Do you know that your name means happiness and bliss? I miss you so much. I wish you had the chance to grow up to be everything that your name stands for and more. I remember when the news about your impending arrival first broke out. Everyone was shocked as we had not seen you coming. Surely, the news was met with a little apprehension given your unexpected arrival. But despite that, I could still see the glimmer of happiness in your mama’s eyes every time she spoke about you.
Especially when she found out that it was going to be a girl. Maybe that is where your name comes from; from the way you made your mama and ayah glow in the months leading up to April. Your grandma and grandpa, on the other hand, had other ideas for your name and trust me, they were not as nice as 'Hana.' So thankfully, your mama insisted on keeping your name as the way it is because that is just how we would want to remember you as – the girl who brought so much happiness into our lives.
Though your lived days were short, the memories of you still stretch far beyond the 24 twenty-four hours you were with us. For instance, I remember the time when I treated your mama to dinner who was already carrying you for close to seven months. She ordered so much food that she was either seriously hungry or I just caught her at the peak of her pregnancy cravings. Either way, I am sure that she was feeding you too when she ordered steak, salmon fillet, fries, onion rings, corn, and ice cream. So I would like to think that I was not just treating your mama to a nice meal, but I was also treating you too. That should count as our first meal together right, Hana?
My other memories of you, however, were less fond because they are all riddled with guilt. For example, when your mama asked me to do a pregnancy photo shoot for the both of you, I dismissed the idea saying that it will be nicer if we wait for you to be delivered first. How naïve was I to say that? I took you for granted, Hana. Not once but twice. The second time was when I left you behind for my work trip. How could I when the signs were all too clear for me to see? The doctors already said that you might not make it until the following Monday and you already had two close encounters before that. It was just a matter of time and yet I was in denial of your inevitable departure. I did not want to believe it. After all, we were even making plans to get a dedicated help for you at home for the long term. But I was so wrong.
Before I left, I even told you to wait for me first.
“Don’t go anywhere until I come home okay, Hana?” were my last words to you.
And now that I look back at it, I realised I was the one who should not have gone anywhere. How could I have left you behind when you needed all the love you can get?
I am sorry to have taken you for granted.
I am sorry for not being there in your last moments before and after you left us.
And I am sorry that I did not get to kiss you one last time.
Maybe the consequences of my own action are this searing pain that I feel from your absence and my failure to give you a proper farewell.
Tell me something, how does anyone actually move on from the profound loss of a loved one or learn to live in this gaping hole that is left behind?
My heart really wishes to know the answer.
Though these words are the hardest to say and may not even capture the full extent of the sorrow we feel, I could go on writing about you endlessly till the dawn breaks again. Perhaps, the urging need to keep filling this blank space with memories of you is only a mask to my inability to find an appropriate ending to this letter. Much like my very own lack of willingness to move on too.
I hope you will find peace wherever you are and that you may continue to live on in these words I wrote for you.
But do not mistake this as a goodbye,
because how can it be a goodbye if your place is now in our hearts and memories, always?
01042017 - Forever <3
You may visit the long form photo essay that I did in honouring Hana's memory here.