FUJAIRAH // The mother of martyred pilot Zayed Al Kaabi said Wednesday’ rain was “the sky shedding tears of joy today, welcoming my dearest son”.
Saadeh Naseb was joined by hundreds who turned out to honour the 37-year-old, who died on his birthday on Monday along with Mohammed Al Hmoudi when their jet fighter crashed in Yemen.
Al Kaabi was serving in Yemen alongside his brother Adel. He leaves behind four children and a pregnant wife, having discovered only four days before he died that he was to become a father again.
Family members, friends and relatives from across the country gathered at Al Mamoun Mosque in Merbeh to say their last goodbyes and to pray to Allah to bless his soul.
“He was kind to me and to all the family,” his grieving mother said. “He used to be first in his class since he was a little boy. His father died when he was 11 years old and now he has left his son Khalifa, who is also 11.”
After the funeral, Khames, another of Al Kaabi’s brothers, brought home the flag used to wrap the martyr’s body and handed it to his mother with pride, asking her to smell it.
“I can smell musk because it is a piece of heaven,” said Ms Naseb, 69.
Al Kaabi graduated from Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 1998 and married in 2004. The family had last seen him on February 29, 14 days before his death, although he was always in contact with his mother and wife.
“I woke up on Monday morning looking for the phone to call Zayed and Adel, because they are both in Yemen,” Ms Naseb said. “I can’t have my breakfast before hearing from them, but I didn’t find it, my daughters had hidden it, so I didn’t know about my son.”
Al Kaabi’s sister, Amna Al Kaabi said: “I was at work when my younger sister called me and said that I should come home quickly to take my mother to the hospital for an appointment, but I was somehow suspicious.
“When I arrived, I saw my older brother’s car parked outside my mother’s house.
“When I entered, he looked at me and said with tears in his eyes, ‘congratulations, your brother has become a martyr’.
“He died on his birthday. We sent him – before we knew about the accident – our birthday wishes through WhatsApp, but he never opened them and they will stay unread.
“His wife found out last Thursday that she is pregnant and they were expecting a baby.”
Sheikh Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, performed the funeral prayer, and senior officials, Armed Forces officers and police officers were in attendance.
Al Kaabi was laid to rest at Merbeh Cemetery.