Lubna's Story: Life without Nazish Noorani
By Lubna Tanveer
Editor’s note: This is a speech by Sr. Lubna Tanveer who is the eldest sister
, who was gunned down by the girlfriend
of her husband in Boonton, NJ, on August 16, 2011. This speech was delivered on
the second annual memorial event in Boonton.
On behalf of my family and myself, I want to thank you all for coming. I would also
like to thank each and every one of you who helped organize this event in honor
of my sister Nazish Noorani. I am thankful and forever grateful for the love and
support of my extended family, the Boonton community and all the people I’ve
met and friends I have made following Nazish’s tragic death.
I won’t talk about domestic violence. I’ll leave that to the experts.
I won’t talk about how and why Nazish was murdered, I’ll leave that
to the judge and jury to decide.
I will talk about how her death has changed my life and the lives of my family.
To completely describe the impact Nazish’s death had on me is impossible,
overwhelming and very emotional but I will do my best.
Losing Nazish was like losing a part of me. The loss and pain is and always will
be a part of my daily life. Nothing can help fill the void that was caused by her
death. It’s left a very big hole in my heart and in my life that will never
be full again. In attempting to describe how I feel to someone who has never experienced
the loss of a sibling, it’s like losing a leg or an arm.
Initially I felt many emotions including shock, disbelief, denial, sadness and anger
which eventually shifted into fear. I didn’t return to my home for almost
a month since it all happened right outside my house. Loud noises, door bells, police
sirens all terrified me.
I credit Allah, my husband, children, siblings, and my late father for helping me
get through the pain and adjusting to life without Nazish.
What also helped me was visiting her grave. In the beginning I went weekly but now
it’s once a month or every time I’m upset or sad.
I am constantly reminded of the emptiness when birthdays and holidays come around,
especially Ramadan. I miss her very much. I miss her smile, our chats, and hearing
her call me Baji since she was the only sibling to address me that way. My mind
often wanders to the night she died and I find myself reliving the entire ordeal.
It was the 16th of Ramadan. We had just broken our fasts. We chatted about everything
from food, kids to Eid outfits. The last thing she said to me was “I’ll
be right back.” She never came back. If I had known I would never see her
alive again, I would have asked her to stay a little longer, I would have held onto
her tightly, I would have told her I loved her and that I will miss her.
My family was devastated by Nazish’s death however no one was more shattered
than my father. She was his youngest. He was constantly worried about her children
especially since he too grew up without parents. His heart ached for his grandsons
because they were the most affected by this tragedy. Having lost his child so tragically
not too long after losing his wife was too much for my father to bear. He died less
than a year after Nazish and I’m pretty sure he died of a broken heart.
The world lost a very sweet, caring and amazing human being the day Nazish died,
and I often feel sad when I think about how much my nephews are missing because
they will never know who their wonderful mother was and how much she loved and cared
for them but more sad really for her, for not being able to see her sons grow up
and be a part of their lives. Her eldest son, Riyaan, is now 7 and the youngest,
Shayaan, is almost 5. They have adjusted well but no one really knows the long term
psychological effects of their mother’s sudden death. The first Mother’s
Day was very difficult. My kids were making me a card. Riyaan wrote a note to his
mother and gave it to me. It said “When are you coming? I want to see you
again”. It broke my heart. Even my husband and brother couldn’t hold
back their tears. They both miss her very much and talk about her very fondly. When
I show them her pictures and videos their faces light up and they very proudly say
“that’s my mama”. I have taken them to her grave on a few occasions,
more recently this past Eid. I tell them to pray for her and that they can talk
to her about anything they want because she can hear them.
Allah knows best and we have to hold onto our faith until we are reunited.
It’s true that death ends a life, not a relationship. Nazish Noorani will
always be my little sister.