When June 5th rolled around, I braced myself for a surge of sorrow and grief. June 5th marked the second death anniversary of my brother. It still feels surreal when I type (write/say) that. While I have intellectually understood the fact that he has passed away, it still feels like it didn’t happen.

I still reach for my phone to message him. I still look up sometimes and expect him to suddenly appear. I still imagine him sitting on our sofa and all of us watching TV together. I can totally see and hear him in my mind – knowing how he would respond to things that I was saying, thoughts I would be sharing, events that were happening.

I traveled to be with my parents for a few weeks, making sure that we were together on June 5th. The evening of the 4th we sat together for hours and they told me stories from their childhood. Ahmed would have loved to heard these stories, even if there were some that we had heard before. I had only ever known my parents’ lives in Dhaka after our country’s 1971 independence. It was interesting to hear about life pre-partition/pre-independence – especially as we were in Kolkata at that moment.

June 5th came by and that explosion of pain and sorrow that I was expecting didn’t come. Instead it was the same pain I feel every single day. It was no different. I guess when the sorrow always feels that it’s at a 10 it doesn’t really get much worse. The only thing the date ends up being is a reminder of time passing by.

Going to Bangladesh is never easy for me. While it is home, it’s also not home. I didn’t grow up there. I have family there, but seeing them a couple days each year (sometimes less) makes it hard to develop any real bonds or deep relationships. It’s tough. Nevertheless, there is a certain sense of home when I do visit and having my parents and getting the chance to spend time with my grandmother makes it very special indeed. This time around I spent a lot of time with my family and it was wonderful. It made me realize how valuable time is and how priceless these moments are.

I didn’t take too many pictures this time around, but here are a few from my trip:

my mom, grandmom, dad, and me
it’s not easy to take family photos without my brother; it’s hard to accept that life is going on without him, though he is always in our hearts
Dhaka 2019
my dad is an architect by profession; he now teaches architecture and project management at North South University in Dhaka; I attended one of his classes; it was great to see him in action
Dhaka 2019
mom teaches English at North South University – here we are after her class in the university courtyard – Dhaka 2019
promoting community service – North South University – Dhaka 2019
I know that cycling a rickshaw is hard work, but I still love seeing them in the city.
Dhaka 2019
rickshawallas and their fare chilling by the river – Dhaka 2019
Nando’s, it’s international – Dhaka 2019
these electrical cords give me anxiety (and this isn’t even a bad one)
Dhaka 2019
every craft is an art – Dhaka 2019
fruits galore on every corner – Dhaka 2019
food stalls on every corner too – Dhaka 2019
coconut carts right to your doorstep – Dhaka 2019
I tried a new flavor of ice cream (new to me) – UBE, a kind of sweet potato
how could I not? it’s purple!
Dhaka 2019
Tagore Terrace – Dhaka 2019
loved the atmosphere at Tagore Terrace – Dhaka 2019
they had quite an extensive book collection, Tagore Terrace
Dhaka 2019
the sitar was a nice touch, Tagore Terrace
Dhaka 2019
spotted a few English books too, Tagore Terrace
Dhaka 2019
Tagore’s poetry, Tagore Terrace
Dhaka 2019
Bengal Boi, Dhanmondi Rd. 27
Dhaka 2019
packed cafe and lively vibe, Bengal Boi
Dhaka 2019
love these reading nooks, Bengal Boi
Dhaka 2019
we donated my brother’s extensive book, graphic novel, and comic collection to Bengal Boi; they created this plaque for him; my heart swells with emotion whenever I see this
I know it may sound weird, but I didn’t go to the cemetery to visit my brother’s grave this time; instead I came here. I don’t feel anything at the cemetery. This is where I remember him.
Dhaka 2019
my brother’s collection, Bengal Boi
Dhaka 2019
my brother is my superhero, Bengal Boi
Dhaka 2019
yes, there’s a traditional side to me
Dhaka 2019
so long … Dhaka 2019