Stories: Who We Have Lost

Our Doorman, Our Friend

Story aboutLiaquat Mohammed

IN THE NAME OF GOD THE MERCIFUL THE COMPASSIONATE
“TO GOD WE BELONG AND TO HIM WE SHALL RETURN”

April 5, 2020 is a very sad day on which I lost a good friend, Mr. Liaquat Mohammed, to the dreadful Corona virus disease and he will be dearly missed.

I have known Mr. Mohammed for over 31 years during which he was the senior doorman of our building in Manhattan, New York. He was charismatic, professional, kind, protective, and loyal to all of the families in the building. In addition, our family especially remembers Mr. Mohammed for caring and keeping a guardian’s eye on our three children on their way to their schools.

Mr. Mohammed and I had a special friendship shared through our fasting of the month of Ramadan as well as celebrating the feasts of “Eid El Fetr” and “Eid El Adha.” Liaquat will be missed, especially during these times.

I am honoring Liaquat today, since I believe that valuable lessons can be learned even from the most difficult experiences in life. If I can plead with everyone reading this tribute to be vigilant for her/him self and their loved ones, to avoid any conditions that might lead to becoming infected by that dangerous disease, then Liaquat’s departure would not be in vain. I know that Mr. Mohammed would be smiling from up there knowing that he has helped in protecting even one valuable life; this would be a typical gift that he would have loved to give, any time.

Please take a moment and pray in the name of Mr. Liaquat Mohammed for a well-deserved welcome to God’s eternal heavens. Rest in Peace my friend, until we meet again.

Dad

Story aboutLiaquat Mohammed

Liaquat Mohammed was born in Trinidad in 1949. He was one of 10 siblings with many nephews, neices, grand nephews and grand neices whom affectionately referred to him as Uncle Dads. He died April 5, 2020 due to Covid. He was married to his wife for 48 years. They were looking forward to spending their 50th anniversary January 2022 but they were robbed of that milestone. Together they had 3 children and 6 grandchildren whom he adored. Liaquat introduced his children to road trips in America. Getting lost in his backyard but miraculously navigating like a pro outside of NY. They reciprocated as adults taking him to places he wanted to visit but put himself aside for their happiness. They are continuing the tradition with their families. His son has been to 44/50 states and hopes to finish in his lifetime.

Liaquat migrated to NY in 1980 starting a new life with his family. Never forgetting his roots as many vacations consisted of returning back "home" to visit family, friends and showing off the wonderful sights of Trinidad and Tobago to his children and family members. Some of whom exclaimed they lived there their entires lives and never knew what was in their backyard. 

One of the things he never forgot to do was hold religious functions, bringing immediate and extended families together. He never failed to introduce his children hoping they would commit a name and face to memory. Looking back, it was the best thing ever. He wanted us to know that you never knew who you would meet the next time you visited. 

Since his passing to present, he lost a brother, sister and 2 nieces. He was the glue that held the family near and far together because he believed in everyone coming together not only in grief. 

In NY he worked as a doorman on the Upper East Side for 30+ years where the residents remembered him as a guardian to their children. Keeping a watchful eye on them as they left and came home from school. Always remembering birthdays and anniversaries of residents and their families when they themselves forgot. They revered him as someone who was diplomatic, making himself known to everyone in and around the block -- even the traffic cop saving some residents and colleagues from tickets, while occasionally waving to George Stephanopoulos on his way to the studio in the morning. 

His passing has deeply affected his Upper East Side family along with co-workers. He was a family man. Everyone whom have expressed their grief described him as a humble, gentle, fun loving person. He is dearly missed by all who knew him. 

On a personal note, Covid robbed us of visiting him in the hospital, being an integral part of his treatment, holding his hand for the last time and kissing him goodbye. There was nothing traditional in his funeral, burial and mourning. No visits from friends and family; just a call, letter or text extending condolences. He went straight from the morgue trucks stationed outside of the hospital with other deceased to the funeral home in a doubled body bag. There was no traditional Islamic last rites such as "bathing" of the dead or wrapping in cloth ... only a body bag. No funeral or viewing. On his funeral day, he was taken in a Sprinter van along with 2 other gentlemen, one of whom was his friends' father and the other a stranger. With Covid norm went out the window.

At the burial grounds you weren't allowed the chance to view the remains in the casket so who did you bury? It was the worst moment in our lives. Despite wanting to blame the treatment of ventilators by hospitals and lack of consultations with families I hope that society takes a look back at our dark days and never repeats the same mistakes.

We lost a hero! My mom lost a partner! The grandchildren lost their Nana. Dad still had a long time left in him and was not supposed to go this way. My mom cries everyday. Her life is not the same. No one besides FOCV and YHM understands what we are dealing with. The stories echo each other.

Love you Dad --

Care for a Slice?

Story aboutMother Agnes Chiginsky

My son and I, along with my mom, were celebrating my son’s birthday. We went for pizza and my mom said she wanted a slice. I said we are getting a slice. After a few times she looked at me as if I had lost it! I thought she was the one who lost it!

This went on for a while. The waitress probably thought we both lost it! She wasn’t talking about a slice of pizza. She was talking about the soda Slice!!! If you had heard us though it was like Abbot and Costello’s "Who’s on first?" To this day I laugh whenever I think about it and that was over 25 years ago!

Loved my mother! We laughed a lot! Miss those times!

While so many adoptees never manage to find their mothers, or finally find them after they are deceased, I was truly blessed to have found you when I did and it was not easy either, due to sealed records. While it was great to finally meet you and meet my half-siblings too, it was always bittersweet--I saw all you lost in your life, your plans and dreams, because you unexpectedly got pregnant with me, and Roe V Wade would not be decided for another 23 years. You were cheated out of "choice," autonomy, self-determination, completing your degree at U of L and basically punished and had to live with the aftermath and consequences for the rest of your very long life.

I only lost you this year in 2022 at age 93 ! You outlived your husband of 60 years, your two children, your grand-daughter too, all your neighbors and friends, and by the time you died, there was really no one left to mourn you, except me.

Today is Mother's Day and yesterday was the Kentucky Derby which was always such a big celebration for you. This is the first Mother's Day without you and I did not really think I would be feeling this loss today but I do. I appreciate all your sacrifice, not that you had a choice in the matter -- your parents decided everything for you and you were forced to submit. I am so glad you did not live to see the loss of Roe V Wade. I know when it passed you were so happy for me, your children's generation. I know how happy that decision in 1973 made you because you knew your two daughters would not be forced to endure what you had to back in 1950. I am just glad I chose never to have kids -- that is my great consolation in life-- no child of mine will ever die in a war, ever die in childbirth, ever be subjected to incest and rape, and then be forced to suffer even more. Happy Mother's Day Mom -- May you finally find peace; you truly earned it.

While I didn't get to see Babe as often as I would have liked--living first in NY and then in CA for most of the time since 1977 when I finally found him when I was 26, I am very proud to have had him for "my Dad" and getting to know Andrew & Maggie, his grandkids, when they were smaller on Saturday mornings. I always loved listening to his stories and admired him for his "Big Brother" volunteerism and that tennis tournament he ran in the summers too. I really know he helped many people in Lexington and was a huge blood donor too--5 gallons or something like that--He enjoyed listening to Willie Nelson and we had that in common too.

I cherish the memories of Babe -- I truly do. My birthday is in May -- I will be 71 on May 19th. With Father's Day coming up in June--I decided to revisit Babe's obituary. I appreciate all the kind words people wrote. He was well loved and it is nice how many people whose lives he touched; such nice things they posted. I miss him now more than ever--that will never go away I guess.
Angela Gott
Daughter
May 8, 2022 which is also Mother's Day this year

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