THE YEAR THAT CHANGED MY LIFE …
Everywhere I look these days, people are busy summing up their 2018. Old memories being re-lived, new resolutions being made, lots of excitement in the air as the countdown to a brand new year begins ….
Yet here I am struggling to find courage to sum up my year. It started off on a good note but ended on a sad one as it was the year I said my final goodbye to my father. I was pretty sure this was something I did not want to share on a public platform. But it wasn’t until my best friend went back home to meet her parents for xmas messaged to tell me how my recent events had made her closer to her parents. Hearing that really moved me, and encouraged me to write about it hoping it would also make you pick up the phone and call your parents to tell them how much you love them. Trust me, one phone call is all it takes to make them happy for the rest of the day ….
It was a perfectly normal day in October. I carried on with my usual routine and had made movie plans with a friend for the night as Ahmed was out of town that weekend. I was in the cinema with a friend looking for our seats when I received an unexpected call from my Mum. I thought it was a routine call, but as soon as I heard her say ‘hello’ my alarm bells set off. I knew immediately something was wrong but I was certainly not expecting to hear what followed. My father had passed away.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Though my world had come crashing down with the news, I still remember the first thing I asked my Mum being ‘Was it peaceful?’ Once she confirmed it was, there was a strange sense of calm that came over me. The next few hours were spent answering more phone calls, booking my flight and packing some last minute stuff as I made my way to see my father one last time.
I had spoken to my father the night before he had passed away. It was a perfectly fun and normal conversation ranging from cricket to what was for dinner to how much he was looking forward to my trip in December. That was always our favourite month when we spent quality time with each other with plenty of chit chat, movie nights at home, ordering in plenty of delicacies the city had to offer and my golden opportunity to take care of my parents as much as I possibly could.
That short 1 hour 30 minutes flight felt like the longest one that day as I sat feeling comfortably numb. I didn’t know what to think at that point so I decided to go through pictures on my phone. Although there were a gazillion pics to go through, I realised that last selfie I took with my father was the best one. It clearly showed the beautiful bond we shared – him being the loving father he was who faced everything with that sweet smile of his, and me holding on to him dearly being ‘Daddy’s little girl‘ I have always been …
My father lived a wonderful life and was loved by many. He taught me many valuable lessons during his lifetime – to never give up, to be positive at all times, and to always stay strong no matter what. It’s almost as if he was preparing me for what was to come. But guys, trust me when I say nothing can prepare you for what you feel when the time actually comes. They say time heals everything. I say the pain lasts forever but one just learns to live with it. The void within you will always remain.
It’s December again and time for me to travel back home. It still feels incredibly hard to believe my father won’t be there this time, waiting for my phone call to tell him we landed safely and also to ask ‘phir kab milnay aa rahi ho?‘ (So when are you coming to meet me?) in his usual loving way. If only I can hear his voice one more time …..
My sincere apologies if this post made you emotional today. But this is a reality of life all of us will have to face at some point in our lives. The intention behind it was to tell you if you are still blessed enough to have parents in your life then please do not take them for granted and include them in your new year resolution. Love them unconditionally and take care of them the way they always took care of you. Don’t rely on tomorrow when today is still not over.
I’d also like to say a massive thank you from the depths of my heart to all who have stood by me during this difficult time. It would be impossible to mention everyone but I would like to name 3 ~ Ahmed, Alina and Tania. Ahmed, you’ve been my rock as I grieved my father. Alina and Tania, I can’t recall a single day to date when you haven’t messaged me to make sure I was doing ok. The kind of love and support I’ve been shown has been remarkable.
Pa, you may not be physically amongst us today, but you will live in our hearts forever. Thank you for your unconditional love. No words can measure up to how much I miss you every single day. I feel proud and blessed to be your daughter. Until we meet again ….