This is how my life turned around at 23

As my whole world collapsed around me, I promised myself one thing – I would share my story. I would talk about it everyday to keep myself going. I would talk about it everyday for all those who’re struggling. I’ll fight for myself and I’ll fight for them too.

My purpose: to give you all some perspective. To push you hard. To force you to live your life. YOU GET TO LIVE ONCE – OWN IT. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. This is your life. Get up and take control. I know it’s easier said than done but trust me when I tell you it can be done. Nothing is impossible. You’ll struggle, yes! You’ll even hate yourself for feeling weak – but remember one thing: Your struggle/effort is your biggest strength and your biggest motivator too.

Acceptance is the key. Breathe and let go – take a leap of faith. Trust yourself and most importantly love yourself. DO IT FOR YOURSELF AND NOT FOR THIS WORLD.

Back to my story – super loved first child. Got everything I wanted. Never faced any hardship in my life – ever. Loved and adored by everybody. Always thought life was easy – such naivety and foolishness.

2015: Best and worst year of my life. The 22 year old me gets married (fulfilling my lifelong dream and all) Everything is going according to my dream – a loving husband, amazing family and lifelong friends. Full on party scene. It was like my own personal romance novel.

A word of caution: things can change in a jiffy. Never take anything for granted. Never. Be grateful always – because dreams can change into nightmares too.

And that’s where your faith comes in. You realise how God works in mysterious ways. You don’t understand what’s happening but you just have to trust His plan.

Back to my story: Got married to the most amazing guy ever. All my friends were crazy after him – and why wouldn’t they be? He was beautiful inside out. 6 feet plus of utter perfection. He was my soul mate. Life was perfect.

End of 2015: finally turned 23. I’ve always loved birthdays – little did I know it was going to be my first and last birthday with him – I’ll spare you guys the details. A month after my birthday – my best friend/soulmate is gone. Forever.

My nightmare has just begun. How can a healthy 29 year old stop existing. We were supposed to be together forever.

23 year old and a widow – I’ve always stood out from the crowd. This time around it was for all the wrong reasons. I WAS A WIDOW. All my friends were getting hitched and producing babies and here I was – lost and alone! I just didn’t lose my husband, I lost my whole world in that moment. He was my centre. I just didn’t know how to function without him. Ah, sadly things don’t work this way. You think you can’t but you do and you hate yourself for it.

Just a little background: I may have come across as a spoilt brat but I never was one. I’m the kind of girl who believes in fairytales, second chances and forgiveness. Always have and always will. The day they buried him I went to his grave and prayed 2 nafl – nafl of shukrana. Most of you are questioning my sanity right now, right? It’s okay. We’re in the same boat. As I was dying inside (a piece of my heart and soul buried), something in me was coming alive – let’s call that sabr. I have no idea where it came from but it did – it was like a cocoon. I learnt my lesson the hard way: inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji’oon.

It was now written on my heart. I leant another lesson that day – he was never mine to begin with. He was given to me for sometime. He belonged to Allah (SWT) and so did I. I’m not saying it was a smooth sailing. I struggled. I died everyday. And the worst bit was that I couldn’t even grieve properly. Everybody was looking towards me for strength. In comes faith. It became my biggest supporter – when I was down, my faith pushed me to stand up. I died everyday and I lived everyday too. All I knew was that Allah (SWT) had a beautiful plan for me. And patience is messy. You grieve, you cry and you feel lost but knowing that Allah SWT is looking over you gives you so much comfort.

He was a part of my heart. I lost so much that day but I never let anything stop me – I knew I had to fight. This was it – this moment was going to define my life forever. I could just sit there and cry and blame God. Or I could live my life – fulfil his dreams and mine too. This was my way of honouring him. I decided to give this life my best shot. Here I am ,at almost 25, studying human rights at the LSE (fulfilling his dream and all – HE BETTER BE PROUD OF ME). I just want you guys to remember that with difficulty comes ease – your opening is going to come too. Things will get better. It will happen, I promise. Don’t lose faith. Hang in there.

This story is submitted by Sara Sultan

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