My Ah ma has left us.
I've always written about how my father has been so open-minded and non-judgmental in my conversion to Islam. He probably got that from my Ah ma.
Many years ago, my uncle converted to Christianity and held his wedding in a church. My grandfather refused to attend it and ordered her to do the same. But she just gave him the biggest eye roll and attended the wedding to give her son her blessings anyway. To her, as long as her children were happy, she didn't care what religion they held.
When Aizat first met her, he kissed her hand while giving her salam. Almost immediately, she brought his hand to her lips and kissed it in return. We explained that it was a sign of respect to elders and she did not have to reciprocate it. She didn't care. She continued kissing our hands every time we visited her.
A year before, my father whatsapp-ed me, out of the blue, to say that my grandma wanted a hijab.
"What for??" I asked.
He told me that my grandma's head felt cold whenever the fan blew at her. She has been wrapping with towels the past few nights.
I asked my mom-in-law for help and she immediately sent me home with 2! My grandma had a lot of fun trying them on.
She didn't care that these practices were rooted in our religion; she didn't care that the hijab was a symbol for Islam. All she cared about was that kissing each other's hand was something she liked and the hijab kept her warm. Such was her spirit - so free, so... indifferent! She chose to celebrate sameness instead of amplifying differences.
Her obituary is spotted with names of grandson- and granddaughter-in-laws of different nationalities and races and that's just a testament to the big-hearted lady that she was for the past 91 years.