A Year Without You

 A letter to my dearest evergreen and beloved Bill – Wednesday December the 1st 2010, and we were the happiest family in the world, waking up to yet another beautiful day, ready to face, with a smile, the challenges the day would throw upon us. But who was to know that less than 24 hours later a bolt of lightning would strike through our hearts, tearing away the very fabric that had been a permanent constant through the years and had bound us together. I’m writing to you on the anniversary of the day you were so abruptly taken away, so I can tell you that even though you are absent in body, your spirit lives on and our love for you grows every day.

A normal early morning turned into the most unimaginable nightmare, and as the news started to spread, there was utter disbelief amongst your family and friends - and a refusal to accept the tragic news. Bill – why no goodbyes, no final words of wisdom, no lingering embrace?

12 months on, the seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn have come and gone but the season of pain, despair, loneliness, and disbelief continue to underpin our lives.

You taught all of us much about life in your short time. Even now your wisdom and legacy extends way beyond the years you gave us. You taught us that in life you go through many ups and downs but your glass rather than being half full or half empty was always overflowing - no matter what. You taught us that life was very precious and helped us live it to the max. You gave me, Imraj and Vicram the best things in life, but nothing will ever replace the “true happiness you brought to our lives, the kind most people only dream about “. You were and continue to be a doting, caring and loving father to our boys and my soul mate and best friend.

You never took things or people for granted and never forgot your humble upbringing. And throughout you kept the right balance between family life, work, your faith, community work and still had time for all. In the modern world where life is just a race and most people hardly have any time for others, you always gave up your time without question. You have the most fantastic ability to interact with the young, the old, professionals and colleagues by simply having the gift to bring yourself to their levels. I hope one day our sons and then their children in generations to come will carry that same gift into their daily life.

You are and will continue to be rare and an extremely special person who has lived his life in an amazing way. You always said it takes years to earn respect and minutes to lose it and guarded this special commodity with vigour. The Boys and I are extremely lucky to have had you touch our lives and I know the love you have showered upon us is more than most people experience in their lifetime –which is why –the reality of losing you feels insanely unbearable.

Bill, I sit here –writing my first eulogy – crying my eyes out – reflecting how life would have been different if we still had you in our lives. Everyone keeps telling us we should be thankful and treasure the happy memories that you created and left with us. But I don’t buy that – I want to continue to share with you every occasion, every memory, every success and every challenge. I want to continue to sense your wisdom, your blessing and your approval. I know you continue to look over us from beyond, and you will have been so proud of Imraj achieving a merit in his Masters of Law degree and going off to South Africa on charity work; of Vicram’s 10 A*s at GCSE and his selection as the Bedford School 1st XI team captain for 2012. You will have cheered louder than all of us when Vicram played at Lord’s for the first time this year. Yes even louder than when India won the cricket world cup earlier in the year!

I know you will have enjoyed your birthday celebration this year and had a sore head afterwards; we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we will spend many more together, not just in this lifetime, but in others too.

Bill, when you were around you never let us shed a tear or feel pained. How long do we have to continue to try and conceal the grief and put on a brave face when we are with family and friends? Why does it hurt so much? I know if you were here you would make it feel better; a few words from you and everything would be o.k. Bill - please make it feel better.

How will we know when we’ve grieved enough? Cried enough and died enough. When does the mind stop playing tricks on us? Giving us hope that any day soon you will come waltzing through the door and everything will be back to normal – WHEN? We are heartbroken and hopelessly lost. Daily tears running like a river. Grief has put a shroud over our hearts.

Bill – you will have heard me last week phone our sister in law and will have seen our 12 year old niece answer the phone. She asked how I was, then how Imraj and Vicram were and I was about to ask her to pass the phone to her mum and she said “How’s Billa chacha (uncle). I was overwhelmed and choked with this little girl’s consideration for my feelings and I said “Yes, he’s fine”. “Good “she said and passed the phone to her mum. This was the first time anyone had asked me “How you were “in the present tense and I loved it.

Someone once said: “We all die; the goal is not to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”, and you have left us all – not just me – a fantastic legacy in our two boys – Imraj and Vicram, who throughout this horrific ordeal have been amazing and I know you will be so very proud of them as am I. Bill – I know in the depths of my heart that you will watch over us; and I see you in our boys everyday and I am so proud to be your wife and to be their mother.

Darling Bill- we love you more than words can express and we would sacrifice anything to have you back, and it is on our joint behalf that I have a short message and request to all our family and friends:

“Thank you for being with us in our darkest days and for continuing to support us. Without you all we would not be able to face this as we do. Please continue to share with me and the boys your memories about the most amazing husband, father, son and friend. We love talking about Bill and would ask you all not to be afraid of talking about him with us. Nothing gives us more comfort than hearing his name and listening to stories and jokes he shared with you.
Can I ask you all to continue to address any correspondence you send us to Bill Sohal, he is still the head of our family.

Thank you”

Pally --- Bill's Dalsay

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