How do we manage the emptiness that the loss of a loved one creates so as to preserve the smile that characterised the time spent together?
How do we remember? How do we honour the memory of a person who dedicated her life to tell stories that are too difficult to hear? How can we forget just as much as it is needed to survive? How can we suspend the urge to understand so as to respect the inexplicable choices of a friend?
We had not been in touch for a while, but she was prone to long silences – it happened every time she was immersed in writing. We live scattered around and yet interconnected – six months go by and you don’t realise it until it is too late.
Annie spent her life embracing the world – an embrace so compassionate and open that sometimes the world ended up suffocating her. She was a good listener – she listened without reservations or prejudice. She gathered stories that would inevitably leave deep marks. She felt responsible for the words that were gifted to her.
There is a man, maybe not fully in his right mind, in a rough neighbourhood in Karachi, he lives in a cemetery with a wall full of graffiti. She wanted us to write his story together. I may have to go look for him soon. And carry with me her desire to always make an honest and generous space for all unheard voices.
And carry with me her desire to always make an honest and generous space for all unheard voices.
Annie Ali Khan (1980-2018). In memoriam.