My late father never visited Paris. Yet for me he is always here. Back in July 2010 during my first visit to this magnificent city, I called my father while sitting in Tuileries, the beautifully manicured gardens situated beside the Louvre.
What I didn’t know then was that we were having our last proper conversation before my dad passed away, suddenly, four weeks later. That bright and warm summer afternoon would be the final time he was alive for me.
God has, miraculously, blessed me with the ability to visit Paris numerous times since then. I have walked through Tuileries, pictured here yesterday, in every season. Whether summer, winter, spring or autumn, I sense my father’s presence as I stroll across this elegant garden. Each time I have paused for a moment of reflection and remembrance. Al Fatihah, the opening verse of the Holy Quran, I have read for my father’s soul.
While the details of our conversation are now a faint memory, the nearness that I sense to my father in this garden on which he never tread remains timelessly poignant.