Up until that day, I believed that I had endured my share of pain for this lifetime, and that what I had overcome had made me stronger and grow as a person. But never in my life did I ever imagine that God would put my strength and my ability to grow to the test by taking away my precious daughter, my Loulwah. At four months of age, buckled safely in her car seat, my baby was killed by a reckless, speeding driver.
I remember that day so clearly. You were propped up against the yellow pillow, watching your siblings, your father and I as we played together and solved puzzles. There was a safe place for you in the corner of the couch – a place I had gotten so accustomed to seeing you every day. You were so calm and content, smiling at us and giggling. I can still hear our laughter and feel our happiness.
Later, we prepared to head to the seaside as we usually do on Saturdays. Your father Tareq took your sister Besma and your brother Ahmad in his car, while I tucked you safely in your car seat in my car, your nanny Ma. Cecelia sitting in the rear seat beside you, and we all headed out together. After a short while on the road, I could sense that something was wrong with one of my tires, so I parked my car in the “safety” lane to assess the situation.
I turned on my flashers, checked all four tires, and was figuring out what to do next, when I suddenly found myself flung across the highway. With my body throbbing with pain and covered in blood, I lay helplessly on the hot asphalt, trying to make sense of what had just happened. But in my incoherent state of confusion, I found myself staring intently at your side of the car. It was completely crushed. All I wanted was to walk over to you, to check on you, to hold you in my arms, and to protect you. But alas, God had other plans.
The next morning, as I lay in the hospital bed, your father told me that you left our world and would never, ever, be coming back. I remember that moment clearly, to the minute and to the second. The weeks since the accident have been the most difficult weeks I have ever endured in my life. The feeling of helplessness consumes me every day – physically, mentally and emotionally. I find myself worrying about Besma and Ahmad – what should I say when they ask me about you? I worry about Ma. Cecelia, who barely survived the crash – will she recover? And I worry about your father, Tareq – how are we going to pull through this?
My heart yearns for you Loulwah. I mustered up all the courage I had to enter your room again, and once inside, I found myself searching for you, hoping that I would suddenly wake up from this nightmare, hoping that by sheer magic, you would be there, and that everything would be alright again. I search for your sweet baby scent in your clothes, your bed, your bouncer, your changing table, and in every corner of our home. I want to cling on to anything that is you, to prove you existed, but you were never there. Nothing is the same without you, and nothing will ever be the same without you.
I refuse to believe that your life was in vain. Your short-lived time on this earth was for a larger purpose. Your purpose in life, and mine now, is to protect everyone, children and adults from getting killed or injured while parked in the “safety” lane. Although for a mere four months, you graced us with your presence to make people aware of the dangers of reckless driving. While you were not the first, hopefully you will be the last as your passing has touched the country as a whole.
I cannot understand how there is zero to little respect for life on our streets in Kuwait. I cannot comprehend how the Ministry of Interior passed this complicated rule of allowing the use of the “safety” lane while simple rules against reckless driving have never been respected. Inadequate penalties of limited punishment are currently enforced for highly dangerous traffic violations that put many lives at risk daily by just driving.
How many mothers have to achingly hold their lifeless infants and children in their arms for a change to finally be made? Who will put an end to reckless driving on our streets? Will your passing be the end of this decision to use the “safety” lane and return it to its original purpose, a place where drivers can feel safe in the event of an emergency?
And who will take my guilt away for parking in the “safety” lane on that fateful day, assuming that you, my dearest Loulwah, your nanny Ma. Cecelia, and I would all be safe? I love you Loulouty, and I always will. Loving you was so easy, and it came so naturally from within, and was the deepest love I have ever known. You have been the most beautiful gift to our family. I am sorry that neither I nor our country could protect you on that horrid day, but I promise that I will strive for change. I will do everything I can to make it better for everyone else, for you, Loulouty.
Your loving mother,
By Farah Abdul Hasan Khajah
Email: [email protected]