Yesterday, our dear media friend Baber Sheikh suffered the heartbreaking loss of his father following a long illness. In a touching tribute posted on Facebook, Baber poured his heart out, leaving a lasting impact on the hearts of many who read his words.
“I lost Papa while looking into his gentle loving eyes,
He had not said a word in the last 2 days and was merely responding with eye movements.
My days and nights were spent consuming lab measurements. One day his kidney function would be out of whack and the doctors would be injecting him high dosage steroids, which would make a regular man run like Usain Bolt. On others, it would be his lungs. When both of them worked better, it would be his nervous system.
The Sepsis, which originated from his rectum had taken all over his beautiful body. It was heartbreaking to see his strong persona devolve into such frailness. He had gone to the hospital with a strong gait of a confident man and I had to bring his shriveled body wrapped in a pristine white cloth from the hospital after 14 long days.
We were so naive, and hopeful. We thought he would get better in no time. I know many people who have collapsed after getting on Ventilator for more than 72 hours, Or, they cried why them. But, not me. Not Papa either. He came back strongly after being Ventilated for around 3 days.
He was a Poet, a writer, deeply spiritual and genuinely practiced live and let live. The kind of short bios that you would have seen on Twitter. And, he was actually that. Every bit of it. I don’t know how but he somehow always had the right thing to say.
Okay, I lie. Not always. Otherwise, why would I get into so many fights with him while growing up? Must be his fault. Nah…It was all mine. We were brought up believing in the power of Karma — good things happen to good people. And nothing would happen to him. Because, hello, he was the ultimate good badass that I had ever known.
But you know, Karma is a bitch sometime. It ended up making us delusional. Not to the point that we didn’t follow the doctors. Actually, we followed them to full, But it wasn’t meant to be. It just progressively got worse. Initially, he started having difficulty in walking. Then he couldn’t eat well. Then he developed breathing problems. Then he had terrible time expressing himself.
All I could do was look at him, Sit right next to him. Stroke his thinning hair. It still didn’t hit me even when his lungs started collapsing and I had to chase Pulmonologist in the hospital. I just kept on telling him that he was going to be alright. Well, I don’t know if I was trying to calm him or myself.
I had taken a sigh of relief after admitting him in the hospital but little did I know that it would turn out to be his death bed.
The doctors gave up after 10 days.
I spent the last 2 days walking aimlessly in the hospital corridors. My heart would freeze seeing an incoming call from the hospital Duty Dr. But, I finally got the dreaded call around 3:30 AM on July 4th, 2023. His blood pressure wasn’t coming up at all. It was hovering so low but it felt that he was waiting for something before giving up.
I remember walking to his bed. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I just knew that he won’t be able to survive this one.
I stroked his hair, Put my head on his chest, Prayed, I just stood there crying my heart out. In amidst the thought of losing him, all I could say to him was — “you are the father anyone would have died for. I can’t thank you enough for all what you did for me. I’m truly sorry for all the hurt and pain that I might have caused you and I hope you forgive me cause I didn’t know any better. Just know, I love you. I love you so much. Thank you for being the best father. I love you papa. I love you so much”.
I could see a tear drop from his right eye. Maybe, it was his way of telling me that he loves me. Maybe. Or, Maybe, he heard me say — “I love you” to him for the first time.
I kissed him on his forehead and left to call my mom so that she could say her goodbye as well.
And, after few minutes, he was gone.
**Baber Sheikh is working at Geo Group as AGM, Sales & Mktng in Lahore. His father Tanvir Iqbal died yesterday.