It is probably a good idea if we tell you a bit about Yusef, his life, his loves and his personality. He is a much loved son and brother, one of four. On 24 September 2007, he went for a game of after-school football and died suddenly from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. He was 12 years and 9 months. Yusef had no illness, and he led a very active and full life, thank God. He was healthy, happy, strong and sporty. He loved nothing more than kicking a football or playing for his beloved Dundee Eagles Rugby Club and he had recently started playing for Harris Academy 1st years. He was also a keen swimmer and used to swim lengths of the pool just for fun. Tennis and hockey were amongst his other favourite sports and in general, he liked to try everything in order to decide if he would like to continue with it. Yusef applied a perfect combination of humour and sincerity to his life.
I always wanted a son called Yusef but never imagined I would be so fortunate to have one who was so special; one that would emerge from a childhood of questions and doubts and sensitivities of life, to a well-balanced, forward-thinking young man, just edging forward on the brink of adulthood; a fine young man who touched the lives of ALL who knew him. Grown men wept as they said goodbye to, and remembered, Yusef.
He was always caring and quietly worrying about others. Yusef was always one of the first to pat you on the back and offer praise.
He had a thirst for knowledge. And with the limited capacity that we have in this life to understand, he was pushing his capability to the limit, he had to always ask questions. His knowledge of science and history, in particular Islamic History, would put us to shame. His book collection is one to be admired, not forgetting his age.
Yusef and his dad spent many a time watching historical movies and discussing history. Abubaker has lost his soul mate and his best friend. There are so many things they used to do together that are too painful for his dad to contemplate doing now. The Still Game DVDs lie in their boxes untouched now.
He loved the sibling rivalry in the home, but don’t let anyone else dare to fight with them or to call them a name. They are all so loyal to each other.
He was so proud of Adam, who had just entered 5th year at Harris Academy, where Yusef had just started in the August. He took great pride in the fact that he, as a first year, was the only pupil in the school to get away with bringing Adam down in a rugby tackle then get all the first years to sit on him. Only Yusef could get away with that from Adam. He missed Haytham when he went away from home to University in Edinburgh just 2 weeks before his death, but was so proud of him for following his dream. He cherished his much loved and wanted younger brother Jaber, and watched him play rugby with pride.
Our Yusef was a truly amazing son, brother and friend to all. He wanted to be a doctor so he could help others and was so aware, despite his tender age, of the need for medical research. Quite ironic, really, considering the circumstances surrounding his death. Along with his brothers, he actively encouraged and persuaded me to return to study in 2007, something that they are so proud of.
I never before could have contemplated that I could bear the pain that I am suffering, that all of us as a family, and individually, are suffering, but there is no greater proof for us that God truly is the Creator of All Things. He has made sure that our hearts can cope, that our minds can cope. But it is not easy. Time is still not yet a healer.
Yusef's death has acted as a reminder for all of us, how fragile life is and how, without illness, disease, pain or involvement of any internal or external factor, the Angel comes and takes our souls. This is what we believe. We also believe that Yusef does not need anything from us now but there are two things we can still do for his benefit; we can pray for him and we can give to charity in his name. These are two acts that can continue to benefit him even after his death.
This brings me to The Yusef Abubaker Memorial Trust with the Remembering Yusef logo. Yusef lives on in all his brothers and his memory must not fade. The more charitable acts we can do in his name, the more the needy will benefit. We are only in this life a short time – let us all spend it giving to those more in need than ourselves.
Yusef was a very fortunate young man who thankfully never knew pain, poverty or illness. Let us consider those who do.