My dad wrote me this email. I was returning from Pakistan after attending my sister’s wedding. Because of some visa issues I had to return the very next morning after the Valima1 and I left the event early to pack for my flight the next morning. I had a huge lump in my throat throughout. It had been an emotional and stressful couple of months because of my dad’s sudden job loss because of the government change in Pakistan, planning my sister’s wedding in Islamabad while living in Karachi2 and just the emotional baggage that comes with a wedding, and just the Pakistani summer heat that makes everything harder.
Just a few hours after Papa and Mama dropped me at the airport the next morning (and a painful goodbye as always. I am terrible at airports!), I stood at the public internet terminals at the Dubai airport and read the words that will stay with me forever. I still don’t know when he found the time to write the email in all that pre and post wedding chaos. I stood in the middle of the airport, reading Papa’s words as tears just flowed. Like most dads mine was also not very expressive but he had the gift of words and whenever he did express his love for us, it went straight to the heart. What I didn’t know then was how much more this email would mean to me a few years down the road!
Three and a half years later, when I returned from Pakistan after Papa passed away, the first thing I did was print that email and put it up on my refrigerator where I could see it all the time. Reading it in those early days felt like he was talking to me, and it gave me motivation to go on. It guided me through those painful early months. It is so amazing the impact of our words. When we write them we don’t really know the places they will reach and the time barriers they will cross. Even when my father isn’t there, the words he wrote remain. Every time it is feeling especially hard to get through the realization in my head that I cant talk to him, I read these words and I feel peace in my heart. It is like he is talking to me, it is like he knows, he understands how hard it has been, and in a strange way, he is guiding me on how to get through this.
Though he wrote them years before he passed away, it seems like they were written for right now, for this time for our fears and tears, and the struggles we face today. Papa you were and always will remain our hero and our guide. Thank you for everything. May you always be in God’s best care. Ameen.
Thanks for reading and stopping by.
1Valima is translated as a marriage feast and the second of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding and its arranged by the groom’s family.
2Islamabad, the capital, and Karachi, the largest city, are almost 1000 miles apart in distance and are very different cities in their own ways.