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Imtiaz Chachoo

Too often we forget how limited our time in this world is and what truly matters.

We chase materialistic things, not realizing it's going to be meaningless after our short stay here.

We chase people who are nothing. We devalue those who are everything. We make trivial matters into big things yet diminish the value of what really matters.

You never know what lies ahead and tomorrow is never guaranteed. And tomorrow? People are not going to remember what you had materialistically. People are, however, going to remember you for who you are.

It's said that only when you are going through some sort of hardship do people's true colors come out.

What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind? What will you be remembered for? What is the first thing that will come to people's mind when they think of you?

Sunday night, our family lost a beloved family member in Imtiaz Chachoo.

Cancer has no prejudice and takes prisoners without bias. It takes from us those we love dearly and doesn't care what lasting effect it leaves us to endure.

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of Imtiaz Chachoo is his jovial personality and his love for making people laugh with his comedic personality. That is something indeed that most people will fondly remember him for.

Equally important, but on a way more personal level, what I will cherish forever is the kindness and generosity Imtiaz Chachoo, Neelo Chachi, Sara baji and Sarwat baji showed me and my family when we moved to Canada twenty-two years back. Even though my brothers and I were young at the time, it's something we will never forget.

I don't have the right words to express my sorrow or condolences to the immediate family. He was taken from us too soon.

I pray Allah SWT grants Imtiaz Chachoo the highest level of jannat. I pray Allah SWT gives the family patience and sabr to endure such a heavy trial.

Papa

Papa. Not only my maternal grandfather, but one of the most humble and nicest people I have ever encountered. I was just super lucky and beyond blessed to call him my grandfather.

Most people, in fact, referred to him as Papa. Like he was a father figure to all.

His generosity? Kindness? Affection? Wisdom? Knowledge? Knew no boundaries.

I have never met even one person who had even one negative thing to say about my Papa. That cannot be honestly said about many people, but it is indeed true about Papa. In all my life, I can’t even think of a single time that he upset me or annoyed me. He was always Papa – the loving and caring self he always was. He’s been my role model since day one. He will be my role model for the rest of my life.

I loved every day I got to spend him. I loved, loved, loved just sitting with him all day whenever we were lucky enough for him to come stay over at our house. Not just his stories, but just his mere presence brought joy to me.

I loved how he would want to go everywhere with us whenever he came to visit, right down to simple errands. Like he wanted to spend time with us as much as we wanted to spend time with him. I remember the unsaid plan at the grocery stores: I’d do the groceries while my brother followed Papa throughout the store as he picked up nothing but junk food. Who wouldn’t love that?! Many times, we’d cut out things from our “to-do” lists because we were worried he would get too tired.

His love for his children and especially his grandchildren? Can’t even put into words to describe it. Just the extraordinary amount of examples flow through my head. It’s the little things you remember that mean so much. Thinking back to when we were younger, I can’t help but laugh at how much he spoiled us. That’s part of the job description for what a good grandparent is, right? If our parents said no, he would most certainly veto it. Hey, he was the boss, right? We had to listen to him 🙂 I wish Arham got to experience who Papa was.

His love for sweets [especially Kit-Kat and then later Almond Joy as well]. Tried my best to always have chocolate on hand whenever he came to visit.

His love for Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune [and then later Price is Right as well]. Don’t ever call him from 7-8 PM: he was busy watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune at that time.

His LOVE for reading the Qu’ran. He did so daily without fail.

Smiles. Laughter. Happiness. Joy. That’s what the memories are full of. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A life truly lived for others. He was one of a kind, and I am truly blessed beyond words to call him my grandfather.

Papa, I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ll miss you.  My heart aches of emptiness when I think that there won’t be a next time for you hug me and kiss my forehead like you always did. Truly, I lost a part of me. Time heals all wounds, and perhaps will ease the pain, but I hope I never forget the kind of person you were and what I want to emulate. He is everything I want Arham to be.

In recent years, as Papa’s health started to decline, I hated that he didn’t feel good inside and my heart ached for his well being. I kept thinking one thing over and over : I wish I could take it away from him. I didn’t want to dwell on what Alzheimers’ did to him and the effect it had in this post; instead I want to focus on all the great memories.

He, up there, called Papa home this morning after a very difficult three weeks for my family and I.

I’ll miss Papa with all my heart, but if there’s one consolation, it’s this: he is at peace.

Family Pillars

There is just something about the generation of our grandparents that hasn’t shown up in our parents or ours. It’s hard to pinpoint, but there is something remarkable about them. Something that stands out.

That or maybe we were just extraordinarily blessed to have wonderful role models in so many of them within our family.

We have lost three great souls over the last year and each one has had a deep impact on me.

Munni Dadda- it was impossible to not be laughing hysterically every time we saw her because of her sense of humor. Her zest for life and the joy she brought to us all is something I think of often. It was impossible to not start smiling the second you saw her — but unfortunately we didn’t get to see her often since she didn’t live nearby :(. Her stories, her humor, her style, her character are all things I think of frequently.

Both my grandmothers passed away before I was born, but I always thought of Munni Dadda as filling their role in a sense. She had that grandmotherly love that had no limits, was fun to talk to and be around, and I loved her sense of humor the most. No formality, no fuss. Just a down to earth woman who I loved seeing on any trip to Canada.

Kalam Nana – there were only the rare weekends where my parents didn’t go meet him, and I enjoyed going most of those weekends too to spend time with Nana. His knowledge, his stories, his genuine interest in all of us, his personality are all some of the things I miss most about him.

He always wanted to know what was going on in our lives– no matter was too small for him to have interest in us, no one was too young to have his respect. If we mentioned something to him, he remembered and always followed up later and I loved that. He cared.

Just a few days ago, on August 31st, we were discussing how it had been six years since Salam Nana passed away. I don’t remember much about him from when I was younger, and unfortunately I never got the opportunity to get to know Nana well enough because he was sick in the years I was growing up. Abu’s told us stories, of course, but it’s not the same.

On September 2nd, we were talking about it had been his funeral that day six years ago when a little while after that, we found out Rana Nanna passed away.

Rana Nanna – she made tafseer class fun and interesting and a good learning experience for me, which is something I’ll always be thankful for her. Growing up, Abu and Ami have always told us everything she did for the family after both my paternal and maternal grandmothers passed away and how helpful she was in that time. Her love for her [extended] family was obvious to all, and so was how much she loved feeding us all her homemade delicious food.

To this day, we have a sweater she sewed for Ayaz as a baby… growing up even my dolls wore this particular sweater.

Slowly, we are losing the generation that are our pillars. Yes, it’s a part of life, but it doesn’t get any easier. Especially when in about thirteen month’s time, we have lost three from this generation. May Allah SWT grant them the highest place in jannat. Three great souls. And all I want to do is freeze time and hold on to their wisdom for as long as I can.

They were the type of people you want to be. The type of people you wish your own children got to meet and learn from. The type of people that instilled values and love and kindness like no other. The type of people the world needs more of.

It makes me wonder what type of legacy we will leave behind for future generations. What we will be remembered for. Will we even have an impact and be worth remembering?

Precious Cousin

Today marks ten years since my beautiful and absolutely perfect baby cousin passed away after only fifteen short months of life.

She died in the hospital room of a local hospital surrounded by MANY members of her extended family.

Hers was the first death I experienced in my life. Losing her was so bittersweet because it was also comforting to see her finally be so peaceful after she passed away. Watching her lose her battle and seeing her lifeless body is still probably the hardest thing I have faced and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

At such a young age, she taught me so much about life. Like how fragile it is. Or how to cherish every moment and make the best of each day because you just never know.

If we lived every day as if it was our last day on earth, just think of how much more we would get done on a daily basis!

In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday… yet at the same time it feels like it happened such a long time ago. I think of her often and wonder what she would have been like. I may be biased, but I can still remember how contagious her smile was.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards, has died at the age of 61 after a six year long battle with breast cancer. Just yesterday, news broke that her doctors had informed her last week that further treatment would be “unproductive” and that she had stopped treatment.

You always pray and hope for the best, but unfortunately in life you need to prepare for the worst.

Throughout everything Elizabeth Edwards has been through (losing her 16 year old son Wade in a car accident, battling cancer [then going into remission, then finding out the cancer is back — and worse that it is spreading], and of course the infamous admission by John Edwards that he had an affair and fathered a child), she always held her own and kept her poise. Elizabeth Edwards never had anything malicious to say, even though she had every right and most people in her position would have.

What an inspirational woman.

I read a quote earlier online from a family friend of hers that said “Elizabeth did not want people to say she lost her battle with cancer. The battle was about living a good life and that she won.” What a great outlook on life – I know most people without a doubt would not be thinking in such a positive manner.

My condolences go out to her family (especially her children) and friends.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Senator Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.” — Senator Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009

Around 1:30 A.M. this morning, i was suprised and deeply saddened to receive “breaking news” text messages from several different news organizations alerting me that Edward Kennedy had passed away due to brain cancer at the age of 77… fifteen short months after the diagnosis.

Edward Kennedy was not only one of the most influential politicians, but a true humanitarian which was quite evident through his vast efforts for healthcare amongst many other things.

He is irreplaceable – but whoever takes on his roles… has a very tough job ahead of him/her.

It is hard to fathom that exactly one year ago, Edward Kennedy gave yet another inspirational speech at the DNC. While he seemed fragile and ill, his will seemed as strong as ever.

Edward Kennedy – you will be missed by many, friends and strangers alike.

A Penny for your Thoughts…

How can the death of someone you don’t even know.. and have never even met.. effect you so profoundly?

What is it about humanity that allows you to feel the pain of total strangers, as if it was you that was directly affected?