Posted on 08 March 2017

Meet Gina...

“When you have been married for many years to the love of your life, you don’t accept the grief of losing the person. But it is actually the greatest risk of loving each other so much. We had grown together so much, that we didn’t need words, nor to say “I love you” every day, because it was understood.

I lost my husband recently after having been with him for 32 years. Never before had I realized how fragile the boundary between life and death can be, as fragile as a single heartbeat. You don’t understand it until it happens to you. I held his hand and listened to his last breath, doomed to keep living without him – I couldn’t fathom it at all. But his time and work on this earth was done, he was moving on. Sometimes it is hard to bear. But I also understand that my sorrow is actually my love for him – the pain is part of the love we had. Your identity and life changes in a heartbeat. The sorrow doesn’t lessen with time, but the landscape of your life grows larger, making room for living again.

People always tell me that I need to seek out events that give me joy and that give my life meaning. Life is taking and giving, loving and losing; to me, the sorrow of loss now means “love you forever”. And you can find joy in continuing to live.

My husband used to look at me when I was putting on my scarf, smiling a little at the corner of his eye – he thought I was beautiful. Now, even though he is no longer here, when I put on my scarf, it feels like he is still looking over my shoulder and smiling. I still feel beautiful and free to wear the scarf. Not necessarily as an expression of my religiosity, but as a symbol of my independence and freedom to be a woman with my own personal clothing style. And you can have a bad ‘scarf day’ just like a bad ‘hair day’.”

By Gina Al-farra,
Chief physician at the X-ray dept. at Herlev Hospital

Photo: Asim Iqbal
Proofreading: Morten Hededal
Translator: Lisbeth Agerskov Christensen
Headwear: Diana White Pearl

The portrait series "Femininity, Empowerment, and Headwear” is a collaboration between Helen Latifi Headwear and United Colors of Denmark and #UnitedColorsOfDenmark #UCOD

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