“So wise so young, they say do never live long.” -William Shakespeare.
As I sit, staring blankly at my keyboard, I try and remember my cousin’s philosophies on life. I wish I could have recorded them, wrote them down, neatly packaged and copyrighted them. I would stand on every corner of the globe and pass them out; I’m sure the world would be a better place because of it.
Hasan, his younger brother Asad, my younger brother and I were so tight. It would take a bulldozer, or perhaps a laser missile fired from the Millennium Falcon, to break us apart. We would take trips during the summer to his home in Jacksonville, Fla., or they would come visit us in Vancouver, Canada. Over the nine or so years of this tradition, I watched Hasan grow from a boy into a man. Every subsequent summer I saw him, he would look a little older, a little wiser, and the things he would say would make more and more sense. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, and I think his goal in life was to make everyone he ever came in contact with laugh.
He was always so understanding. If he knew there was something you really loved and others were somehow disparaging it, he would be the first to stand up to them, whether he believed in it or not. Whether it was my taste in music (Britney Spears), television shows (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”), movies (I always seemed to pick bad ones) or Democratic candidates (Howard Dean), he would always be right there, enjoying and defending these things along with me. I told my younger brother that we should adopt a small part of him so that he forever lives on. I decided to make an effort to be as nonjudgmental toward others as possible. And although I know I’ll never be able to fill his shoes, I will try.
Last summer, I had my heart set on surfing. Hasan woke up at about 9:30 am and got dressed; he was just as excited as I was. Along with my two aunts and myself, he drove the 20-minute drive down to Jacksonville Beach for my 11 a.m. appointment. We hopped out of the car and searched the beach for my instructor. For 40 minutes we searched and searched until finally I realized I had been stood up. Although it was my dream, the look on Hasan’s face told me he was just as distraught. He tried to comfort me as best he could. When we got home I said, “Hasan, I’m sad,” and he told me, “Don’t worry, we’ll go next time for sure.” Instantly, I felt comforted. He was such a sweetheart like that, and the next wave I catch will be in his honor.
I adore Hasan Hussain, he will forever be on my mind and I anticipate the day that we will once again meet.
-The writer, a student at William Fraser University, is the cousin of Hasan Hussein.