'And so we pray': Fawad Ahmed's hardest winter

Ten years after becoming an Australian citizen, the father of two is amid the toughest period of his life

NB: The names of Fawad Ahmed's family members have been omitted at his request

Fawad Ahmed again catches himself looking at the tiny fingers of his brand-new baby boy. As he sits beside the hospital bed, his eyes shift to his own strong hands – the weathered tools of his beloved trade – and back once more to those of his son. He has been concerned about them for days now; the way they seem permanently curled, and the way the wrists point unnaturally outwards.

A physio, arranged at Fawad's behest, massages them gently.

"Every day he is growing, and the bones and the joints are getting stiffer and stiffer," he says. "I said, 'Look, I want him to hold a cricket ball and a cricket bat as soon as possible – so we need to get onto this thing quickly'."

The concern might on some level serve as a distraction for him, from the bigger problems his baby is also facing. Fawad and his wife left this afternoon's emergency medical meeting with the same questions still unanswered. They are waiting on MRI results. Genetic testing. Surgery will likely be required, they have been told. But how many? How complex? And when?

There is no pointing of fingers, but the frustration grows. They are in the middle of a harrowing waiting game. Fawad has played one of those before, with his own life on the line. But never his son's. He is afraid.

"It's a tough time, to be honest," he says. "We don't know what's going to happen. Neither do the doctors. It's pretty bad. You want to know. This is something that is aching the heart."

As has become their ritual, Fawad's wife kisses her infant son on the forehead, while Fawad lays one hand on his head, and one on his chest. It is time to head home.

"We say, 'In the protection of Allah'," he says, "and then we leave."

They walk silently out of the Butterfly Ward, down the bright corridor and through the glass doors of the Royal Children's Hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit.

Outside, the sky has turned from grey to black. They huddle together against the wind. Heads bowed, they take their fears into the cold Melbourne night.


June 23. It is a period of significant change for Fawad and his family. The arrival of a second child has thrown their world askew, but still it continues to turn.

Fawad and his wife have bought a house in Coburg, where they hope to have moved from Newport by year's end, though Fawad has been speaking with architects and builders and a structural engineer, and the scale of the project is already causing him angst. It is a 1970s build with solid brick foundations, and he has grand visions. He wants to add an upstairs area and double the bedrooms from two to four. He plans to add a home gym to the garage, because he knows his days of free gym access as a cricketer might soon be over and he is conscious of his health.

"In my family, we don't have older people much," he says. "The life span is not that long."

The Coburg house is within walking distance of Daral Ulum College, the Islamic school they would like their three-year-old daughter and infant son to one day attend. Fawad has a degree in political science and international relations. He appreciates fine architecture and the beauty of the Urdu language, which is one of five he speaks. His wife is also multi-lingual, and has studied business administration in Sweden, and early childhood learning in Australia. Education is important to them.

Yet the flipside to the move is weighing heavily on Fawad. The idea of leaving Newport tears at his heart. The area has been a warm blanket for him since 2009, and he has become entrenched in the local Islamic community. He is such a familiar face at the mosque that, whenever he is out of town, he receives concerned texts and calls from the men he prays alongside.

"It's been 14 years," he says. "Honestly, I'm not happy to be moving, but it's for the sake of my kids. You have to be very careful about these decisions. I like this area, I have a lot of friends here but … is it worth it? I've promised myself, I'm going to come back one day. Just giving myself hope, you know? Maybe I might get used to the new area."

He thinks back through the years and his memories are all intertwined with the small pocket of this large Australian city that became his home when he was forced to seek asylum after being threatened by the Taliban for promoting female education.

"Every time I came from overseas, once I got to the Newport-Footscray area, I felt, Yes, I'm at home right now," he says. "I got married, my kids, my first home here. I played for Australia and went all around the world while I was in Newport. I made friends for life.

"Fourteen years is a long, long time, especially when you're learning. And I learned a lot. You don't forget those things."

To hear his memories is to understand the significance of this upheaval for Fawad which, in turn, is to understand him as a father.

"It's not about my life now," he says. "It's about my daughter, and my son."


July 3. The winter solstice has come and gone but as his hospital vigil lengthens, Fawad's days seem to be getting shorter. His three-year-old daughter has been upset by the monumental shift in routine her brother's arrival has wrought. With school holidays in Melbourne, she is out of daycare for the next week, which means she is often by her dad's side, picking up groceries or pleading to be taken to a playground. But Fawad has only so many hours in his day, and as the darkness and cold continue to steal from their mornings and afternoons, he again finds himself worrying.

"The other day, she was asleep, and we had to go to the hospital," he says. "I came home, and she said, 'Dad, I didn't see you – I lost you, I was missing you'. And then I got upset. I thought: She doesn't understand.

"We need to give her more time. We don't want to lose her while looking after the little fella. But it's winter, such less time to go out … I don't want her to get sick. So we are trying, but it's getting harder. This afternoon she just wanted to play outside, play soccer with me, but it was cold and windy, and we had to go to the hospital. She was so upset."

Still, any time they have together is a joy for Fawad. She lights him up as only daughters can do. Just talking about her makes him smile.

"I love her so much," he says. "She's an absolute legend. She loves me as well, and it's such a good feeling."

In Islam, the prophet Mohammad had a daughter, Fatima. Fawad has absorbed the relevant teachings.

"We say (Mohammad) was the living example of the holy Quran," he says. "That's the best way to do it – to be an example, as opposed to telling people."

Instead of daycare, he prefers his daughter at home, where he feels she can better learn from willing parents in a loving environment. And he values the bond they are forming because he sees a ticking clock and wants to capture what he can while he can.

"My little one is going to be going to school in two, three years and then that's it, our relationship is almost done," he says. "She's going to be spending seven hours at school, she come back, she's tired, in a few hours she's asleep and then the next day same thing, she's going to school again. And that's it. You see her for only two, three hours in the whole day."

It is one of the lessons Fawad most wants to teach his children: "Be grateful and thankful for the day. For what you have."

Yet as he tries to juggle the many important balls he has in the air, he knows it is sometimes easier to preach than to practice.

"We are always thinking about the next year, or 10 years' time," he adds, "but then in the meantime you get so busy you forget to think about today, and the blessings you have already."

That perspective is on Fawad's mind as he nurses his three-week-old boy on his chest. It is one rooted in Islam, which teaches gratitude above just about all else. He regularly links that outlook to life itself.

"Who knows?" he asks rhetorically. "We might not be here tomorrow."

His fatalistic view can be better understood by the fact Fawad has known death in different guises since he was barely older than his son. Which isn't to say he is accepting of it, but is perhaps more philosophical than others in his shoes might be.

Fawad was 18 months' old when he lost his father. A subedar major in the Pakistani army, he was in his forties when he suffered a heart attack and died, leaving behind his pregnant wife and their three sons.

Many years later, his mother told him that in the weeks and months afterward, Fawad would cry for him, and rush towards any grown male, arms outstretched, literally grasping for a father figure.

Four decades on, and a world away from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Marghuz in which he was born, here he stands, determined to be there for his two children in the way his own father could not.

"When I go to the mosque, I know the guys, and I see them when they finishing praying, they go and kiss their dads on the head," he says wistfully. "Sometimes I sit there … it does feel different … I never grew up with the men in my family.

"Sometimes you think, Look at that bond, you know?

"I hope I have a long and healthy life, so I can be there for my daughter and son when they finish a prayer, and they can come and kiss me on my forehead."

Since his son's arrival, Fawad has generally visited his mosque in Newport in the early morning and late evening. In Islam, dawn is known as subhe-sadeq or 'true morning', and it is the time of the first prayer of the day.

"The dark is just coming off, so you see a little bit of different light in the sky," Fawad explains. "That's a time when we feel better, we breathe better."

The ritual helps him prepare for his daily trips to the hospital. Today he is making the half-hour drive with his daughter in the back, strapped safely into her baby seat. His mind wanders to his boy, in a hospital bed. A tangle of cords. A whirring of machines. Nurses coming and going. He is anxious about the path that lies ahead for him.

"We say everything has been written," he adds. "His destiny and faith have already been written. But sometimes in the destiny, we believe it might change if you pray.

"We said, 'Look, he hasn't got any treatment – no medicine, nothing – he's still alive, he's growing. Let's see, slowly, slowly, and we believe if he's got days in this world, no-one can stop him.

"And if he doesn't have much time in this world, by all the hard work we can't increase it. No-one would let their loved ones go from this world, you know, but that's how it goes.

"And so we pray, we hope, and we believe he's going to get better."


July 16. Fawad returns home from the mosque and settles into the warmth of his loungeroom. Another day at the hospital has again brought with it little more than frustration and sadness.

"It's been a difficult few days," he says. "He's got a lot of breathing problems. The good thing is that his weight is improving. They will do the surgery at a certain weight (3kg) … maybe end of this month, and it depends when the doctor is available as well.

"But we checking all other stuff. They have done some brain tests, some MRIs, and there is a little bit of something there. But we still don't know. They're waiting for the genetic tests, so let's see what happens. We don't know. It's been more than a month now."

He switches on the television, and tunes into the women's Ashes. A couple of his fellow Victorians, Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland, are at the crease. Keeping him company as he watches is his daughter, who wears a tiny replica Australia shirt. The two Ashes series have been a source of escape for him this past month. Only days ago he was watching another Victorian, off-spinner Todd Murphy, make his first appearance against England, and Fawad caught himself imagining how he might attempt to deal with 'Bazball'.

"You've got to go to more defensive bowling," he says. "In and out field; you're still protecting boundaries, but you have those catching men. A slip. Short midwicket, or one next to the non-striker. More like a one-day field. Stop the runs and they will make a mistake."

This is coach Fawad speaking now. Talking slow-bowling tactics as he would in his mind. He has spent a lifetime learning this stuff. Sometimes it feels like two.

It is a decade this month since he was handed his Australian passport. He looks back to that time and thinks how fortunate he was to have made the cricketing connections he did. A year earlier, his asylum application had been rejected, and afterward, he was informed he could be extradited to Pakistan with just 24 hours' notice.

Fawad out the front of the MCG, the day he received Australian citizenship // Getty

His life now looks drastically different to what it did then.

In 2013, at 31 and with his security and safety fears resolved in Australia, his hopes and dreams were being hastily rewritten. In Victoria, where he had leapt from fruit picker to professional cricketer in the twinkle of an eye, anything felt possible. An international debut was only a couple of months away. A long career in the Baggy Green beckoned.

"From a career point of view, it was the best year of my life – playing for Australia," he says. "It was like in the movies, you know, things were dramatically changing around me.

"Good memories, I will carry them for the rest of my life to keep myself happy thinking about it, and one day I will share with my little ones.

"But it's kind of a mixed thing as well. Sometimes I feel that I have achieved more than what I deserve, and then sometimes I feel that I deserve a little bit more."

There were circumstances and selection calls that meant it didn't all unfold as he might have hoped thereafter. He knows the hypotheticals are pointless to consider, but sometimes he lets himself go down the rabbit hole anyway. Five white-ball matches spread across 19 days is the sum of his international career. He recalls his emotions getting the better of him in the Caribbean in 2015, when he came as close as he ever would to a Baggy Green.

"I remember there were some tears coming out of my eyes," he says. "It was all over the media: '(Fawad) is going to be carrying drinks for the rest of the tour, and this might be his end – he will never play (for Australia) again'.

"I was at the peak of my career. Bowling so well … I think I would have deserved an opportunity."

Fawad carrying the drinks on Australia's Test tour of the Caribbean in 2015 // Getty

Fawad played his final first-class match almost five years ago, yet via his close association with his Premier Cricket side, Melbourne Uni, and his evolution into a T20 franchise regular, cricket has remained a constant. In January last summer, he played four matches as a replacement player for Melbourne Renegades and was decisive in two. Yet a week after the last of those appearances, he turned 41. He feels it, too.

"I used to say, 'Why do people do warm-ups?'" he smiles. "Now I know I shouldn't have said those things."

As this winter drew near, and his playing prospects continued to dissipate, he caught himself grappling with his future. Perhaps to buy some time, he made some compromises with himself. The first of those was to sign on to a Level Three coaching course in Brisbane, which he completed across the final five days of June. With his infant son in hospital, it was a difficult time to be away, though his mother-in-law had recently flown in from Sweden, which gave him just enough leeway to make what he sees as an investment in his family's future.

At the National Cricket Centre, where the course was held, he took the opportunity to see where his game was at, bowling to his former Australia A teammate Moises Henriques, who was also in attendance. It was the first time he had rolled his arm over since playing Premier Cricket in February. By more than one account, his line and length were impeccable.

"I was worried about landing the ball, but I bowled so well," he says. "Now these things come into my head … while I can still play franchise cricket, that's where I want to be."

Fawad roared back into the Big Bash for the Renegades in January // Getty

No-one seems to doubt Fawad's ability to continue to deliver with the ball. He is obsessive about his craft, about his preparation. And he has always worked hard. His passion for leg spin continues to drive him, perhaps beyond all notion of reason, because the prevailing sentiment is this: it's not his bowling that recruiters are baulking at. Instead, in the all-action world of T20 cricket, his one-dimensional contribution is viewed as a liability. In discussing his future more broadly, Fawad makes the point himself.

"Honestly, the leg spin is keeping me going," he says. "Everything else – the batting, the fielding, the getting up early to go in the morning – is not my thing anymore.

"But when I start bowling in a game, it just makes me happy, and I want to keep going and going."

His second compromise was to set himself a deadline of year's end to earn another T20 contract. With the settlement of the house, there are now pressing financial matters to consider.

"I haven't been contracted for the last 15-18 months, so there is no income," he says. "Now there is going to be a mortgage as well."

In his heart of hearts, he sees his end point, but right now, he has kicked it just far enough down the road.

"The only thing I still not accepting," he says, "is retirement."


August 4. It is a grey Friday afternoon, and Fawad is making his way home from the hospital to the mosque. The Melbourne traffic is heavy this time of day. It has been a challenging week because the family has been struck down with a throat infection, which has kept them away from the hospital.

"I know he's going to miss us," Fawad says of his son. "He's got used to us now, he's been sleeping well on the chest and feeding good with both Mum and Dad.

"But for now we just have to stay at home, at least for today and tomorrow. It's tough, but it's not just about him. We don't want to take germs to those beautiful kids. They're already sick and fighting."

Their spirits were lifted when they received a phone call from the hospital. Their boy will have surgery next Tuesday.

"They're going to bring forward the jaw and the tongue to create a more open airway, so he can start breathing (better)," Fawad says. "That's the most important thing, and the rest will come after that.

"I think the little man is lucky with the lady who is going to do the surgery – she is by far the best in the world right now, so he's lucky that she's available. We are so happy for it."

Fawad has requested a specialist take a look at his son's hands. He remains concerned about the way the middle fingers are bent from the middle knuckle and seem unable to reach full extension.

"It's far better than it was one month ago," he says, "but we need to look after it properly."

The family has been receiving support from the Islamic community. People volunteering to look after their daughter, paying them visits armed with home-cooked meals. The help is gratefully received, though it does make Fawad crave the presence of his mother, who died from the COVID-19 virus in 2020. It is almost three years and he is still coming to terms with her loss. He remembers her as "both a mum and a dad to me", and he misses everything about her.

"We were very close," he says. "It's the nature of things; mums have got that special place in everyone's lives."

Fawad shortly before his final first-class match, in the 2018-19 summer // Getty

The pandemic was a particularly difficult time for him. He was a globe-trotting cricketer at the time which meant already long periods away from home were extended by quarantine windows. In early 2020, he had put the wheels in motion to bring his mother to Australia, yet the sudden onset of the pandemic halted the processing of her Visa. Fawad was playing in the Pakistan Super League at the time, with his pregnant wife accompanying him. For the first time in his career, his mother had been set to watch him play, having travelled to nearby Rawalpindi with Fawad's brother for the game. Yet as fate would have it, he was dropped for the only time in the tournament.

"I was so upset," he says. "My mum was there, she's going to watch me play cricket live, for the first time in her life. I was so happy. But I got dropped – can you imagine? So it never happened. It was never meant to be.

"Then COVID came in, the matches got cancelled and I have heard that Australia have shut the borders. (He and his wife) took the Emirates flight, 3am, and they say it is no visitors, nothing – only citizens can come back. It was the last flight from Pakistan."

Of course, Fawad and his mother couldn't have known it would be the last time they would see each other.

"At first, she didn't say goodbye to us, she was crying so badly, because she had (been expecting) to come with us," he says. "And then we were leaving in a hurry because the borders were shutting down. She was just in her bed, and I actually laid down next to her. She kissed me. I kissed her, but she didn't look back because she was crying badly."

Around seven months later, he was at home one Friday night when she rang. He still finds it hard to talk about the conversation they had.

"I get really upset, (from) time to time, when it gets into my head that I didn't spoke to her (for a while)," he says. "When she call, she was sick, and she was upset. The way she was talking, she knew it already.

"It just makes me feel really sad. I got angry at her, and I'm still pretty upset with myself for that. I told her, 'Don't talk about the death or anything – you're going to visit us, you're going to spend a lot of time with us. Why you talking like that?'

"And then the next day I got a call, she had passed away."

As a father now, he is trying to implement parenting lessons he picked up subconsciously from his mother. A lot of it comes back to gratitude, but also patience, and resilience. His mother was in her twenties, pregnant with their only daughter, when she lost her husband.

"She got a little pension from the Pakistan army, a little bit here and there, some from the land we cultivated, that our uncle was looking after," he reflects. "It was tough, survival, but we went through nicely to what we are now and it's because of our mum. We all were highly educated, and then (me) achieving something in cricket, she was very happy, very proud."

Fawad's arranged marriage in 2019 had been borne of his mother's insistence. He grins as he thinks back.

"Without my permission, my mum said, 'We find a girl for you, and you are engaged now'," he says. "I said, 'Whoa!' That was 2018. She said, 'No more bullshit – you've had enough' (laughs)."

His partner, now his wife of four years, hails from the very same street in Marghuz, though Fawad did not know her. She and her family eventually moved to Sweden.

It breaks his heart that his mother never got to meet their daughter.

"That really hurts me," he says. "She said, 'Look, you are my last son, and I want to see your kids. I want to hold them in my arms'."


August 17. Fawad is at the hospital. It has become an unwanted second home. Another house of prayer. Holding his son in his arms, he sees the way he constantly moves his head, searching for the light.

"He doesn't look at me," he says. "That hurts."

Yet he understands why.

"They had three, four tests of his eyes, and he was minus 13, which is extremely low – minus 15, you can't see anything," he explains. "So even light, he sees very low. During the day, he looking up to the window, and at evening time he start looking at the corridor where the lights are.

"But we say, 'All praise to Allah' that he's got something. I am arranging some glasses for him, but it's going to be a little bit tough because we have tested the smallest size already and it doesn't fit."

Fawad knows that when he is anxious or upset, he withdraws, which frustrates his wife, who is more expressive with her emotions. He seems that way now. The surgery has been and gone but Fawad is light on details, and as far as he can tell, little has changed with his son. Again, they wait on test results. More than two months into their ordeal, Fawad feels worn down. His daughter has changed, he believes, and this upsets him greatly. She is more irritable, and tired of their new reality. He can relate.

"It's something that's so unexpected," he says flatly. "You're excited, you're happy about the birth of your child, and then suddenly you go to some dark places, and you don't know what's going to happen.

"Our lives have completely changed. Every morning, we just wake up and get ready to go to the hospital. Then in the evening, we come back. That's it, nothing else."

His spirits lift when he brings the conversation around to cricket. He has recently signed with Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne, the same club he began his pathway through to the national side with all those years ago. He still has the old Nike spikes he wore back then.

"They're very good as well," he says, "so I might wear them again."

Fawad is nostalgic in this way. He still has the jumper and trousers he wore during his first-class debut in Pakistan. In the family home in Marghuz, he has a special, handmade marble he has kept since he played in the street as a child with his brothers and friends. He has a small collection of coins and notes that stretch back to pre-1947 when the British occupied Pakistan.

"I personally believe that I was born in the wrong era," he says. "I'm an old soul in a modern-day body. I'm a very old man."

In one way, it is nostalgia that is driving him to pursue just one more summer of professional cricket. Fawad was 10 years old when Pakistan won the World Cup off the back of Wasim Akram and Imran Khan, in the city he now calls home. A world away in Marghuz, he watched their deeds and their debonair, and he too wanted to be a fast bowler. There was Waqar Younis to idolise as well, and later, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq.

"There were so many superstars," he remembers. "But it was all about the backyard, and in the backyard you are not allowed to bowl fast, so you get used to bowling spin.

"And then my brother says, 'You spin the ball nicely'."

More than 30 years on, he isn't quite ready to let go of the dream that was born that day. He remembers he and his brothers watching and rewatching Imran's famous tigers win that World Cup final, to the point that the details of the Melbourne Cricket Ground were singed into their brains. Decades later, it was surreal to Fawad when the cricketing colosseum became his home ground.

Now he wants to close that loop, and have his brothers watch him play at the venue that held their dreams as kids.

"Hopefully I can get another contract for Big Bash," he says. "I want at least one of my brothers to see me playing cricket, live at the MCG … none of them have seen me play live – not my brothers or my sister, and my mum never got to, either. That would be a nice finish to my career."


August 31. On the final day of winter, Fawad was awake at the time of first prayer, which also meant he was able to catch the back end of the Australian men's first T20I against South Africa. Sitting on his lounge in the Melbourne darkness, he was confronted by his own past and future all at once.

"Six years ago, I popped into Junction Oval," Fawad remembers. "Pakistan Under 16s were playing Australia Under 16s and I was catching up with some friends – I knew the Pakistan coach, and the physio.

"Then I saw one of the Aussie kids bowling leg-spin, and bowling so well. We had a good chat, and then we had a session the next day, and straight away I called the Sydney Thunder, and told them to sign him up as a rookie."

The 'kid' was Tanveer Sangha, and this morning, precisely 10 years and one day after Fawad made his own international debut, the 21-year-old was doing the same in Kingsmead.

"And he took four-fer," Fawad smiles. "I shoot him a message. He's a good kid."

Fawad mentored Tanveer at the Thunder as he found his feet in the elite cricket environment, and it was his exit from the club that gave the youngster a chance in the BBL. That notion of succession struck him again this morning, and helped him finally reach a point of acceptance with his playing career.

"Watching him, it makes you feel really old, you know?" he says. "And then you think: It's time.

"I have seen so many greats of the game – superstars – never finish the way they want. It does look like it's fading very quickly. But now I feel when it's time to leave, it's good, because some kid might get an opportunity."


September 3. The Melbourne sky shifts faintly from black to grey. Fawad is in his mosque, brightly lit, praying alongside others who share his faith. He whispers his words, a low harmonic hum. His eyes are closed. Minutes later, his ritual is complete. He looks around, and sees familiar surroundings, familiar faces.

He loves this place. To him, it is more than a house of worship. It is a refuge against the storm. When he is afraid, or overwhelmed or angry, this is his base. He loves the bonds he shares with the people. The fact his presence here pre-dates its modern rebuild. He loves the way the sun that spills through the stained-glass skylights casts different colours onto the floor of the prayer hall as the day unfolds.

He walks outside, into the grey of early morning, and eases onto a maroon metallic bench. He contemplates the world with the clarity and optimism true morning seems to provide him. He thinks about his brothers and his sister, and the plans he is forming to bring them out to Australia.

"One by one, so they can spend one or two months here," he says. "Hopefully I will get my house sorted as well, so I can accommodate them.

"I would like to bring them over in summer, to take them to the Boxing Day Test, and to a Big Bash game. I won't be playing unfortunately – it would have been great while I was playing Big Bash at my peak, performing well – but I would love to bring them over to show them around. I love Melbourne, so it will be nice."

And he thinks about his boy.

"They (the doctors) believe he's got a syndrome," Fawad says. "We said, 'Look, don't name him with any syndrome … we don't want to know anything. Once the result comes, and it's 100 per cent, then we will think about it'.

"I am not afraid. I told my missus, 'We will get tested at some stage in our lives'. Every person in this world gets tested. Maybe with their family, with their health, with money.

"We believe this is a test for us. We are not here for no reason."

He has been buoyed in recent days by stories from people within both his Islamic and cricket communities, detailing positive experiences with their children of varying intellectual and physical disabilities.

"One says, 'My daughter, she's 16 years old now – she's started reading', and he said that was just the best thing ever," he smiles. "We are not the first people. We will live with it. He's here, and he's with us now."

He looks skyward. Daylight is approaching, and he has work to do. First, he must find his boy some glasses, so he too can see the light.

On this Father's Day, Fawad has found his place.

Postscript: On October 23, six weeks after this story was published, Fawad Ahmed announced the death of his son: "Unfortunately after a long struggle my little man has lost the painful & tough fight," he wrote. "I believe you are in a better place, we will miss you so much."