Love, Loss and Healing: A Mother’s Tale of Strength
Everyone has experienced some sort of loss, be it a friendship, money, health, or even a death. Times of loss of loved ones can be devastating for families and friends, and a loss of a child can feel like losing yourself. While some carry the burden of a loss around with them, others seek to decrease that burden upon them, and some even attempt to ease the pain for not only themselves, but also for people experiencing similar feelings.
A woman currently living in Mississauga tried and succeeded in doing just that. Hirrah Khan, a 22 year old woman, wrote her first book titled Love At First Sight, A Father’s Tale of Loss and Love, centered around the loss of her twin daughters due to prematurity.
Published in July, 2017, and illustrated by Marina Adam, she believed that through writing about her experience of loss, her twin daughters’ memories would stay strong and continue to live on with her. She hopes that through the novel, parents who’ve experienced similar losses will be able to regain strength and patience just as Hirrah and her husband did, as well as learn that love far exceeds the strength of sorrow.
I decided to interview the author to learn more about the morals of her new book and the journey she went through while writing it, and here’s what she had to say.
TLC: Your book deals with an extremely painful personal experience. How did you gather the courage to write on this subject?
HK: I started writing this story 5 months after we lost our daughters due to extreme prematurity. The story was a present to my husband for being my strongest support system. We both felt that society does not always give people the time and space to grieve. In fact, society often tends to isolate those who go through such painful experiences, perhaps believing that if they don’t see the pain, it won’t exist. We heard more and more of ‘it happens… get over it… have patience…’ To my surprise, talking about our experience made many people feel that we were lacking sabr, which was not the case.
Some people equate patience to bottling up emotions and burying memories so deep so that they can never be found again. Instead, my husband and I took the spiritual path to cope with our loss. Undoubtedly, it was the spiritual strength that enabled me to write about this experience. I wanted others to know that sabr/patience makes a person strong and allows them to face their pain, rather than hide it. I found motivation and courage in spiritual guidance.
TLC: Has this book helped you heal? If so, do you think others who have suffered similar tragedies will benefit by this too?
HK: Yes, the book has helped me heal tremendously. It was very devastating at first because I was looking for ways to remember Azmaira and Zainab in a happy way, while not forgetting the fact that they are not here with us anymore. I was in the early stages of my second pregnancy and really wanted my future children to know about their sisters who came to this world for a very short while. So, I wrote this story using a writing style which resonates with all ages and is easy to understand and accept.
I feel that others who have either personally experienced something similar or know anyone who has or will definitely benefit from this story. I feel that anyone who has experienced any kind of loss can develop a connection to the story.
TLC: Do you plan to write more books?
HK: I do have some new ideas and would love to write more books but at the moment, my eight month old keeps me super occupied. Insha Allah, when he is a bit older, I will definitely write more.
TLC: Who did the illustrations for your book? Tell us something about that?
HK: ‘Love at First Sight’ is illustrated by Marina Adam, who is a friend of mine. She is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. I knew that she is very artistic so I asked her if she would be willing to illustrate for my story and she agreed. I really admire each and every picture that she drew for this story to bring the book to life. She worked very hard to understand the type of pictures I was looking for and would be appropriate according to the manuscript.
TLC: How has this book impacted your own and your husband’s life?
HK: Learning to live with pain and grief is a process. We realize that the pain of not having our daughters with us in this world will always be there.
The story continues to remind us of our beautiful short-lived time with them. It allows us to acknowledge and accept the reality of this life and the hereafter.It motivates us to strengthen our faith and become closer to our creator.It gives us hope, along with many other beautiful reminders.
TLC: What was the response from your family and friends? Were they supportive?
HK: The response and support from our family and friends have been amazing. In fact, my sisters played a very significant role in motivating me to get this story published.
Initially I did not write the story with the intention of getting it published. It was just a present for my husband. But when my family members read it, they encouraged me to do more with it. I have received a lot of appreciation for my work. What I absolutely adore about this accomplishment is that people are not afraid to talk to me about Azmaira and Zainab and my experience. It’s not a ‘hush hush’ topic anymore. Just after my book launch, my 6 year old cousin mentioned my twin daughters in a family gathering and it made me feel very happy. Friends and family members are encouraged to openly accept them as a part of our family. The story has raised a lot of awareness about grief and patience. And it has made not only adults but also children realize that the pain surrounding someone’s loss should not have to be bottled up inside us. Of course, being a mother, I do cry at times missing them. But that is just going to be a part of life. There’s a famous saying, “A mother holds her children’s hand for a while, but their hearts forever.”
TLC: Tell us something about yourself.
HK: I live in Mississauga, Ontario and I am currently a stay-at-home mom to an eight-month old baby boy. My new-found passion for writing encouraged me to write about my family’s journey of loss and love.
I am an educator by profession and also enjoy blogging about motherhood at www.mychildrenmyjannah.wordpress.com. I feel that through writing, I can keep the short-lived memories of my twin daughters alive and also create awareness in our society to help others.
Pain of loss will always exist, just as Hirrah has said in her interview, but it is for ourselves to decide how we deal with it. For her, sharing her experience with others had allowed her to heal from the loss of her twin daughters. Coping with pain and grieve doesn’t need to be a solo mission. Sharing a story, acknowledging the past and pain associated with it, and accepting help are ways to make that journey an easier one to travel. Hirrah Khan had discovered that through writing her book, and she aspires to give hope to others in similar situations to work through their pain along with others, understand it, and learn that the journey through grief and sorrow doesn’t have to be an unbearable one.
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- Love, Loss and Healing: A Mother’s Tale of Strength - January 27, 2018