One month on; my tribute to my father

A month ago I lost my father; the man I hero worshipped, the man I looked up to, the man who moulded me into who I am today.

I lost my Superhero and, for me, life and the world will never be the same again. The birds are still singing in the trees but some of the joy is gone. The sun is still rising in the day but some of the warmth has gone. The moon still lights up the night sky but some of the luminescence is gone. Water still flows in rivers and streams but some of the coolness is gone.

Daddy gave the best hugs. When he drew me towards himself and encircled me with his arms I knew that he’d protect me from anything and everything. This is how I felt when I was a child and this is how I felt when I was a grown woman. I’ve lost the person who made me feel safe and the world will never be the same.

Daddy was the man you wanted near you when you were ill. He’d stay up the whole night with you. He’d rush out and bring the doctor home to see you. He would wipe your fevered brow and you’d feel better. When I was on the plane on my way to see him the thought of what I’d find when I reached the hospital made me feel physically ill and I had to use the sick bag. I remembered how he would hold your hair back and support your head when you threw up. Feeling ill while hurtling through the sky and dreading what I’d find when I got there is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I’m the eldest of the siblings and my younger sister and brother call me aapi which is what you respectfully call your older sister in Urdu. This is what he called me too. I can’t remember a time when he asked for me by calling out for Naureen. Can you imagine how empowering it is to be treated with utmost respect by the man you adore since you were knee high to a grasshopper! Because he believed in me, I believe in myself. That’s my yardstick; would daddy approve of what I’m saying/doing? If yes, then that’s what I’ll say/do irrespective of what the rest of the world expects from me.

I can write and write and write but I’ll never be able to do justice to him. He was the man who, if I felt I was walking barefoot on hot sand, would scoop me up and carry me to an oasis. He was the man I looked towards for guidance when I was young. He was the man I looked towards for guidance when I became a mother myself. He was a superhero amongst heroes. He was a king amongst men. He was the best father a girl could wish for. To have him hold your hand was to feel safe and warm and loved and appreciated. When he was here he used to ask me to ring when I checked in, ring when I was about to board and ring when I landed. When he was in hospital I thought we’d have a day or so with him when they took him off the ventilator. Then, looking at his stats, I thought we’ll only have a few hours. In the end we didn’t get that either. Allah spared him the pain and us the anguish and he left us to be with the angels of heaven. I love you with every fibre of my being and I wait for the day when we will be reunited in heaven, In sha Allah.

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