I say, "I love you" to my friends and family; to people that I truly like or have impacted my life in some positive way. I believe that love is religion. The more you spread it, the more you'll find it; and it can be anywhere.
So, I say it when I leave and sometimes on the phone. A lot of my friends do too.
This past week, I was very grateful that I have said, "I love you," as often as I do, to a particular friend, Ali, who just got into a very bad motorcycle accident. He's one of his group (of real cousins) that I call my "cousins". Ali is a happy, sunny guy who is never down.
That is what's left of the motorcycle. He wasn't wearing a helmet or any protective gear and I don't think he is very experienced in riding a cycle.
He's been in the ICU since Friday night. They had him in an induced coma until they assessed how bad it was and gave his body a chance to heal.
I know a lot of people in his extended family, so most of them know me or have heard about me. But not all. I've been to the hospital every day to visit him and all the ladies stare at me, wondering who this blonde foreign woman is who has come to visit him. I've met his mother now and a lot of the aunts and uncles, but it seems like every day, more people come to see him and to pray.
Last night I was escorted to his room (window actually) in the ICU by his brother. There were a bunch of elderly women there. His mother wasn't there. One of the women turned to the brother (one of my other cousins) and asked, "Who is she?" in Arabic. I immediately responded (in Arabic), "I'm Ali's wife." Everything stopped. Time stood still. Jaws dropped. And then I started laughing. And then they started laughing. And then I got invitations to their homes for lunch.
He will be moved soon and he'll start real treatment. It could have been a lot worse. He didn't hit his head. His spine and legs are fine. He had several chest punctures from metal and he broke his shoulder (the fact that it was heavily padded by steroid-induced muscles probably helped). Last night, I saw him wiggle his toes and I was so relieved.
You never know when someone you care about will bare something traumatic. They should know they are loved. I'm pretty sure my cousin does.
Please say a special prayer for his recovery.