Good Night, Sweet Master

May You Forever Rest In Peace

It will be forever a “where were you when you heard the news?” moment. It was a very warm and balmy June night when I was sitting in my car, and my cousin called. “Did you hear the news?” he asked. I answered in the negative. He then proceeded to tell me words I never imagined I would hear: our dear, beloved friend and brother Ahmed Elsayed passed away.

“WHAT???”

That’s all I could say, in utter shock and disbelief. He was on his way to a relative’s funeral when he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He wasn’t even 45 years old.

I always took it for granted that Ahmed would always be there: we grew up together, our families were very close, and I watched him grow up from a fun-loving young kid to a beautiful and successful adult and loving, devoted father. I just always figured I would watch him move from life phase to life phase, always with a smile on my face. Alas, the Lord had other plans for him.

He is survived by a devastated family: truly beautiful and majestic parents; three wonderful sisters; and — most tragically — a young son just coming into adolescence. I am so terribly saddened that Ahmed will never get to see his son become the same beautiful man his dad was. I know — in my heart of hearts — that Ahmed will live on through his son Amir. It just will be so hard to live on without Ahmed there with us.

To those who knew him, myself included, Ahmed was just so fun to be around. He was smart, witty, and fun-loving. I still remember the times when we would listen to dance mix tapes together, the numerous sleepovers at his house with the rest of our crew, and the innumerable dinner parties that our families would have together. They are wonderful memories, and they make his loss ever more difficult to bear.

As he blossomed into adulthood, he had become an ever more impressive individual. A “Like” from him on my Twitter or LinkedIn feed meant the world to me, as I valued his opinions and insight. I never thought — in my wildest imagination — that I would be bidding this wonderful man farewell from this world.

One of his (and my) closest friends said it best about Ahmed:

He fit into every group and community. Not only can he get along with different mindsets, but he also brought those groups together. As a friend, he was my oldest, a brother. Even though we lead separate lives as we got older, we always kept that bond and stayed connected. Pinging each other when something reminds us of one another and checking in if it’s been too long.

His sister Maryam wrote this about Ahmed:

I called him if I needed work advice, a pep talk, an escape, a reality check, brutal honesty, or just tech support. He was funny and strong. He was kind and smart. He could fix anything. He was creative and a perfectionist about it, like the 20 ft PVC pipe that he put in our garage just so he can safely and securely connect our tv artfully on the wall without one wire showing. He was the coolest dad to the coolest twelve year old who is sadly still too young to have fully appreciated it. He was not without his vices or mistakes, but he was much, much more than them. He stopped on the road to help strangers. He drove across countries to move little sisters, or watch them give a speech they were nervous about. He brought flowers to his little niece’s first performance. I still can’t believe I won’t get his daily messages that ranged from insightful, political, funny, occasionally inappropriate, or just a “Good morning family.”

He was such a beautiful soul, and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

You know, I can’t help but think that this fact — Ahmed Elsayed has passed away — just doesn’t seem right. It seems against the natural order of things. I am absolutely certain many are thinking, feeling, and perhaps even saying that Ahmed was taken from us too soon.

Yet, there is no such thing as “too soon.” This was Ahmed’s time. While we are all terribly saddened by his loss, he didn’t belong to us. He belonged to God. And God has asked for His servant to come back home. While it doesn’t make it hurt any less, it is soothing to know that Ahmed is now with his Lord, who is an ever better Protector and Comforter than anyone or anything else in existence.

In Arabic, “Ahmed Elsayed” literally means “the ever-praised master.” And he will forever live up to that name.

He will be “ever praised” by his friends, his family, and his colleagues as a beautiful son, father, brother, friend, and colleague. He was also a “master”: a master of friendship, a master of love, and a master of making you smile whenever you were with him.

Good night, sweet master. May you forever rest in peace, and we will miss you so very, very much.