Exactly one year ago today my dear grandfather left this world.

The circumstances it all happened in still leave me shocked. Two days before my flight, I woke up and wanted to tell my mum that I wanted to go. She was stressed, getting ready for her flight which was later that day. I knew I was going to start crying, because I really wanted to go. I was going on a hike with the Red cross team later that Saturday. Before that my mum thankfully bought a ticket for me and my flight was two days later. A few moments later my mum found out that my Pakistani passport had expired. I was already out then and got worried, but didn`t realise the seriousness until I got home and my mum was on the plane. The embassy was closed, but thanks to my Dad I got an urgent visa. Meanwhile my mum had moved my ticket to Thursday, but when I got my urgent visa I wanted to move it. Which I did.

Thank God I did that. It gave me the chance to see you one last time.

I still can`t believe my grandfather died. I can`t believe that he`s never going to call my mum again. One of my favourite memories of him, is when my mum went to Pakistan last year and he asked her before she left “won`t you bring any guavas with you for Iqra?” He knew I really like him. He was always so calm, the only time I can remember him being a bit angry was when he was defending his grandchild, haha. My dear grandfather. You would always ask your daughter how I was doing, when you`re talk on the phone. My mum would many times stress that she hadn`t talked to you for some days. She hasn`t done that in a year. I would figure out what the time was in Pakistan and say “call him, he might be awake”. When I was in Pakistan in 2014, I would hear noises from the livingroom 6 am in the morning while I was sleeping  and I would be too annoyed. Who woke up super early in the morning? You did. I don`t think you ever missed a prayer. I wish I had gotten up earlier, though. To just sit in the livingroom with you. I remember how happy you were when I visited you summer 2015. It was only for a few days, but I`m so glad I got those few days with you. They turned out to be some of the last days I would ever get to spend with you.

I`m sorry I didn`t get to spend as much time with you as I wish I had, you were far away and I was far away. I`m sorry you had to leave so early, but I really hope you were happy that I came, even if it was during one of the last moments. I think of you more than I express, but I hope you know that I do think of you and I pray for you.

I`ll always miss hearing your voice on the phone, though.


I`ve written about this before. My fear for death. Sometimes I even wonder if it a fear I have, because it`s not always there, but I do know that it`s somewhere there inside me and I`ll have days or periods where it can get too overwhelming. I don`t know if I can call it anxiety, but I won`t and I don`t because I`m not sure if it is and I don`t like to throw diagnoses around me just like that.

The other day my mum told me about how her neighbour in Pakistan lost her oldest son. He was 47 and was ill, but it seems like he died “all of a sudden”, if I can put it that way. When she was telling me about this, I could feel how my body reacted, even if it was just a bit. I could tell how my mind started thinking about illness, death and everything that comes with it – the pain and the sorrow.

It`s something else to be scared of death and I think many of us are scared of dying. Many would say “I don`t want to die”, but who wants that? What I feel is not only because I don`t want to die, it`s a fear because I don`t know what death involves and I think it is crazy that someone can just vanish and you won`t ever see them again. You could lose your wife or husband and from then of come home to an empty house. Nobody is waiting for you. The room is empty, it`s just you at the dining table, no hug, no smile. I`ve lost my uncle, my grandmothers and my grandfather and every time it`s been devastating to know they`re never going to call, they`re never going to show up at my house and I`m never going to be able to see them again.

Because they died. But what does dying mean again?

I miss them all. I`ve been thinking about my grandfather, I`ve been thinking about how my mum never gets a phone call from him, she has no dad who calls her to ask her how she is doing and how her kids are doing. He was always so nice, so caring. I`m glad I went last year, but oh, man, how I wish things were different and that I had been in Pakistan before May 2018. It was sad to see how someone left this world in front of me and wasn`t anymore few seconds later.

I still don`t know what death is.

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And that`s what almost breaks me sometimes. The event in which someone just leaves and you lose all the chances to see them again. Someone you love vanishes right in front of you. I`m scared of getting ill, I`m scared of going to the doctor and receiving bad news. I literally start imagining the worst if I have a headache or if I “feel a little bit ill”. If I get diagnosed with an illness one day, I wouldn`t be able to handle it. I wouldn`t.

I`m afraid nobody can comfort me, because what can they say? Nobody living on earth has seen death. If there is one thing guaranteed, it`s that we`re all going to die one day. Nobody can save me from it. People might say “that`s how it is”, but that`s what hurts so much. I wish I could avoid death somehow, but I can. It`s going to happen to me and everyone else around me and I don`t know why we`re doing so much, when we all won`t be here one day.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” 



Two years since my grandmother died today… 🖤

While I`ve been in Maastricht, I`ve been thinking about my grandmother. About how she would have called me, to ask me what I`m doing and I would have told her about how someone stole my bike. We would`ve laughed together. Or I would`ve told her about I forgot my keys inside my room and wasn`t able to get in for four hours, or how I missed my flight. Perhaps she would`ve said “my granddaughter is crazy” and I would`ve smiled. But I can`t call her and she`s never going to call me again.

Life moved on and somehow I “got used” to not seeing her in her house. Whenever I visited her, one of her first questions would be “have you eaten, Iqra?” Now, I have no grandmother who could ask me that.

I don`t think I need to say that I miss her, but still I will: I miss her. I wish I could call her and tell her what I`ve been up to lately, but I can`t.


It`s sad how we appreciate and miss the things we used to have, when we don`t have them anymore.


A few days ago my mum told me about a friend of her, who I also know and who`s mother-in-law was seriously ill. She had cancer.

Yesterday I got to know she died last Thursday.

It all brought me back to when it was my family who were in that situation. When my own grandmother was hospitalized. When the doctors said that we should get ready to be ready. Maybe this is weird to say, but now as I`ve been in that situation I understand it more. My heart now aches more for those who are in a situation like that, because I know what it can be like.

It`s weird how I sometimes find myself knowing where I was at this time two years ago. I can see myself sitting in a chair, next to my grandmother at the hospital. To be at the hospital can be difficult, to see someone you love ill and not being able to do much or anything at all about it can be extremely difficult, so I guess I understand those who don`t want to go to the hospital often. But I`m so glad that I spent that much time with my grandmother, because now I`ll never get to see her again. It was a painful situation to be in, but now is less painful than it could have been, because of the last memories that I have. Because I have less regrets than I could of have had.

When she died, I was shocked. I don`t know if it was because I had spent so much time beside her bed or because I had tried to be as hopeful as I could be. Nobody really knows how much I miss my grandmother. I strongly wish she had stayed longer with us and that I could call her from Maastricht just to ask her how she is.


I understand what it must be like for my mum`s friend and her family and I`m very sorry for their loss. It can be unbearable to realise that someone who has always been there with you, all of a sudden never will be there with you again. And please take care of each other. It`s when it`s the most difficult that it gets more important that we are there for each other and show each other love. Tell the people you love, that you love them. Give them hugs, give them time. Because before you know it, it could be too late.


“Shouldn`t ask you how you`re doing, because you`ll ask me the same, maybe just for the sake of it, and I don`t really know what to say”.

Imagine if I hadn`t gone to Pakistan, imagine the regrets I`d be having at this very moment. Imagine if I hadn`t changed the date of my ticket or stayed here. I don`t think I can explain properly to anyone how relieved I`m feeling. I can`t explain to anyone how lucky I feel for being given the opportunity to meet my grandfather one day before he died. I feel so incredibly lucky, I can`t say that enough times. It was worth the money, the effort, the time. Everything.

I just came back from spending a month in Pakistan and it goes without saying that I miss being there, especially with my family. It`s going to take time for me to “go back to normal”, but honestly? It feels like some people don`t understand these kind of things. It`s as if they expect you to get on with life as if nothing has happened. I`m glad it`s the holidays now, because it gave me the possibility to stay in Pakistan for a month and I don`t have to show up at school.

If you were to ask me how I`m doing, I don`t know. One moment I`m in tears, the next I feel okay. Since this is the third time a family member of mine has died, I sort of knew it was coming. It hurts to think that my grandfather is not physically among us anymore. I won`t be asking my mum how he`s doing because I know she talks to him at least once a week and I won`t be able to ever see him again. The idea of him not physically existing is still very new to me and just thinking about it makes me cry. I wish I had went to Pakistan in March to visit him. Despite everything, I feel quite good knowing that I went to see him one last time and knowing that I got to spend as much time as I got to spend with him considering I`m his oldest grandkid.

A part of me wants to delete everyone in my friend list and get on a plane as soon as possible, but that`s just my head. I`m glad I`m going to the Netherlands, I need changes in my life. I kind of wanted to cut my hair short again when I was in Pakistan – who knows if I end up doing that when I`m in the Netherlands. Social media is too much, most people are too much.

Everyone grieves in different ways and I know that I need time. Time to process it, time to get used to it even though I`ll never be completely used to him not being around. Time to… think about it, even though it hurts. Time to cry, to feel everything deeply. Hopefully it won`t hurt like this forever.

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//photo: source







God, where do I even begin. Who knew I was going to spend a month in Pakistan with my family? And who knew my grandfather was going to die?

The past month has been sad, weird, nice, tragic, beautiful, strange, pleasant, heartbreaking. I can`t tell you enough how happy and relieved I am that I went to Pakistan just on time and got to meet my grandfather. I can`t express how relieved I am. I still wish I had went earlier, but God had a plan and at least I got to meet him one last time. Oh, I was so lucky. I`m sitting in my room as I`m writing this and it`s as if I can feel the relief in my bones.

In the middle of May my mum came home and was worried about my grandfather. I never wrote about this, nor did I really tell much to anyone, but he had cancer and was getting treatment. Despite his age and the fact that he travelled back and forth from Mandi to Islamabad for a couple of weeks for his treatment, he was doing fine. My mum was in Pakistan in March and when I said “I wish I could go too”, I was talking about my grandfather. But he was doing fine, until his condition got worse in the middle of May. I was ready to visit him during summer, but then the awful news came. To me they were enough – I got scared and started thinking “I should go. I have to go”. I was in the middle of my exams and meanwhile my mum decided to leave for Pakistan. I wanted to go too, but didn`t say much until the day before her flight. With tears in my eyes I told her I want to go too, and my ticket was booked. I`ve already told you guys this, but I can`t say it enough times: My flight was on the 28th of May. On the 26th we noticed that my Pakistani passport had expired and I had to get an urgent visa. Thanks to my dad I got it fixed, but meanwhile my mum changed the departure date to the 31st of May. My visa got fixed and I got worried – “isn`t 31st of May too late?” I changed it again, because I wasn`t capable of waiting anymore. I packed my suitcase and went.

I landed in Pakistan 29th of May.

My grandfather died the 30th of May.


My grandfather recognised me, even though he was in so much pain. He put his hand on my head and hugged me. I don`t know if he knew, but I think he knew. He was in so much pain. The craziest part for me is that he died in front of me. I was right there when it happened, he took his last breathe in front of me. I still think I`m in shock, it makes me very sad to think about everything that happened. How everyone was crying and how it felt like time stopped for a few moments. It was… weird to see him dead. Tragic. Unbelieveable. One minute he was there, the next he wasn`t. His empty room, the silence, the emptiness. Nobody will be able to fit his shoes.

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I was there during all the religious ceremonies. My flight home was on the 10th of June, but thinking about it brought tears to my eyes. My uncle paid quite a high amount to change the date, which I`m very thankful about. I got to spend more time with my uncles, aunts, cousins, other family members and other people there that I spent time with. I`m very grateful about that. We went out a few times, to eat ice cream. I did a little shopping and got to visit some family members. There were 9 kids living in the house at most and all of my mum`s siblings. It was nice to be together again, eat Iftari together and be together on Eid, even though the atmosphere was different. I got to meet four cousins for the first time, which was amazing. I miss everyone so much, I wish I had woken up in Pakistan today.


I`m back in Norway. Right now I`m sitting in my room, which is weird. I say this after each trip, but really – yesterday I was there, now I`m here. Life`s so weird, I can`t get over it. I had other plans for this summer, but life happened. Who thought all that would happen? On top of it one decision I made has so much to say. It`s shocking to think about it, but everyone`s on their way back home now and the world doesn`t stop for anyone. This chapter is already over and all we can do now is look forward to another one. After all, my grandfather want us all to be happy and to always stay together.