Married at the young age of 18, to a 27 year old Naim Akhtar, little did Fatim know this young man, who she had never met or spoken to before, would so soon become the most important part of her life.
It was a traditional arranged marriage, where the bride and groom had no say in choosing their partners, but the parents made the decisions for them. Luckily, for this couple, they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“He treated me like a princess, and would do every possible thing to make sure I was comfortable,” said Fatim, while speaking about her husband.
“During the months of Ramadaan, I won’t wake up at 4 AM to eat or drink anything but he would wake up and bring me a glass of cold milk every night,” Fatim added while reminiscing some beautiful memories.
Although love was abundant, but this couple too had seen a lot of bumpy roads. In 2006 Fatim was diagnosed with a second stage breast cancer. Amidst the numerous visits to the hospital, and six chemotherapies in Dar es Salaam, one man who always stood by her side was her dear husband.
After her first chemotherapy, Fatim lost all her hair and while overcoming the unbearable pain, she always thought it was all a bad dream that would eventually come to an end. She somehow knew, with her loving husband by her side there was nothing that could go wrong.
Speaking about her husband, Fatim said, “Eversince I got sick he didn’t let me go in kitchen. We had maid to do the cooking, and sometimes he would make tea for us.”
She recalled, he always said, “I can’t live without you.”
But Fatim kept assuring, “Everything will be okay.”
Luckily, Fatim recovered soon, and she believes it was all because of her husband’s prayers that she is healthy now. She said, “He would pray for my recovery everyday. From midnight to six in the morning.”
After Fatim’s recovery it looked like a new start for the couple. They had planned to visit India to take their minds off the mental, emotional and physical stress they had been through in the previous two years.
However, God had some other plans.
Just a few days before their trip, Naim suffered a from a minor heart attack. Then on the morning of 20th March 2008, he suddenly passed away aged 54, leaving behind his grieving wife and son.
Today, 9 years after the fatal incident, Fatim lives in Florida with her son and still finds it hard to let go of the memories that they shared together, and fill the void that her husband left behind.
“I still miss him everyday, and cry for him. But he visits me in my dreams – that’s the only way I can see him,” says Fatim.