Some of The Best Things About My Dad!

Princella
7 min readJun 13, 2020

The legacy I am going to remember for my father after him.

Its been almost three weeks since my dad passed away. That dreadful day still haunts me and my family. It’s the most difficult and painful thing that has ever happened to me. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. A part of me still doesn’t believe it. My initial thoughts were;

I am not ready, this is not real I wasn’t expecting anything like this, especially not right now. this is not fair.

But as the days passed and being the oldest child some huge responsibilities came upon me and as I started getting hold of the things in a way I never thought I could — have made me realized that — Life surprises you yet prepares you. For things, you think you are not ready but life knows you are. I am getting better and healing now, my family too, through prayers and asking God to give me the comfort for me and my family — I guess we will get through this. We all miss him, sometimes together, and other times on our own, individually. Sometimes, it still feels like he’s gonna show up and would call my name and ask me to come and eat my food because it’s getting colder. It’s just hard, very hard. That’s the harsh reality of life. Where our mind seems to possess things faster than our heart.

A good friend of mine, who also has lost her father a year ago, said to me “It gets better, you will always miss him, and the void will be there but it does get better.” So being optimistic, I can hope for it to get better and I believe it will. I have been strong in many other challenges I have faced in my life. Those challenges and hardships have really shaped me and humbled me every time I endured them. But this one has just made me a lot stronger than I was before. I am grateful for the life my father has spent on this earth. For the things, he has taught me. For the love he has given me. For everything. I love him, dearly. And I always will.

There are many things which are best about my father, the things he used to say to me, to my siblings, and to everyone else. The things he used to do. He was the strongest, the bravest and the most daring person in my life. I am going to write some of them, especially the one that have always helped me out in my life and some words which I’m always going to hold onto.

Fear of people and the world? Nah. Fear of Self. Fear of God, Yes. Must! — The one you should fear the most in life is yourself, for having fears but — my dad was the most fearless person I have ever known in my life. Musafa to my Simba!

Except for myself, I never saw him being afraid of anyone else in this world! His deep faith and spiritual beliefs gave him immense strength and confidence to fully believe in himself and stand up for what he felt was right. He fought for justice and stood by his principles, despite all obstacles. Before any important event or day of my life he’d always tell me ‘d‘dont fear anyone, don’t be afraid, be fearless, fear of self is needed to become fearless and still trust God and do the right thing, dont worry about people, dont care about what they think or say, just do what you want to’. And on my 23rd birthday, I gifted myself a silver bracelet that says ‘Fearless’ as a reminder of the courage and self-belief he instilled in me — traits which I know were empowered by his faith. I still wear it with pride. While we did not always see eye to eye, I deeply respected his fierce independence and lack of fear of what others might say or think. I am just grateful for the lesson of inner strength he left me with as I continue navigating life’s challenges.

Don’t give up, keep trying! — My father would never give up. He would never let me give up. There have been many times when the situations were completely out of our hands but my dad wouldn’t stop trying. When we left Pakistan in 2014, the future was bleak. We didn’t know where we were going and what would happen next, but my father and us trying, trusting God and not giving up on future — brought us safely in Cambodia after so many hardships in Thailand, Pakistan, Myanmar and Malaysia. He made me apply for my student visa application with the US embassy like five times, I was giving up after the 3rd time but he was very hopeful and made me go again and again until the COVID-19 lockdown happened and he realized and was very glad for the fact I didn’t leave Cambodia. Because here not only we have a very good life but also many ways to have a successful future for ourselves that my father would have always wanted for us. So will I give up easily? No. Will I keep trying for the dreams and goals I have for myself? Yes. For my father!

After everything, he would always understand. — One thing which my father didn’t really appreciate was me disagreeing with him on certain things. He was very cultured and traditional in various ways, I am very much cultured and traditional too but living among different cultures and growing up in traditions where people live and think slightly different than what my father grew up in had a huge impact on me. When my father started seeing the change in me, he knew it and told me clearly he didn’t like it. Especially when I’d asked him for my independence, he would always change the topic and talk about something else, being a father, and coming from a very conservative upbringing, a thought of seeing his daughter moving out and living all by herself would always scare him. I remember the first time when I went on a solo trip just for two days, without telling him — he was really scared and called me up many times to make sure I was safe. He was mad, of course. But he managed to accept it and calm down and didn’t say anything to me when I came home and that’s because back in college, almost 7 years ago, I did something similar without telling him, he was angry at that time too but he said this one thing to me which explains enough, he said “You are my blood, and I know you, you will do great things, but differently. I will be mad at you for doing them in your way and I will not allow you if you would ask me before that. But I know even if I stop you, you will do them anyway. Being rebel runs in our family.”

His love for my mother! — My parents’ love story is my all-time favorite. Falling in love at first sight, marrying against the family approval, and sticking to each other through thick and thin. Having five wonderful children (yes we are wonderful and many people have said that to my parents) In the culture I come from, and the stories I have heard about their generation, most of the time where the family would fix your marriage (arrange marriage) and you have to do it to honor your family. In those marriages, sometimes, a couple would grow to love each other eventually, but not every time. My parents weren’t one of those couples, they loved each other from the day one till date. My dad has treated my mother like a queen. He’d write her handwritten love letters and notes, give her flowers and gifts on Valentine’s, remember all the anniversaries and birthdays, make romantic gestures in public, and would take care of my mother every time she got sick and not feel well. He has set this example of love in my life which is so rare in my generation. He has inspired me. I guess, the only reason I didn’t last with anyone I’ve dated is that my dad has set the bar very high and it would never work out with anyone who couldn’t reach that bar. I am old-fashioned and hopelessly romantic who still believes in love at first sight, handwritten letters and notes, and other romantic gestures is because I have seen a living successful example in my very own life.

Helping when you can — My father has helped many people. I’ve always known that he has. I was surprised to see and hear many great things from different people, some of those people I have never met before. I remember when we left Pakistan, many people assisted us, many good people helped us with different things and my father would always say that ‘ we might not be able to help back each and everyone who once has helped us, but we can always help forward to those who need it and especially when we know that they do' and he really did what he said. He helped many people from my own country, who reached out to my father and me somehow, who were stuck in a similar situation as my family were once. He not only provided them with the right information to come out and travel safely from Pakistan but also helped them out with other legal processes to provide them with the opportunity to stay and work in a country like Cambodia without any fear of persecution.

Losing my father was hard and it makes me very sad, but remembering all these beautiful things and memories he gave me makes me happy and proud to be his daughter. I haven’t really spoken to anyone except a few people I feel really comfortable with about how I’m feeling, and writing it out was helpful as I can read it over and over again and share with the world about how great my dad was!

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