Two years after four members of the Afzaal family were killed while walking in London, Ontario, those closest to them reflect on how the strength they showed in life has helped them live each day since the attack .
“Time is the greatest healer, and we now have the courage to thank them for their love and care all these years,” Umar Afzaal and his family said in a statement issued through their lawyer on Monday.
On 6 June 2021, Umar’s brother, Salman Afzaal, Salman’s wife Madiha, grandmother Talat and the couple’s daughter, Yumnah, were killed when a lorry hit them at high speed on Hyde Park Road in what police believe was an alleged by hate-motivated attack. .
Umar helps care for the youngest family member, who survived the attack. Breaking: has agreed not to name the boy so that he can live as normal a life as possible.
“Life goes on; we know they are in a better place and smiling down on us,” the family statement said.
Every family member remembered it
The page-long post describes how the family remembers each person who was killed, drawing on memories and reminiscing about moments they will never get back. They speak directly to each victim and describe how they “have to live with this void for the rest of their lives now”.
In addition to the release of the letter, a public vigil will be held in London on Tuesday.
“We miss our late night discussions and strategizing how to decorate homes,” the family said in their message to Madiha. “We are all committed to carrying on your legacy and we will love your surviving child as much as we love our children.”
Salman, a physiotherapist who moved from London to Mitchell, Ont. for work, is remembered as a motivator and nurturer for “people of all religions, ages, gender, color or creed”.
His love for his mother, Talat, 74, was important for the family to mention.
“We always said your love for your mother was unparalleled. She had the best days of her life when you were with her.’
Grandmother, teenager loved art
Talat was a teacher and artist. Her surviving family said she is still valued by her students, who have become very successful in their careers. But their pain for her was evident in their message.
“We don’t know who we will turn to for prayers in difficult times. You have shown us the path of humility, simplicity and self-respect,” they wrote.
“We miss you and we promise we won’t let you down. We will take care of our family as you taught us.”
Yumnah was 15 when she died. Like her grandmother, she was an artist and her work inspired the design of the permanent memorial at the site of the attack. Other artists have also used her work for tributes, including one on display at White Oaks Mall.
“You left us too soon, and we didn’t get the chance to see you grow and become as successful in your life as we all knew you would be. Our hearts weep for you and we wish you peace. Your cousins and cousins will follow your example.”
And some have. At least one of Yumnah’s cousins is a founding member of the Youth Coalition Combating Islamophobia (YCCI), a group made up primarily of teenagers who take action and create change.
Shortly after the attack two summers ago, Nathaniel Veltman, in his early twenties, was arrested. He faces four counts of first degree murder and one attempted murder with associated terror counts. He will stand trial in Windsor from September.
“We anxiously await justice and the perpetrator is punished according to the law. We have full confidence in the Canadian justice system,” the family said.