Asia and Carmichael Khan’s mother/wife, Rose, died in a car accident in 2006. Asia was 14 at the time of her mother’s death. Asia shares how she struggled to process the sudden death of her mother and to navigate life without her. Carmichael speaks to the challenges of becoming a sole parent to a teenage daughter, as well as how his wife’s death has shaped his views on life.
CARMICHAEL: My wife.
ASIA: My mom.
ASIA: I don’t think it sunk in until the smell of her faded. Once I couldn’t smell her anymore, I think I finally registered her being gone. Dad … yeah, we handled I differently. I was just more so sad and trying to hold on to things. I used to wear her clothes. Sometimes I’d just open her drawers and smell her stuff, but over time that would fade too. He had a lot more anger about the situation he blamed the car for her death. He hated that car.
CARMICHAEL: Initially I was shocked. A lot of it sometimes maybe was anger. Certainly I was afraid. Initially, there was a lot of fear... some anxiety on my part in terms of what would happen next.
ASIA: I think Dad was in a place … he was pretty vulnerable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dad vulnerable like that before, ever, until mom died.
CARMICHAEL: Sometimes I’m uncertain about parenting stuff with Asia. I may make a wrong decision without having someone to bounce off the idea on. I may, um, not pick up on some of the cues, um, that she may be saying, um, something that I need to listen to. But, it brought Asia and myself closer.
ASIA: I can’t imagine where I would be without Dad. He did everything he could to do right by me and mom. As time went on, the pain dulled, but we would have moments of it being, just slicing into us. It felt like something was missing, but it was something we can go on with.
CARMICHAEL: I would say, all told, about five years to get back to normal um, uh cadence of uh living and a normal rhythm of life. And, it’s never over. You just learn to walk with and manage the wound that you have.
ASIA: It doesn’t have to be the end of everything. It doesn’t mean that your life is over. It’s just your life will be different. It does not mean you’ll never be happy again because you will. It’s definitely difficult, but you’ll smile again eventually.