Extracts from Laura’s Voice Whispers from an Angel.
After Laura’s death, the Dubai Police ignored the request I had made, via Luis Camara Deputy Head of Mission and Consul from the Embassy of Portugal in Abu Dhabi, as to where she had been staying in the days leading up to her death. Laura had dual nationality, South African and Portuguese, and she had entered Dubai with her Portuguese passport.
Her handbag arrived on 7 January along with her ashes and the coroner’s report in Arabic and translated into English, issued by the Government of Dubai.
In it was her iPhone which was fortunately not password protected. The language had been changed to Arabic by the Dubai Police. I changed it back to English.
With the phone came the identity of her love interest, Mubarak bin Fahad, his telephone number and email address. And a photograph of him.
I also found WhatsApp messages between him and Laura which they had exchanged over the last few days before her death, and on the day of her death at 3:43:56 PM, she received the last message from him. “Yes.”
There is no suggestion that Mubarak was responsible for Laura’s death.
Her most precious possession was not in her handbag, a Shiva-Shakti pendant which she always wore on a long black cord around her neck, the pendant nestling between her breasts, out of sight beneath her abaya. It represented her and Mubarak, her Twin Flame.
There was also a Blackberry phone and two small memory cards in a sealed transparent plastic bag. The back cover was slightly damaged and there was no battery or charger, or sim card. I had a similar phone so I used my battery to try and recharge the phone but it would not switch on. It was only months after visiting Dubai in March 2015 that I realised that Laura had been carrying the phone when she fell to her death. I never thought that anything could survive a fall from that height. I tried to access the phone once again except this time I used the back cover of my phone. It worked but was password protected.
Her watch was also in the plastic bag, one side of the metal strap missing, and the face of the watch was unscratched and intact. The time was Dubai time, two hours ahead of South Africa, and still working.
There were two empty envelopes and a gold bill folder with the Abidos Hotel Apartments Dubailand logo embossed on them. The invoices had been removed. At last, I knew where she had been staying and was able to locate her ‘hidden luggage’ and arrange to have it sent to me in South Africa.
In her luggage, apart from her clothing and documents, were her computer and another Blackberry phone which was again password protected.
In her toiletry bag, I found the Shiva-Shakti pendant. The long black cord was missing.
Amongst her documents was a Certificate for Accepting the Islamic faith, dated 19 June 2004. She had been studying in Johannesburg at the time. There was also a Certificate of Embracing Islam in April 2014 which she had received she had received from the Dubai Court. She had chosen Noora as her Muslim name, meaning light. Many years earlier, before she left for the Middle East, she started calling herself Nura, and then Noura. I had not realised that Laura had been so serious about Islam.
In part of an email she sent to Mubarak, she said, “Because of you I have become closer to Islam, and the mystery of Allah and His love.”
She loved cats and had adopted street kittens on two separate occasions. She found the first one in 2008 when she was working in Dubai but had to give her away when she left to work in another country. Its name was Shakti. The second cat found Laura in Doha, Qatar, “A skinny little kitten that turned into a Golden Princess.” On the cover of her phone is a photograph of her beloved cat. Laura worked in Dubai for five months before making her final return to Dubai on 18 October 2014.
When she left Qatar she gave Golden Princess to an Egyptian woman, Germeen Bebawy, who would find good homes for cats that had either been abandoned or given to her when owners could no longer keep them. Months after Laura’s death Germeen let me know that Golden Princess had finally been placed.
Laura once picked up a baby dove that was lying on a Saudi Arabian beach and took it home. She looked after it for a week or two until it was strong enough to fend for itself, after which she released it in the same place where she had found it. She wrote a little note to the dove, and an email to Mubarak, speaking about the little dove.
As a child, Laura did not approve of being guided or controlled. She was stubborn and determined and once she made up her mind, nothing could change it, even if she knew she was in the wrong. She was forthright and transparent, tactless, and due to her fiery temperament, she would often voice her opinion about the spas where she was working, criticising the staff and managers, and would ultimately end up leaving with no reference to help her secure new employment.
She could also be beautiful and happy when she was in the right environment, her brown almond-shaped eyes softening as she smiled. She loved nature and animals and had a special way with birds. They would perch on her fingers and not fly away.
And she loved her family.
She was mainly positive about life, intuitive and sensitive, and would walk away from negative people. But she could also be moody and unpredictable, her moods often influenced by the full moon. She was a fighter and a survivor. Or so I thought.
Laura also had a childlike innocence and purity that gave her a sense of serenity in the face of so much adversity. Her defiance hid the hurt and pain which were her daily mantle. Everyone hurt her. I hurt her. I didn’t realise how fragile she was.
15 April 2014, Laura was back in Dubai, from Portugal.
Her love for Mubarak and her need to be loved by him brought out an intense vulnerability in her.
To her friend Asima (name changed to protect her identity), she said,
“And after three weeks I was here I told him I was here…but still did not see him…nor want to right now! If I am meant to be with him it will happen. But Allah brought me back here so will see and be patient meanwhile.”
In another message to the same friend, she said,
“Mubarak messed me so much. I fell so hard, until the end, because I needed to know the truth. I could not let go of him until life forced me to. I stuck it through to the end even though I knew I was falling and he would not pick me up. I had to see it to the end…but my feelings for him are not that easy to forget. But it is a part of my path in life. I had to walk that way. I feel, yes, I control my life. But life controls us if you understand. Everything that happened since I met him, and things that happened before I met him, all pointed to him.”
By the end of her life, Laura had become a sad, disillusioned, almost tragic figure, but she had found peace and strength in her religion and trusted in Allah to guide her. Always a loner, she had become more withdrawn and isolated, almost friendless. Facebook became her best friend, where she would share her life in cyberspace. We would often miss each by minutes in the early morning but she would often be back in the afternoon or evening when I wasn’t there. Sometimes she would choose the ‘only me’ posting option which only she could see, or she would customise some posts, excluding me and family members.
After the shock of Laura’s death her Facebook page, iPhone, computer and documents, have filled some of the gaps in her life that she concealed from me and from which I have tried to make sense of her suicide, but of course, there is never any sense to suicide and unanswered questions will always remain.
At the time of her death, we were estranged. She often told me that I didn’t know her and that she was sorry we didn’t understand each other.
From Laura…1 March 2009…’Laura’s Voice WHISPERS from an ANGEL’.
“Who can turn raindrops into sunshine…and teardrops into smiles!!?”
“I’m Free,” a poem written by Anne Lindgren Davison and recited by Laura’s William ‘Dad’ at the small memorial service which we held on the beach in Hout Bay, South Africa.
“Don’t grieve for me for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me
I took his hand when I heard him call,
I turned my back and left it all
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I’ve found that peace at the close of day
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow
My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,
Good friends, good times, my loved one’s touch
If my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief
Lift up your heart, rejoice with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.”