Dear Papa

Dear Papa

‘I remember, as a child I always liked to lay on your chest. Why? To listen to your heart beat. My Papa’s heartbeat.



& Powerful.

Just like you.

I would laugh and tell you how I could hear it, loud and clear. You would smile, put your hand lovingly on my head and purposely shake your belly so that I could hear the funny sound of your tummy.

My funny Papa. You did that every single time, just because you knew it made me giggle.

Even as an adult, I found immense comfort listening to the lub-dub sound of your heart. How couldn’t I?

It was the resilient sound of the precious human that taught me how to live, love and just be. The human that taught me the meaning of strength and the importance of kindness for all. I live by that, and always will. I promise.

It hurt beyond words to see that heart quiet, that strong chest completely still. I didn’t want it to be real, I wished from the bottom of my own heart that it wasn’t real. But, I’m told…such is life.

Papa, my dear Papa, there is an unfillable you-sized hole in my heart, my world.

You held my hand so tight my entire life, quite literally, through the good, the bad, the everything. I knew everything would be just fine with you by my side – there was no doubt. Admittedly, I feel a little lost now, and I know what you would say – don’t be silly, ‘sub kuch teek ho jae ga’ [everything will be ok].

You gave me, us, everything you had – leaving no wish unfulfilled, no question unanswered. You worked hard for us every single day; in spite of illness, struggles – in spite of everything. Even with the silent villain fighting against your every cell – you showed up, you fought hard and moved forward.

I look back and my heart shakes with pride and a little sadness.

You never let us feel the weight of your burdens – of which there were plenty. You took it all upon your shoulders, with an unbreakable, unshakeable smile. Never letting anyone know just how much you had to bear.

That’s the thing, Papa, I know you did everything for us from that golden heart of yours, and you did it happily. All we had to do was ‘want’ and you would make it appear.

I remember whenever I would cry, Papa, I would see your face fall. You would almost scold me, with tears in your own eyes, telling me not to cry and that we should only accept defeat when there is no solution. But of course, you would always find a solution, wouldn’t you, Papa? My pain was something you could never bear, and it was this refusal to see my pain that drove you to fulfil my heart’s every wish.

You spoilt me with love, yet very lovingly, firmly, disciplined. You let me dream, whilst teaching me the importance of being realistic and logical at the same time.

You inspired, led by example – your very existence providing me comfort.

Though I was in my own home, my own city, I looked forward to our daily conversations – morning, afternoon and evening. I realise now just how much I relied on those conversations. I realise now just how much they made me feel… safe. Whenever I felt an ounce of loneliness, Papa, I would pick up the phone and FaceTime you, whilst going about my day. It made me feel whole.

I told you I loved you every single day. Most of the time you’d reply with ‘I love me too,’ but on the rare occasion, you’d tell me you love me too. Both answers warmed my heart, the latter maybe a little more.

I wonder if you knew just how much those conversations meant too.

I feel their absence now.

My heart desperately wishes it could hear your laughter again, hear you call me Jaan {life, loved one} and watch you go about your day cutting keys at your DIY store.

Saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing I had to do.

I won’t forget the warmth of your hand in mine for the last time, whilst you fought against leaving us for the first time.

I won’t forget the final time you looked at me with those beautiful, brown, soft eyes – tearful eyes.

I won’t forget the way my heart hurt.

I knew deep in my soul that your tears weren’t because you were in pain, no – your heart was sad by our sadness. Like always. You knew just how much we would miss you and you didn’t want us to be sad, you never did. So, in that moment, I promised you, with a smile through tears, to not worry about us – that the love, strength that you had filled in us, would forever remain.


I will tell your little Nooru all about her loving, strong Nanabu {grandad}, who asked about her every single day, multiple times, whilst she was somersaulting in my tummy.

I will continue to embed your values in myself every day, and in my children.

I will ask myself what you’d say at times of uncertainty, and be strong enough to move forward at times of adversity, like you always taught me to.

I will carry you forward in my heart, forever and always.

But most of all,

I will miss you every single day, Papa.

I know I’ll see you soon, but until then, I will do everything in my power to make sure that my journey from this point onwards, makes you even an inch as proud as I am, to be your daughter.


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