I miss you. Musa, Abdullah, Maria, and Mom all miss you. We miss you a lot, Dad. There isn’t a day that goes by without thinking about you. “What if my Dad was here…?” “What would Dad do in this situation?” ”If Dad was here, then things would be so much easier.” The thoughts never stop, Dad. We all just wish you were here. You have missed out on a lot, I have so much to tell you.
It’s almost been 5 years since you left us unexpectedly, Dad. I remember the last time I saw you on August 23rd, 2012 when you dropped me off at the airport before I started college. The last words we said to each other face to face were “I love you.” We ended on great terms and because of that, I’m at peace. I also remember the morning of February 3rd, 2013. I woke up late and saw a bunch of missed calls from you. I’m sorry I couldn’t or didn’t pick up. The night before, I was out with my friends and returned home late, very late. I missed your calls and that is still one of the biggest regrets of my life. I could have heard your voice one last time, Dad. That night, I received a call from overseas that you had collapsed. A few days later, you passed away. You left behind 4 young children and a wife who all really needed you. Just like that, all of the life plans we had made were gone.
You know when it really hit me that you were gone, Dad? The day I buried you. Not because I was putting you 6 feet under, but because that exact day, February 14th, I was supposed to be hosting a Valentine’s Day party with my friends. For the past several months before your death, I was busy planning that party. Instead, I found myself planning your funeral.
When you left, I wasn’t the son you’d be proud of…I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and involved in all the wrong activities — everything you had told me to stay away from. Maybe it was the freedom that got to me. Or maybe just the thrill/excitement of being a young teen living alone in a big city. Regardless, I was in a bad place. I was slacking in my education, religion, and personal development. I wasn’t the son you had hoped for. After you passed away, I was immediately deemed “man of the house”. It wasn’t something I was ready for or a responsibility a 19-year-old kid would have wanted to bear. It was given to me and I couldn’t run away from it.
You know what though Dad, after you passed, I had a realization. I realized I needed to change and finally become the man that you had wanted me to become. I went ahead and decided to take a big risk in leaving Toronto and starting over somewhere new. Everyone told me not to leave. But I did it because I needed that fresh start.
I also decided to switch out of pre-med and into engineering. Everything I knew about this field at that time were the stories you told me about your work as an engineer. It wasn’t easy, Dad. I moved to Michigan and I knew absolutely no one. The first few months were tough. I already felt a void with you gone, and with being away from the rest of the family, this was a whole different level of loneliness. Meeting new people, trying new things. It was all very difficult. But, I slowly adjusted and began to turn my life around. This time, I focused on my education, joined school clubs, and kept my grades up. I worked hard, really hard, Dad. In fact, I went from failing classes to getting admitted into the University of Michigan.
When I started at U of M, I was full of self-doubt. “Do I belong here?” “Am I smart enough?” But you know what, Dad? You not being here made me realize that I have nothing to lose. I either work hard or I’d fail to support the family. So, I started killin’ it. I got internships at some of the top engineering companies. I even interviewed and got a job offer from a company that you worked at! The journey to this success was painful. All the odds were against me. But guess what, Dad? Just last week, I became an electrical engineer from one of the best Electrical Engineering universities in the world! I went from failing to actually graduating with Honors. I hope you’re proud of me, Dad. I made it. I just joined you and Dadabu (grandpa) as the third engineer in our family.
During my time at Michigan, I even met a girl. In fact, we are engaged now. I wish you could be here to meet her, Dad. She’s funny, caring, and I know you would have gotten along really well.
It’s just not fair. You weren’t there for my engagement. You missed Maria’s wedding. I can’t believe you’ll miss mine too, Dad. Why? Why did you have to get taken away from us? What did we do to deserve this? If only you could have been here for a bit longer, Dad. You’re missing out on so much of your kids’ lives. You missed Abdullah’s high school graduation, and now you’ll miss Musa’s too. You aren’t here for the times when we need you the most.
Growing up, I never worried about the little details in life, but after you left, I realized how much they truly meant. The little things, like how to pay off my credit card, how to invest, and even how to tie my tie. All of that, I’ve had to learn on my own. I recently got into a car accident. My car was totaled, but I was fine. Later that night, I broke down crying. I was stressed with figuring out my car situation and I just wish you had been there. I really needed you. Most people would call their parents. I wanted to call you. But I couldn’t. Luckily, my (future) father-in-law has been like a second dad to me. When that accident happened, he was the first person I called. When I have questions about my job or life, I can always ask him. I know no one can ever replace you, Dad, but I’m really thankful I have another father figure in my life.
Although I’ve gained another family, became an engineer, and landed a great job, I still have so many obstacles to go through. My life isn’t easy now that I’ve accomplished these goals. You leaving me Dad, will never be easy. But I don’t know where I would have been if you were still alive.
Would I have made the decision to make the move to Michigan to pursue a different career path? Would I have changed my lifestyle and gotten my grades up? Would I have met the girl of my dreams? I don’t know, Dad. I guess everything does happen for a reason. This is who I am now. I’ve become a stronger individual. I have this desire within me to never stop HUSTLING. You passing away has allowed me to become relentless. I don’t, and won’t, stop until I achieve the goal I’ve set my mind on. And my greatest goal in life is to make you a proud father.