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To my family: [name removed], Joseph, and Rachel most of all,

To: [name removed], my brother whom Ive loved with all my heart since the day he was but a baby
in my mothers womb,
To: my best friend Waleed and his wife, [name removed], from Saudi Arabia,
To: my friend [name removed] from [name removed], Texas,
To: My father and mother,

First, let me set the record straight: I have loved my wife and our kids until the moment of
my last breath, and I believe I hope my love for them is even strong enough to endure the
afterlife. They came into my life at a point when I had lost my best friend, [name removed]
(PBUH) and my biological family had separated. Yes, to begin with, our marriage was not one of
love, yet I recalled how historically, arranged marriages had worked well. And Im reminded of this
line from Game of Thrones:

Your father didnt love me when we married. He hardly knew me or I

him. Love didnt just happen to us. We built it slowly over the years,
stone by stone, for you, for your brothers and sisters, for all of us. Its not
as exciting as secret passion in the woods, but it is stronger. It lasts
longer. Catelyn Stark, Game of Thrones

The separation between my wife and I was entirely my fault. Nearly, if not every, conflict in
our marriage was my fault. But what marriage doesnt have conflict? Who among you have led
perfect married lives and never had an argument. In truth, as [name removed] will agree, our last two
months together were the best weve ever had. And Im sure she will agree that we were the closest
couple anyone had ever witnessed. Therefore, as our highs were higher than any other couples, so
too were our lows the lowest. Yet every low was the result of my own arrogance, stupidity, and, more
than anything, my stubbornness.
Jumping back to [name removed], I never fully recovered. Following his untimely death, I
tried to stay afloat. I kept busy with work and stayed surrounded by friends. Yet, mentally I was
unable to reach my previous capacity, especially academically. Recall just a year earlier, I pulled off
straight As for the fourth, fifth? time following a DUI and high speed auto collision the week
prior. My mental stamina was first-rate. None couldve bested me when I was at my prime.

But losing [name removed] changed that. I made the decision not to return back to the
prestigious institution known as [name removed]. I chose to enroll to the local university, [name
removed], so I could stay close to my family and friends. I simply didnt have the mental capacity to
deal with [name removed]s death, my parents divorce, and university at the same time. Sure, there
are those who could and there are those who endure worse troubles and succeed. But I was not one
of them.

Not everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, President Jed

Bartlet, The West Wing

So I married [name removed], who quickly became the love of my life. She brought me back
to God. Does anyone realize I had not been to a church for over a year before she brought me to
one? A Muslim from Makkah convinced me to go to a Christian church with her? Obviously this is
before I converted to Islam.
Speaking to Islam, I find it to be a peaceful religion and in harmony with Judaism and
Christianity; the three Abrahamic religions. It bothered me, no, it disturbed me how people could
only see their differences instead of their similarities. If only we would only look upon one another
as brothers and sisters instead of enemies, how much easier it world piece would be?! This is how the
Muslims at any mosque Ive set foot in have treated me. They introduce themselves with the greeting
of As-salmu alaykum, brother, and converse with me. They get to know me, ask for my phone
number, text me to wish me Ramadan Mubarak, or Happy Eid!.
Ive been to Christian churches of nearly every faith over the past three years and have never
had this experience before. It seems to me that Christians go to church just to put in their weekly
hour for God, while on the other hand, my Muslim friends will stop whatever they are doing to pray
one of the five daily prayers.
The second thing [name removed] gave me was support and, at times, pressure, to complete
my bachelors degree. During my more stubborn years, I swore to my mother and father that for
every year I spent in hell Kansas State University I would spend another year at a place I
enjoyed. And I did, without realizing it. After my three years at [name removed], I transferred to
[name removed] and had a ball. Then I took a year off to be with my new family. Finally, after my
wifes insistence, I finished at [name removed]. 3 years plus 3 years equals six years. I didnt mean
these words when I uttered them, but they clearly came true.
Finally, I tried to make my life one of significance. I tried inventing creations, some of which
worked, others of which did not. I partnered with the Mechanical Engineering Department of
[name removed] on several occasions, and on at least one it yield hopeful results. But no one ever

believed in me. No one ever supported my dreams. Did you know I also wrote three movie scripts?
Ever since I was age 11 I wanted to become a director. Growing up, I came to terms with the dreamy
nature of such an ambition, yet I never yielded. I received a scholarship for my video work in high
school and also became a professional writer while at [name removed]. Sure, its nothing much, six
or seven local newspapers and two alumni magazines for [name removed] and [name removed]. But
it was all in preparation for my ultimate goal of making it to Hollywood through screenwriting.
Regrettably, I fear my greatest screenplay will remain unfinished after the time of this writing the
story of my married life and personal conversions while married to someone of another culture. I
even had half the book written.
Even those dreams are dead now. They died shortly before I died physically. I never had any
support except to fulfill the personal desires of others. When I wanted to attend The Art Institute of
[name removed], I was denied. Reasons given were: Youll have to pay for your own car. Your own
insurance. Etc. And at that time I had not grown the necessary testicles to go against my parents
Ultimately, several months after I pulled myself from a stronger depression than you will ever
realize, I came to the following dilemma: I am free. I have no wife, no kids, no responsibilities. If I
could do anything in the world, what would I do? And I decided I wanted to be a photographer
again. So I reached out to a rising star, asked her if I could do a photoshoot with her, just for my
own advertising benefit. Her manager replied that not only that, but if my images are worthy, they
would be her cover and album art for her first album featuring a duet with [name removed] (She was
the star in one of his music videos). Further talks elevated me to be her personal photographer,
provide the photoshoot went well. (To those who know me: have I ever taken subpar pictures?) Yet I
would need to fund the trip, recouping revenue from album sales (To give you an idea, Pepsi and
L'Oral Paris, among two movie studios, have made offers to her).
I am no longer able to live a failure. Im no longer able to live without support. I have failed
God, most of all, for not utilizing my talent to its full potential. I have failed you, my wife and
children, for everything that made us separate. I have failed you, my brothers Waleed and [name
removed] and [name removed], my sister, by giving up, something Ive never done before.

I regret that this is the only solution Ive come to. I feel that life resisted me at every twist
and turn, that at times, God was even mocking me (although I know this isnt true for he is Ever AllKnowing, All-Wise). I often recalled the story of Gods servant Job and asked myself if, like Job,
Satan had wagered my soul among the eternal scales of justice. I suppose if that is true, I have failed
and Satan has won. But I tried, God how much did I try to do something significant in this life.
Never did I anticipate changing the world, but I had hope to do something worthy of this life that
God gave me. Most regrettably, I never did.

On top of that, I never came close. Had I come close to doing anything worthy of Gods
gifts and love, I would have engendered love and support from those around me. During the past
eight or nine years, Ive never felt this from anyone except my wife, [name removed]. When I created
[name removed].com to advocate against drunk driving, I still found no support. Everyone always
wanted me to do what they had in their minds, which above all meant following other peoples
paths. I was born to blaze my own and I believe my ideas bear merit even upon my untimely (or is it
timely?) passing. Ive left a framework, an outline so to speak, of my ideas that I had hoped to
achieve over the next 50 years with a trusted colleague of mine. Maybe he or she will share them.
Maybe not. He also has an outline for my greatest half-finished work, SHISHA, the screenplay
chronicling my married life. Should it ever be completed, it shall never be dedicated to me. It should
be dedicated to my wife and children, and Waleed and [name removed]; those whove made my life
worth living these past few years. Im so sorry, Im so sorry for having failed you all.
I request a Muslim burial, yet I have no optimism about actually receiving one. Theres a
great simplicity in it and I died a Muslim.

There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.

Finally, I loved my wife until my dying breath, and if the afterlife is merciful, even in the
next life. To her I owe everything, but most of all my renewed faith in God. I regret that it wasnt
enough to get me through this life.
When I sleep, I have nightmares. Nightmares of my family, [name removed] and the kids.
Nightmares of [name removed], of guns. When Im awake, I have bad thoughts, nightmarish day
dreams of them. I cant escape any of it. I am directly, and most, responsible for losing my family. I
have to kill the monster inside. Only I can kill it and it seems like I must now. I wish there were
another way. I wish, in the bottom of my heart, that I could have support for something in my life
that gives it meaning, whether it is my photography, teaching English overseas, or attaining my
masters degree in Saudi Arabia where Ive had the offer to study for free, and then some. I truly wish
I have a reason to live, something to believe in again. And maybe someone to believe in me. But I
dont see it anymore.
I die holding no grudges, having forgiven anyone who might have done me wrong, though I
can think of none. It is I who did people wrong and I hope you can forgive me. Im sorry, so sorry.