– ‘The wind and fire are just two elements of the human body, the other two being water and earth. Water and earth are the main components of the body, while wind and fire reside more in the soul, in the temperament and character of the person. During the life of a person, his wind and fire lead his body of earth and water. Earth, together with water, returns back to the earth, thus ending as it began at the very start of creation. This is so simple, it doesn’t take any school to know this, your Grandfather told me about them, God rest his soul. When I got pregnant after your Father returned from prison, I often remembered his words. He would say that a Mother is closer to God, while the Father is closer to the Prophet.’
– ‘Why did you think of them when you were pregnant?’, asked Jon.
– ‘It was then that his words rang most true, not that I doubted them before, but I just experienced them in full force then. A woman’s body is made of earth different than man’s, because it’s an earth, soil where the seeds for the creation of a new life are planted, this is why, it is this creation that brings women closer to God. Then, with God’s will and support, that life develops further in the body of the Mother until it is born and continues its existence, yet always connected to its Mother. That bond is unbreakable. That is why when a person dies, when their fire and wind dissipate, only water and earth remain. After they are buried, the imam asks what their Mother’s name was, because he has to address the deceased for the last time as the son or daughter of a “given woman”. In order to chant the last prayer, he does not ask for the name of the Father, just for the name of the Mother. If they do not know the name of the Mother, then they address the person in the name of Hawa, using the name of the ancient mother of humanity. Jon sat motionless, as if he had went back in the past and was a child once again. He had heard or read this numerous times, but he had never before been faced with this kind of faith on which an entire life had been built, the life of his Mother. She rose and approached the books, caressing them gently with her hand, that deep respect for the books once again beaming from her. She said nothing, only her hand softly passing over the books lined on the shelves, as if she was absorbing through her hand the wind and fire of the authors of each individual book. It seemed, thought Jon, it seemed so due to the fact that as his Mother’s hand moved along the bookshelves, so did the expression of her face change. After a while she took her hand off them and moved it closer to her face, first just one and then both hands. She passed with both her hands across her face like she was finishing some personal prayer and then spoke to Jon.
– ‘When I die, I shall have a wonderful Ṣalāt al-Janāzah!’
– ‘What!?’, wondered Jon, seemingly incapable of following the events unfolding before him.
– ‘When I die, I shall have a wonderful Ṣalāt al-Janāzah, reiterated his Mother. ‘I tried very hard to find a balance between my wind and fire with my earth and water, and now I am convinced I have succeeded in that. I am certain of this, especially after the deaths of Ron and your Father. I often asked myself why I was the one who stayed alive when the two of them died, why I had to see both of them buried? Now, as the years pass by, it is getting clearer to me why I was supposed to achieve this internal balance. Now I am sure that I am ready and that my Ṣalāt al-Janāzah shall be wonderful. You don’t believe me? You will, when my fire expires.’ Jon was dumbfounded, he could only stare with eyes wide open at his Mother and feel a lump in his throat. He had trouble breathing. His Mother saw that Jon is confused and repeated her question.
– ‘You don’t believe me? You want to see for yourself? Here, look!’ Jon was numb, while she lightly stepped to the sofa opposite Jon, laid on it, took a deep breath and kept it for several very long seconds, only to release it and for her body to stiffen. ‘Oh my God, she is dead’ Jon said to himself. This is what it seemed like, his Mother’s face was stiff, slowly losing its colour, sort of yellowish in the beginning, then turning blue. Her skin stuck to the bones. ‘Her body must have lost all its fluids’, thought Jon, and because he couldn’t do anything else, he could only look at his Mother lying dead. She died suddenly and just was there dead in front of him. Jon gathered the last ounces of his strength to get up and all he could feel were tears rolling down his face. Then, he slowly bent over his Mother’s lifeless body covered in tears. He touched her hand softly, it wasn’t cold but it lacked warmth, he kissed that beloved hand which he felt as a part of his own being. Suddenly, his Mother’s hand moved, but Jon was not perturbed, as if he was expecting something like this to happen. The blue shade disappeared from her face and she regained her original colour, he also felt the warmth of her hand. His Mother opened her eyes and stood up with strange ease.