I Love you, Papa I never knew April 22, 2004 was the last day; I could look at my father, hug him, and say: I love you, papa and I could say it every day. My father has gone far away from this land; I miss the precious touch of his loving hands. All I have now is great memories, A heart full of love and eyes full of tears, And to remember his love throughout the years. Please remember when you pray, to thank God above. For your father he gave you with so much love Dont let one day go by without telling him how dear he is Remember, you may not have other time to tell him this I never knew April 22, 2004 was the last day, Now I will have to look up at the stars and say, I love you, papa, I miss you papa, and I shall say it every day. My father, affectionately called Zia Sahib by everyone died on April 22 seven years ago at the ripe old age of 80. That dreadful Thursday evening, he had his supper & medication; I was with him in his room and talking to him while he was sitting upright in his chair, listening, his eyes closed, next thing I realized he had died. I found it all so shocking; I am torn apart to think that there was nothing I could do to help him. Literally speaking, he died peacefully in my arms. With his passing away the, the journalist community not only lost a veteran journalist but also a rare worker, totally committed to a profession. During his long association with The Pakistan Times, which he joined in its early days as a sub-editor, he became the Resident Editor of its Rawalpindi Edition when that edition was launched. He also worked as a General Manager, Progressive Papers Limited. He remained printer and publisher of weekly Viewpoint for about four years. When the Nawa-i-Waqt Group of publications decided to bring out an English Daily- The Nation-it could not have found a better person than my father. He saw it through its early teething troubles and continued to guide its fortune till his death. The Pakistan Times is no more but The Nation that he helped build from scratch, is eternally beholden to him for his highly valuable contribution. He was a very balanced and highly disciplined person and he tried to instill these qualities to all those who worked for him. He trained scores of raw hands in the intricacies of the profession of journalism. Many of them trained by him are working not only in The Nation but also in other English dailies in the country and abroad. Not only that, he was for many years, a visiting faculty member at the Department of Journalism, University of the Punjab. Many of his students are eminent journalists in their own right now. Apart from these professional qualities he had many personal qualities of head and heart. He was always helpful to his colleagues and juniors, forgiving their lapses and helping them out in their difficulties. For his services to the profession he was honored by the journalist community when they made him a life-time-member of the Lahore Press Club. One by one the old guard and those jewels which adorned journalism and notably the remarkable The Pakistan Times. After my father Ahmad Azeez Zia, Abdullah Malik, A.T Chaudhary, Iftikhar Shah, Jameel Ahmad, Kamal Haider, Kh Asif and Mazhar Ali Khan, Z.A Sulheri. Few remain from that illustrious group. The names of Asghar Butt, Ahmad Ali Khan and Amjad Hussain come to mind. It makes all very rare and precious and one hopes and prays that they may give us many more years of their company to bless the new generation with their august appearance. My father did not have an off day for us as long as one can remember. Despite being somewhat frail, many of his contemporaries and colleagues thought that he was indestructible. Regardless of the weather he would promptly be there at his desk at nine in the morning. He was a workaholic, and he was up before us and didnt get home until late at night. His death has impacted my life in so many ways that hardly know where to start. For the first year after his death, I was numb and angry. For the second year, I was hurt and trying unsuccessfully to deal with the pain of my loss. I distinctly remember one intense crying spell that that I had about a month after his death. I sat in my car cried at least for two hours. I couldnt stop, and I wanted him to comfort me like he used to when I was a child. I was also so scared because I couldnt remember the sound of his voice or his laugh. I missed him so much, I still do. He was a wonderful, kind, and sensitive man. What I remember most about my father is how he used to warmly hug me in his last days. The world lost a wonderful human being the day he died, and I often think about how much my two sons have missed because they will never know their grandfather. Since then I have been working on confronting my grief and facing my pain. I have made a lot of progress, but I also know that I have a long way to go. Because of my experience, I have witnessed first-hand how the death of my parent affected my family. I have changed, and I am a completely a different person today than I was seven years ago. I have grown in so many ways and have discovered so many good things about life. There must be an instinct about when the end is near, and few days before the end in April 2004, relatives were visiting him and it appeared as if he was saying goodbye to everyone. He kept looking lovingly at them, as if committing their faces to memory. I didnt know then that he was already saying goodbye. I was there in the bedroom where he lay, his mind alert but his body failing. He said, almost buoyantly, I am ready now. I understood that his intensifying rage of the last few months had been against death, and now his resilience was abating. I stood at the end of the bed, and we looked into each others eyes for a long, unbroken time. At last he said you did everything you could. I said, I did it because of you. It was the truth. Looking back, Im sure that we both had different interpretations of what I meant. I stood there. Another silence fell over us. Then he said, Thank you. There was very little he said to me, that I recall. During my youth, we hardly spoke. I am sure that the number of words that passed between us could be counted. I sometimes think of our relationship graphically, as a bell curve. In my infancy, we were perfectly close. Then the gap widened to accommodate our differences and indifferences. In the final days of his life, we again became perfectly close. My fathers death had a thousand endings. I continue to absorb its messages and meanings. He stripped death of its spooky morbidity and made it tangible and passionate. He prepared me in some way for my own death. He showed me the responsibility of the living to the dying. But my sister expressed the most enduring thought. Dr. Shahid A. Zia