TRIBUTE TO DADDY
by Leticia Ali
Dads are someone to look up to, to admire, to be proud of, to learn from, to respect, to listen and talk to, sometimes to rebel against but most of all, one with whom to share everything this wonderful life has to offer. I am so incredibly grateful and happy that I can stand here today and tell you that I have had all this and much, much more.
Nobody is perfect but Daddy was as close to being the most perfect man I’ve ever known. He was a fine husband, an amazing father, a loving brother, a good provider and, as I’m sure many of you will agree, he was blessed with quick wit and a mind as sharp as a whip. It’s hard to find people who are truly good, decent, hard-working, kind-hearted, gentle and humble – but Daddy was all of these things. My father lived his life to the fullest and was loved by many – a testament to the values and passions that guided him.
Daddy didn’t know how to make a long story short. He had a tendency to make a short story long…one of his more charming quirks that he managed to pass on to me, along with his witty sense of humor. Daddy was always there for everyone, family, neighbors, colleagues, or friends. He somehow managed to stay in touch with hundreds of family and friends across the globe. He was a very social person and right to the end his public relation skills never diminished. He knew about every attendant and patient admitted at both the HDU and ICU units at the Karachi Adventist Hospital where he spent his last five days. He was well liked as attendants from different units checked in on him from time to time and enjoyed speaking to him. He encouraged the young attendants to read and update their medical knowledge, to become better medics.
Daddy also loved to write. A trait he picked up from his father before him. Many people far and wide knew him as a writer and would often ask if he could cover an event and have a write-up for them to publish. Why, even in his final days someone had asked if this was the same Michael Ali who wrote for ‘The Christian Voice’. Another passion of his was that he loved to buy things, specifically books. Those of you who have visited our home can attest to the colossal collection of books he had amassed over the years. He practically built a library for my family and would constantly tell my brother and me to read, that it was the only way forward.
Daddy was a very practical man and thought long and hard before giving us advice- sound advice that has helped to shape my life profoundly. His love was unconditional, and this is something my brother and I will cherish – and take with us forever. His kindness and generosity will be remembered by all who had the good fortune of knowing him.
I cannot begin to imagine not having Daddy on the other end of a phone call, or him not coming home or with any project great or small with which I happen to be needing advice or help. When I think of him, many special moments come to mind and my heart breaks knowing there will be no more.
Daddy was never afraid of death. He always said, “One is born to die” He came to terms with his death long before the rest of us did. He tried to talk the rest of us into accepting it, too. I didn’t want to even think about it, and I don’t think anyone else did, either. I still had hope that there would be some miracle and he would get better. This was Daddy we’re talking about, and he’d fought so hard and overcome so much already.
Of course, he would get better. But he was just too tired. And when I saw him there lying in the hospital bed, so weak, I understood. The night before his passing, Daddy told me he loved me very much and it was time to let him go and he would live in me. The first thing my father said to me the morning of his passing was “Tisha, get me a priest. I am dying, I am already dead, and it is okay, my time has come” and the last thing my father said was “I love You” and fell into a deep sleep to which he never awoke. Daddy had his final blessings and an hour later he was called home to his Creator.
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn’t go alone.
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories.
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken
and nothing seems the same,
but as God calls us one by one
the chain will link again.
I am humbled by Mum’s strength over the past few days and her ability to focus on the amazing life she shared with my father. I hope that through this I can find strength from her example and my brother and I will be there for her when she needs us.
Daddy: Your love, your patience, your understanding, your wisdom and your amazing sense of humour will live on inside us forever. You have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world.