Dear Nataliya, Nadia and Waliya Khan,
May 29, 2015.
You do not know me but I know you guys quiet a bit. You see, I have been following you as a blogger and as a photographer for almost three years. That is a long time. Sharing a part of you on the internet lets the other person see that version of yourself.
The first time I came across you guys was through a friend who showed me this photograph, taken by Waliyah of your Dad’s army uniform. Then I read about your father passing away from cancer and the hard time you guys went through. I cannot say that its over. Because losing someone is never over. Its an ongoing journey that just gets older as time passes by. That does not make it any easier or any less painful.
|Picture taken by Waliya Najib
When I read about your father, I thought to myself that I could feel the pain you guys felt. Because I have lost loved ones in my life. Things that you go through everyday. The fact that he is not at the dining table for breakfast in the morning. Or his empty wardrobe are all reminders of who he was.
I never fully realized what you felt until now. My father was in an accident on April 5. Long story short, he was unconscious for 23 days and underwent 8 major surgeries and numerous minor ones. The first time I saw him, lying on that hospital bed, hooked to a million machines, I thought of you guys. I thought of the hole that is in your lives. And I could not get over on how you do it.
He is a lot better now. He is awake. He is still in ICU but he is doing much better. You see you lost your father and I was about to loose mine. Now I know what you all endured. I know how it felt sitting in that hospital numb to the core, praying for your father’s recovery.
Losing someone you love is very hard. You think that you cannot function without them. You believe that that loss is the hardest thing you will ever endure. But when its a parent on that losing table, the story completely changes.
I do not know why I am writing this letter to you guys. Maybe because I want to convey my words to you all. Or because I want you to know that you guys are strong beyond words.
Life is very hard. And the society we live in, is also very cruel. It doesn’t wait a second to take advantage of you.
I prayed a lot for your father. He must have been a great man because he has left behind his daughters as his legacy. And when I read Nataliya’s thoughts, I see the upbringing you all had. I see the love and care he bestowed upon you guys. And I see you all, living life the way he taught you.
One day, I want to meet you guys in person. I want to see for myself, those people who have been through so much in so little time. I want to experience your courage in real life.
I want you to know that our society needs more girls like you. We need more independent strong women who can handle things themselves, who are not afraid of anyone.
I wish I could say that it will all be okay. And it will be. But it will never be the same.
Your kids will never get to hear about the time you guys moved houses 9 times. Nano won’t be there to plan the holidays 6 months before their arrival. Or stock the pantry with their favourite snacks. Or give them endless rides as a horse or a lion.You won’t get the chance to have long discussions over a cup of Chai. You won’t be able to tell him that his tie is crooked. Or that his laugh makes you laugh. Or that you will miss his views on Imran Khan’s second marriage.
August 2, 2015.
My father finally came home on 22nd July 2015. We spent our Eid in the hospital, eating Biryani for breakfast and lunch, eating Almond Delight out of a dish. He had another 3 hour surgery on the third day of Eid, where steel rods were put in his leg. But he is okay. He is home. And he is okay.
You three are an example to many of us. You are a ray of sunshine because looking at you makes me realise that you can get through hardships in life. You can do it. Whether you are a girl or a guy, that is irrelevant. Gender has nothing to do with being strong or standing up for your parents.
People say that boys are ones shoulder in old age. I give these people your example.
My prayers and best wishes are always with you guys. I hope Anya grows up to admire her grandfather as much as I do. I hope that your mom continues to pain, write and inspire many more people. I hope all of you get the best of everything, today and always.