Remembering My Brother Haj Raad

Two Years Later:
As time passes, the death of my brother Raad becomes more of a reality. We have lost that slim possibility that maybe it was all a nightmare and not true and when we wake up, Raad will still be alive. Around this time, two years ago my son Amer went to see his uncle, followed a few days later by his sister Nada. They went to say goodbye to their beloved uncle they cared for him so deeply while I was under cancer treatment powerless, hopeless, devastated by the doctor’s announcement that my dearest brother days among us are limited.

London 2015

It was so hard for me to call and talk to him, because it meant we were saying goodbye to each other, and that was something we didn’t want to do. And as his elder son Hussein told me later, it was the same for him. His loyal wife Um-Hussein, his dearest sisters Alia and Anwaar, his two brothers Saad and Salam, his closest cousin Saleh and his wonderful children Hussein, Ali, Hasan, Mahdi and Mohammad among many others surrounded him all the time. In his final month, he remained as he always was; in command of his life, never lost faith, generous, and courteous to his waves of friends who were visiting him continuously, day and night.

It was the hardest ordeal for me that I couldn’t be by his bed in his final days. It was heartbreaking for me that the jewel of our family was evaporating from existence before our eyes and we had no say or power to change the sequence of events. We were all paralyzed, physically, emotionally and mentally. Among all, I am the one who knew him all of his life. I am the one who knows him inside and out. I am the one who lived with him without any barriers whatsoever, but I am not at his bedside.

California 1985

Regardless of all that, we strongly believed that a miracle has to happen. God has to interfere to save such a faithful man. Crazy and wonderful things happen in life. We have seen that in movies, we read it in many books, we’ve heard it in so many stories from our grandmothers and grandfathers. Miracles exist and we are waiting for one to surprise us. Miracles and immortality come in many different ways. For Raad, his miracle was his strong command and his unwavering faith even during his final days.  His immortality translated very well, during his Fatiha (فاتحة) proceeding with the outstanding attendance by all the drives of Iraqi community members living in Greater London. I heard from many friends who attended his Fatiha that it was the largest ever. The attendance was not for the sake of anyone. He was not a billionaire. He was not an Iraqi political leader. He was not a high ranking British official. He is not a Sayad or religious scholar.  The attendance was simply to share the sorrow for the loss of a very humble gentleman they know, named; “Haj Raad Al-Najafi” “Abu-Hussein”.

Farewell, brother. You made it. You had a very good life. I am proud to be your brother. Your physical departure is a reality we have to learn to live with, but to be honest, it is not getting any easier. We will always remember you, envy the legendary record of your life, hoping to follow your footsteps and walk in the same direction. You will remain in my broken heart and in my eye’s tears forever. Till we meet again, rest well Hajjie.


16 Comments on “Remembering My Brother Haj Raad

  1. This was a very beautiful story Amu. I was so honored to have spoken to him, even if briefly, what an amazing soul. I can see a bit of him in all of the family.

    Love always,


  2. Khalu, I don’t know how many times I’ve read your post and it hurts my heart every time. You so eloquently articulate our pain and loss. Khalu Raad will forever be in our hearts and our memories and an inspiration to all. Love you xxx

  3. 2 years ago, with a heavy heart, my family and I said goodbye.

    It is very hard for me not to cry on this day but I know that not what he wants. I instead want to celebrate his life and all that he has done for us, reminded each and everyday.

    Appreciate and love your family while they are here. The bond created by a father raising his son is something that time can never erode. And indeed it seems he was like a father to many of our nearest and dearest.

    I miss my Uncle everyday. He was the nicest and most genuinely caring person that you’d ever meet. A lot of times a phrase like that gets said when loved ones pass, but with my Uncle it’s actually true. Uncle Raad He is the perfect set of atoms I know. His last words to me I will never forget. “Wisam, are you happy?” I wake up to his caring words everyday. I promised him before he passed that I’m going to make him proud with my career, and strive to be the best person I can be to not only myself but my family, and to never lose sight of his kids, and his amazing and strong soul of a Wife, my Auntie Bushra. Even though I’m not physically there, I’m always thinking of you 100% and try to keep in touch. That’s exactly what I intend to do. No more excuses, fears holding me back, or irresponsibility. Uncle Raad led by example and today is another reminder that it’s time for us all to step up, for our dearest beloved Uncle Haj Raad Al-Najafi.

    I love you, forever. Rest in Paradise.

  4. It’s really hard to write any words in regards to the loss of my dear brother, Haji Raad. I’m not going to repeat what everyone has already said about him, I believe we all know what kind of human he was. We are all heartbroken, I am heartbroken. It’s a huge loss! Even with the distance between us, I always felt so close to him. I miss him so much! I truly believe we lost our jewel in the family. However I am grateful that he offered to us his five jewels; Hussain, Ali, Hassan, Mehdi and Muhammed. I can see him in every one of them. I love each of them, and my dear sister, Um Hussain, so much! God bless them all. I ask God to give us the strength from now to be more in touch and united with one another. I believe that would help him to lay in peace. Love you and miss you always.

    Al fatiha

  5. Salam amu,

    This was so beautiful and well written… the pain of my losing my beloved father will always be with me but my comfort is that he left a legacy of wisdom, generosity and humbleness that me and my brothers will always strive to implement in our lives, Inshalah.

    Al Fatiha to my Baba’s pure soul and all our lost loved ones.

    Al Fatiha

  6. I am hesitated to say any thing about Haj Raad, because all the words I say is not enough. To my brother (Hajji Raad) lay in peace in PARADISE, you deserve more than paradise. Miss you. London is not like before without you as my Abu Nada say.
    Well said my dear husband.
    الفاتحة الى روحك الطاهرة

  7. Thank you Abu Amer – such eloquent words. Haji led such an exemplary life and I will always be grateful to him for the kindness and sincerity he has shown. He was someone who could be truly admired on so many levels. He will remain in our hearts forever. Tibah xx

  8. This is very well written amou and deeply sad. I am sure it must have been very difficult for you to write this but it shows us all the love and affection we all had for amou Raad. Our true feelings on his passing can never be translated or shown through a written peace but this really gives us an idea of the emotions you were going through in the most difficult times for our family.
    We will miss him

  9. الله يرحمه برحمته الواسعة ومثواه الجنة ان شاءلله لا يسعنا ان قول انا لله وان اليه راجعون

  10. Dearest abu Amer alward, the grieve and sadness you went through for the loss of your younger vibrant and loving brother is certainly unimaginable. Very few people could have stood up to what you faced fighting the worst of diseases at the same time. We thank God who gave you the strength to overcome all and pray that He closed and locked that door and opening the doors of happiness, love and success to you and your family. God bless you all.
    Love and affection your Bro Moid

  11. I have lost many members of my own family, somehow though Raad loss has been the most sad and scary for me. Stay in peace my dear brother

    • Thank you Amu for the beautiful writing of Amu Raad , he will forever be missed and will always remain in our hearts xx

  12. My Uncle Raad was one of the most kind souls I have ever met. The kindness was throughout every inch of him, you could see it just from looking in his eyes. He had a smile that lit up the room and a great sense of humor. Just look at his many amazing children and you can get an idea of what a great man he was. I have so many fond memories of him, one of the last ones was just strolling through Hyde Park, talking about life. He was one of those people that dropped wisdom in every sentence they spoke.

    I love and miss you Uncle

  13. Wow, Daddy, this is one of the first times I hear you really opening up about your dear brother, my amazing Amu Raad. It is so hard to think that two years have already gone by without him. I think about him often, and wish he was still with us. He remains a legend to all of us, his family. I hope you write more about him and your memories together. Miss him very very much.

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