I spent Eid with my London family consisting of my fathers sister and eight of her kids. It was a Monday. Sunny beautiful day and we decide to go to a fun fair in the park and then to Nando’s to eat and celebrate. I tried to call my dad, partly because it was a day of celebration and partly because we talk every single day (and he didn’t call on Sunday). So I was slightly worried, but then I remembered that he was in Holland and sometimes he would call every 2 days or so. I tried to call him. Again and again and he tried to call me again and again. But we couldn’t reach each other so we decided to try again later. When we got home from all the festivities my phone had no battery. This is super annoying, I have to switch off my phone in order to charge it. While it was charging I fell asleep. I woke up around 11 p.m. and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to watch an episode of Switched at Birth.

The Image Disappears, season 3 episode 16
You guys don’t have to watch it, but I want my sister to watch it.

What was happening in this episode is exactly what was happening to me in real life. I tried to go back to sleep after the episode but I couldn’t. After several of twists and turns in bed. I sat on the edge of the bed staring at the wall. I was worried and had a knot in my stomach. 

My dad tried to reach me that day. Five missed calls from him. I didn’t see the miss calls until the following day, when it was too late. On a Tuesday I got the call that literally took my breath away.

It was a Tuesday, a normal beginning of a day. I just got in my apartment and I was doing my nails minding my business. Then I got a phone call. +31 number. HOLLAND! I answer with excitement “Hej BABA!” and instead a familiar female voice, not my dads, graced me with “Dee, are you expecting a call from dad?” “Yes, I haven’t spoken to him in 2 days so yes” And she tells me “to be strong and to be calm”. She tells me that my dad has had a stroke and asked me how fast can I get to Holland? I just repeated what she said and kept repeating for the third time, because it just seemed so surreal.

Stroke? What do you mean stroke? Where is he?!” She informs me calmly that he’s in the hospital and I ask how bad it is and she says it’s critical. So I call Marvin out of breath as if I just ran up the steepest mountain and I talk out of breath incoherently. “Ticket to Holland, book it now for now right now! Baba had a stroke.”

I book a ticket that leaves 3 hours from Heathrow and I rush there like I have never rushed before in my life, my stomach is in knots and my head is spinning, only to be declined to board because of last minute booking isn’t possible. I book the following morning at 7 and that night turns to be the longest night of my life.


I am at the airport completely lost, nervous, anxious, worried, stressed and mostly sad over the injustice. I only hope that my dad is still alive when I get there so I can take care of him or fix him. That is honestly what I thought. I thought my presence would fix his stroke, that I could do something to make it better. What a jesus-complex that it.

It’s 11.30 p.m and I’m in Heathrow taking the tube and I have a panic attack like I have never experienced before. I came close to passing out, something I have never done. I knew instantly I needed friends around me or I won’t make it.