This collection of photos is from my trip to Pakistan, it was my first time back home in 17 years, and each day was more of a blessing than the last.
All of my loved ones are buried in Pakistan, so being back home finally gave me the chance to visit them as often as I liked. It sounds a little silly to say that going to the cemetery and showering my family with roses was the best part of my trip; one would never figure that the place that makes me face loss is where I felt the most peace, but it was.
My cemetery visits were my time to tell my grandparents about how I grew to be a photographer and stylist now and how beautiful the sun shines for me in New York City. I'd pour roses over my older sister's grave and tell her about my life in great detail and assure her that she'll watch me become very successful. When I shine, she shines with me.
I also got to visit my two favorite uncles (Uncle Yousaf and Uncle Jahangir) and thank them for the beautiful memories they left me with. Uncle Yousaf passed away last year, just days before my birthday, and losing him put me face to face with how humbling grief can be; grief is what made me buy that flight ticket from JFK to Pakistan.
I counted being able to sit at the cemetery with these special people and tell them about me as a great privilege, no matter how sad the loss made me. During my visits, I'd always (humbly) request that each person come to visit me in my dreams. I thought the in-person cemetery request would be honored without a doubt; however, to my dismay, there were never any special guest appearances in my dreams.
I laid patiently in bed for so many nights thinking that tonight was the night I'd be visited by Uncle Yousaf and my sister, and then it hit me, they're present in every single one of these photographs. They're my connection to my roots and every person and place I photographed, and although I can't see them, I can feel them in these photos.
It's an honor to share photographs from my trip, and there's no doubt that those I visited at the cemetery with roses are the ones who keep me shining, and I couldn't (humbly) request anything more than that.
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