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!
Today, my baby turns four years old! Ishaq Shalom Hameed is the light of his mommy and daddy’s world. He is the child neither one truly expected and from one parent’s perspective (Mom) a living, breathing example of redemption and for the other(Dad), someone that he will protect for the rest of Ishy’s life and nobody will ever come between, no matter what.
See, Ish was born to older parents and by older, I mean parents in their 30’s and 40’s. Now, four years later, that’s 40’s and 50’s. We’re blessed, make so mistake about that but we’re scared as well. Daddy is a daddy for the first time in his late 40’s and Mommy has had two before that she was unable to keep (as is described in her “Love Letter to Karl and Katrina) and then along came Ish, in her late 30’s. As though this isn’t enough of a reason to be scared, we’re also homeless, staying with a man and his childish 40 year old son and some other guy no one is sure HOW he got in the picture. Ish deserves to be safe and happy and CONSIDERED as if he’s a PERSON and not just part of the woodwork. We try our best to keep him safe and now that he’s in school, neither of us ever having had the experience of putting a child in school (preschool), all we’re going through is new to us.
We love our son and praise and thank God daily for this precious gift to us and to the world for he’s named so intentionally! Yes, he’s named after his grandfather, who gave his life for this country and for raising Raphael until his death (story available in View from Within the Spirit). But it’s so much more. Ishaq is Aramaic for Isaac, which means CHILD OF LAUGHTER; Shalom means PEACE; and Hameed means PRAISEWORTHY.
Speak LIFE into your kids. They’re the next generation- the future and it’s up to US as parents to give them as good a start in life as possible and with GOD in our corner-there’s no way that we can fail, if we keep vigilant and steady.
Ish, you are our pride and joy. We will protect you and love you and yes, we’ll screw up periodically because we’re human, learning and not always certain that what we’re doing is right. In this world, there’s too much confusion, too much anger, too much SIN and we’re walking examples of the Power of God sustaining individuals who’s walked and loved God and fell down and got back up.