My baby brother Farooq, born on October 3rd, 1964.

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October 3rd, 1964, Farooq was born. I was 4 years old and I picked his name. I remember when he lay in his bassinet, a chubby, beautiful, rosy cheeked baby. I remember him as a toddler, a cherub, with pouty, red lips. My parents got divorced before he was a year old. We moved from Karachi to Islamabad to live with my aunt and uncle. My mother who was an obstetrician and gynecologist, found a job in Lahore, so within a year we moved again. My grandmother, aunt, and uncle came with us. My beautiful little brother was so young and was traumatized by all these moves and no longer having a father. But he rallied, my uncle played games like 20 questions and cricket with us. My aunt took care of us, and my grandmother loved us to bits. Then my mother met my stepfather to be, and she married him, and left my brother and me in Pakistan, with her older sister, for a year, while they moved to the States to find medical training, my stepfather wanted to train to be a heart surgeon, and he did. They found residencies in Buffalo NY, and called us there. My little brother and I came to Buffalo in June of 1972. We settled in, started school in September. My gorgeous, little, sensitive brother, trying to be brave, wanting to be loved. My mother had two more children in Buffalo, my new baby brother and sister. My brother Farooq was a loving older brother, always looked to be loved. He was sensitive, intelligent, with gorgeous, movie star looks. He had friends who loved him. So unfortunately, he had no relationship with my step father and he was always looking for a father figure. But that would have been fine, if only in his late teens he hadn’t developed bipolar disorder. From there on, his life unraveled. He go married, had two children, and never had the chance to fully accept the fact that he was ill. He refused to take his medication. I always wonder what would have happened if he had had a chance to only deal with his illness, in peace (if there can be such a thing), without the responsibility of a wife or family. There was so much upheaval, and tortuous drama in his life after he got married, how could that have been good for him? I wonder if he would have come to some understanding with himself about his illness and realized that he needed to take his medications. I am incredibly, incredibly grateful for my beautiful and most beloved niece and nephew.

This was his life. This incredibly beautiful, sensitive, kind, considerate, loving baby brother of mine. His loss is a tragedy, in the purest form of the word. He came into this world looking for love, as we all do, and he left this world much too soon, looking for love. The last thing he said to me was “I love you.” And I love him and miss him so, incredibly much, everyday.

The things we have to live through, if someone had told me this was going to happen to me, to us, I would not have believed it. I may have declined the penalty.

Irony! We landed at Washington National airport on June 20, 1972. And Farooq left us on June 21st, 1991. (Before his 26th birthday.) What if we hadn’t settled 20 minutes from Niagara Falls? What would he have walked into then? I wanted this post to be a celebration of his life, because it is his birthday today, he would have been 51 years old!!! Can’t even imagine that. But oh how wonderful that would have been. My mother spared the almost unbearable heartache of losing her son. We, all of us, specially his children, spared such a tragic loss. Yes I wanted this to be celebratory post, in celebration of his life. But I can’t. I don’t have it in me, his name, the thought of my poor little brother is laced with sadness and tears. That is how it is when you lose someone precious to suicide.