Monday, February 2, 2015


On January 13th, Omar's father passed away after a brief illness. We just completed all the things that come after: the obituary, the phone calls, the planning, the funeral and a celebration of his life with stories, memories and photos that spanned his life. I spoke at the celebration. Here is a copy:

When you sit down to try to write something deep and profound, something to encompass the breadth and enormity of who Naseem was and what he accomplished in his 82 years with us, words tend to disappear from you head. The thoughts that flow in and out when you are falling asleep or waking up seem to dissolve, to seize up, when you stare at that terribly frightening and powerful blank white page. But the words that kept rattling around in my head were the few that Omar said to me in those first, paralyzed 24 hours after Naseem died. He said “Becca, how great that there was nothing left unsaid.” And he was so right. Though Naseem is gone from us much sooner than any of us thought he would, we don’t feel like we missed our chance. We aren’t saying “Oh, if I only had one more day to tell him…” And I realized that deep and profound words aren’t the one’s that need to be shared today, but instead, it’s the most basic of words, the ones we said to each other all the time.

I love you.

In the crazy of our lives – the kids, the dog, the noise and the bustle, the homework, the sports, the sleepovers – what we said as we shuffled out the door as cold air wrapped it’s unwelcome and uncomfortable fingers around Naseem, was “Love you, Pop,” and he would wave and said, “Okay, guys. Love you, too.” And it was sometimes muffled, sometimes shouted, and other times lost in the chatter of so many little voices. But, we are so unbelievably fortunate that we didn’t need to say more than that. We didn’t need more words, or grander words, because we knew – he knew – the enormity of what those few little words held.

When Omar said, “Love you, pop,” Naseem knew what Omar meant. He meant:

Thank you for believing in me, even I don’t even believe in myself.
Thank you, dad, supporting my dream, my family, my mom, no matter what.
He meant, You are my example and my hero, in business, in family and in just the decent way you treat every person that enters your life.
He meant “Dad, I will always put up with 100 of your suggestions, because 3 or 4 of them turn out okay.”

And when Naseem said “I love you, biddy,” to Omar, we knew what he was saying. He was saying:

I’m so proud of you.
Thank you for continuing this crazy American Dream journey with me.
Omar, You bring me joy
I wish you were better at Engineering, but that’s okay. I’m over it.
And when I said, “Love you, Naseem,” he knew I meant:
Thank you for raising my knight in shining armor.
For being a roll model of a life lived with grace, forgiveness and kindness.
He knew I meant "Thank you for fiercely loving your wife, a domino effect of love that I benefit from every single day."
And he knew I meant "I will teach the boys how to mow the grass at the cabin in perfectly straight lines, just the way you showed me."
And when my kids roll down their windows as we drive away from their home and screech “BYE OMI! BYE BABA!!!” he knew they’re saying:

We know we are always welcome here.
We know we are safe and loved inside of your four walls.
He knew they were saying "Thank you for making us Boston tea and toast with jam that never tastes as good in any other kitchen."
Thanks for your amazing BlueRay, 9000 inch TV screen that Omi can’t turn on. (Truly, he might as well have taken it with him)

And as he waved out the door to our boys, he didn’t need to say anything. We all knew his thoughts to our kiddos. He was thinking:

Keep going.
Study hard, work hard and make your own dreams come true.
Carry me forward. Take me on your own journeys, wherever they may take you.
Because I will always be there, in your heart, wherever you go.

There is no better sign of a life well lived that this room full of tears and laughter.

Naseem, We loved your easy laugh. We loved your beautiful smile. We loved your ability to see the good in anything and anyone. And we mean all of that, every time we say

We love you, pop.