you would know exactly what I mean, despite your young age, as you would be 6 years old as of last December. You would have started school this year. I always wondered why my gut didn’t tell me it was time to start preparing you for your start in kindegarden – now I know that God knew you would not be here.
Your dad is healing, as you know. He’s healing every day. We both miss you but he’s more…emotional about it than I tend to be though I miss you just as much. We have a “Wall of Ish” in our new apartment – you’d love this apartment – so much more room for you to Tigger-bounce around in.
I’m sure you remember these – you completed them in preschool and I wish I had you around to watch you learn more and more about the planets you were clearly interested in – and you had such potential. God, Ishy, though I would NOT bring you back even if I could – and in many ways, envy you already having passed this life and graduated into your new home, I still miss you so much. I trust you are taking care of Jude and visiting with your grandpa who, though never having had anything to do with you while you were alive, has likely reached a new level of understanding far surpassing my own. While you were on earth, you had nothing – and you had everything. You really ever had one home, as we moved around a lot and were homeless often, but you had two parents who would both have happily have lain down dead for you. We did our best, taught you right, didn’t let you get away with just any old thing. You were so smart, honey. We miss you every day.
I walk past your memorial site all the time. It’s still right there, where you died. There are 2 giant bears and two smaller ones. People come by all the time; I know because I can see when they’re changed around or set back up or whatever. Ishy, though you didn’t meet too many people, you made people love you. Not hard at all, my son – very easy, in fact. The lady who sent you to heaven is in a program for felons called COMCOR. We’ve gone to her family’s house and broke bread. We’ve spent time together with her son who was about a year younger than you. You and he and his cousin would all have been wonderful friends.
Daddy and I haven’t changed all that much. Our way of life has, I guess, but our attitudes are much the same; we still like spending time together talking like we always have since we met.
I can’t wait to come home, Ish. I can’t wait to spend time with you in your current form as I know it will be different by the time we see each other again. I still hope to meet you brother, Karl, and your sister, Katrina, again once they try to find me and I still believe they will.
I will see you soon, honey. Keep a spot open for me and Daddy.
All my love,
Six months ago, my husband and my life changed forever. Our much beloved son, Ishaq, was killed and my husband severely injured when they were struck by a car on a dangerous road going way too fast. The driver was going too fast, tried to over correct and came at them at more than 50 mph and killed Ish immediately. Raphael (daddy) was thrown more than 41 feet back into the parking lot. Suffice it to say that his tibia (shin bone) was sticking through his skin (which is why I won’t show you the picture – it’s REALLY gruesome) leading to amputation of his leg below his knee. His pelvis was an “open book” fracture (which means that the front area that protects the bladder was completely open, setting his bladder outside of the pelvis). His right shoulder was also broken, requiring surgeries and pins. His femur also had to have pins put in it from the 2 breaks it sustained.
Losing Ish was a huge blow – he was our pride and joy and like all parents, we would have died for him. Raphael and I were married 3 years before Ishaq came along – although we’d never really planned for children (spending most of our time homeless or in and out of hotels and me being 36 to Raphael’s 46), having Ishaq come into our lives settled us in a way that’s hard to define as it just came naturally. It was easy to open our loop just a little more so that when things happened to us, it happened to him too. We were able to stay together when we were homeless in Chico, California at the Torres Shelter. We were all moved to Iowa to stay with my sister and we were all together when we took a bus to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Ish made us better people. We’ve always tried to be as godly as possible, not in the traditional Christian sense as it’s taught in the church but in a real way, a way that makes us more peaceable and ready to serve. We’re nowhere near perfect but we love each other and others, or in the words of my husband,”We love – that’s how we roll”
Two days after Ish was killed and Raphael hurt, I received a message from the girl who hit them. She begged me for forgiveness and I, by the grace of God, immediately did so. I didn’t give it time for thought – I just said yes. I/we spoke with television stations, newspapers and just last month, Story Corps, affiliated with NPR http://storycorps.org/?p=56810. Everyone has been amazed by our reaction. Forgiveness, it seems, is a stranger concept. Everyone has someone they can’t (or won’t – it’s a fine line) forgive – a parent, a friend, an ex, someone. I freely admit to having a very rocky relationship with my adoptive mother. I have recently made significant strides towards doing that as I want no hypocrisy in my life but had this horrible tragedy not happened, that probably wouldn’t have happened. Ishy (my nickname for him) changed so many lives, touched so many hearts in the 5 1/2 years he graced this world with his presence. Through state after state, shelter to shelter and town to town, Ish made an impression on everyone he came across. When Ish died, I stopped thinking about suicide (have been suicidally-inclined virtually my whole life) and have been amazed that the thought has not once been considered in the 6 months he’s been gone.
We’re going to miss Ishy for the rest of our lives but we have been blessed to have had him in our life the length of time we did. We live our lives for God. We are best friends, talk about everything. Sometimes we get angry with each other but we forgive quick and go back to our normal life quick. We’ve taken new friends into our lives since the accident; the community having come around us. We forgave her immediate, the both of us, and it seems no one understands why. Like we’re some odd specimen of human no one has seen before. We’ve found ourselves in the position where we had to defend the killer of our son, so much hate has been directed at her. Some seem to think that the story is made up as they racially profile us (we have Muslim/Jewish names), but mostly they were heartbroken for us, contributing to the Go Fund account we set up to pay the bills until we could figure out the next step http://www.gofundme.com/Ishaq-Hammed–Family. It’s taking so much longer than we would have liked but I’ve been taking care of him this whole time. I am not being paid for it, though that was the plan. But it doesn’t matter, we just have to trust God to keep us safely and I’ll be danged if he doesn’t do it month after month.
Forgive whoever you have a problem against – doesn’t matter who’s fault it is. Remove ego and you’ll find it much easier. God bless you!
I miss you, Ish. Every day when I wake up, I expect to see your face looking at me, lying next to me, and when you’re still not there I grab your pillow- the one you wrote on- and hug it to my chest, pushing it to my nose like I do to capture any smell of you that might exist. This morning was no different. I sit and look at pictures of you and the art you completed in preschool and I wish you were still here.
Your Daddy is healing physically. He cries for you a lot. It’s really hard not having you here. Your Aunt Joanna and cousins are planning to move out here to Colorado once their school year is out. Claymore took your death really hard. They all know; some understand better than others. Michael and you were the same age, pretty much so I don’t think he understands but Trevalyn and Shalandria know as well.
I don’t know why this happened, sweetheart. Why you and Daddy were hit. Why you were killed. Why Daddy was so badly hurt. I don’t know why God allowed you to live only five and a half years. Maybe He’ll tell me some day.
I love you, Baby Boy. Most days I manage to get through. I laugh and joke and talk to people. I think of you all the time. I’m disappointed you never got to meet Karl and Katrina, your brother and sister. A thousand times a day things happen that make me want you to be around to see and learn. Daddy and I must utter “Ish would have…” ten times a day.
I know you’re with God now. We’re on our way; don’t know how long it’ll be but Daddy and I will see your amazing face again. I’ll never say Goodbye to you, only See you soon.
I love you forever,
**When God Called You**
We little knew that morning
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly.
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories.
Your love is still our guide.
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our side.
Our family chain is broken.
Nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one
The chain will link again
– Ron Tranmer
Life can change fast, can’t it? You will likely understand why I ask this as you read. Please give me some room and forgive any errors I have made. Thanks so much ❤
Been thinking over my “writing career” for a few days lately. My brain is tired; I have imminent time on my hand as I spend 99% of my day at home with my husband. Three months ago (has it really been that long), my son and husband were walking home from the store while I was at work (the first real paying job I’d gotten since I came here to Colorado in 2012).
Thirty minutes after I got home at 10:30 pm., two police officers and a bunch of grief counselor people showed up at my door and informed me that my husband was in surgery and my baby (5) was dead. As anyone would, I freaked out and screamed and cried for maybe 15 minutes. They wanted to take me to the hospital so I called everyone I knew, snapped into practical mode and for the next 2 weeks, dealt with Raphael in a medical coma for the first 6 days of his hospitalization (unaware of Ish’s passing), setting up the funeral arrangements, and all the other things I had to do. Friends surrounded me and helped me set up funds for living and strangers came out of the woodwork to help make sure I ate and then I had to move to another apartment so that Raphael could eventually come home (wheelchair bound). His entire right side was tore up from his shoulder which was badly broken to his leg which had to be amputated below the knee.
It is now months after our sweet child died. Raphael’s physical being is healing up. He’s about ready to start physical therapy and eventually to be fitted for a prosthesis. Emotionally, we’re hanging in there as well. Some days, we’re almost normal; other days, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed. Not having my Ishaq around; the thought of facing another day without that amazing boy, is more than I can bear, but I have to move forward. I have to be the strong one right now, though Raphael is always in my corner is very sensitive to me.
Now that things are evening out, I am thinking ahead to where I need to earn a living, some kind of way. With taking care of Raphael day and night, I need to find a way to earn a living, preferably out of the home. Writing is what I want to do but alas, I fear the spark is gone. Maybe it’s fear; maybe it’s God saying I’m not meant to write; maybe it’s fear (oh, I think I said that; must be true!). Can I write? What direction do I want to take my work? Am I delusional to think I have stuff in my soul that others might want to read? I don’t know. I guess time will tell. I have a whole lifetime, minus my third and youngest child, to try to make the rest of my life mean something and honor the little boy who filled his father and my life so meaningful. He’s missed so much!! As to my writing? Only God knows (literally) whether or not I’m supposed to write or even if I CAN write.