Losing something is hard. Losing something you love is harder. But losing a spouse comes with a loss that is immeasurable. It comes with a void like no other. When the person you love suddenly departs from this world, you find yourself floundering, sinking to the depths of your sadness. You find your self chasing sleep, avoiding emotions and crying till you feel like there is nothing left inside of you to pour out.
The day Waseem became a father was the day he also became a widower. In losing Aasia he felt like he had lost a part of himself, forever. His wife had been his whole heart and soul whether he realised it or not, and on that unfortunate day his heart shattered into a million broken pieces, whilst his soul became barren and lifeless.
It took months for him to come around, to accept that Aasia was gone. It took months for him to understand that everything on this earth was temporary, that even though he loved his wife dearly, he had to let her go. It took months for him to not cry every time his eyes landed on Hasana. For as different as she was to her mother, in Waseem’s eyes she was exactly the same.
And after months of slowly shedding his cocoon and coming to terms with how drastically his life had changed, Waseem took on a new role in his life. He became a father. And though he was not perfect, he tried his hardest to make sure Hasana never felt the loss and void of Aasia, the loss and void he felt and continued to feel many years after her death.
Because as heartbreaking and life-changing as her death was, Waseem knew that he could not let it hinder his daughter’s life. For she was incredibly dynamic, unique in her own way and he knew that a child as special as Hasana need not know the pain of losing or growing up without a mother.
And so through yearly rituals, secret handshakes and inside jokes he gave Hasana the best gift a child could ask for: a strong, stable father-daughter relationship. And she cherished it.
Hasana was incredibly intelligent for her age and every year after her eventful trip to her most loved place on the planet, she knew why the mood would shift and change the moment she got home. She knew why both sets of grandparents would come together every year without fail on one day of the year. It was not to celebrate Hasana growing a year older, rather it was to remember the death of a woman who touched the lives of many in a short space of time. It was one of the few occasions where the Ahmeds and Samis willingly spent time with each other.
Hasana, as she did every year, watched her grandmothers interact trying to find common ground as they sipped their tea whilst the men sat outside on the patio.
“It’s a lovely day today, is it not?” Maya Sami quipped as she reached for a biscuit.
“Er- yeah. But Hasana was telling me how foggy it was on her drive to the hills.”
“The Hills? Oh, don’t tell me your father still takes you to that place?” Maya asked, a look of disgust plastered on her face.
Hasana merely smiled at her. “It’s my favourite place in the whole wide world.”
Layla Ahmed beamed as she watched her grand-daughter describe every detail of her morning hike. She listened attentively and asked questions, wanting Hasana to know that every word, every thought and every opinion she had meant something. If not to Maya then definitely to Layla.
“One day, we can all go together to the hills. It would be so fun. We could have a big family picnic!” Hasana said as she clapped her hands together in glee.
The day carried on as it had every year since the tragedy. They all sat down to have a quiet family dinner, speaking little of Aasia, fearing that if they did it would open a can of worms in Hasana’s curious mind. But that was not a worry Waseem had. On the rare occasion that his daughter enquired about Aasia, he found himself feeling elated that she wanted to know more.
The most recent ‘love story’ episode was no different. Waseem found himself going over memories that made him laugh and cry and laugh again. He found himself thinking about friends he had and friends he’d lost over the years. Thinking about his past got his mind working. If Hasana wanted to know about Aasia she could not just rely on him to hear all there was to know about her.
He needed reinforcements, friends who could flesh out Aasia so that Hasana could have a fuller image of who her mother was. These thoughts and so many more prompted Waseem, on the anniversary of his wife’s death, to open cans of his own in his mind. He was going to dig deeper and work harder to make sure that Hasana knew who her mother truly was, retro backpack and all.
Wow, guys. It has been absolute ages but I’ll skip the apology because I don’t think I’d be forgiven for being so lazy and useless! But anyway, here is a new chapter fresh off of WordPress!
Hope you all are well and healthy and happy and smiling 🙂