04 Mar Here to help – Kala’s story
Asma had buried her husband the day before I met her.
I was welcomed respectfully into her home. But instantly I felt Asma and her whānau’s sense of loss. I could see and feel the severe and overwhelming shock and grief.
Asma was extremely quiet and tearful. She said: “I don’t know what I will do, how will I live. I can’t believe this has happened; my children need their Father”. She intimately shared her husband’s dream for her – “he wanted me to be independent…. but not this way.”
Asma had never had to deal with any of the social support organisations (apart from NZ Immigration), as Suhail dealt with their day to day finances. Trying to understand New Zealand systems and processes, understanding how to navigate between the different government agencies such as MSD, ACC and NZ Immigration, while still being in shock and very traumatised was simply overwhelming.
With the support of her family we were able to discuss what needed to be prioritised.
In their home I take the time to check in on each family member to also see if they have any needs, even with the language barrier, mostly as a sign of respect to acknowledge their loss.
Then we moved to completing her ACC paperwork and checking the documents she required for her application to be processed. Asma, her Father, Zahid and brother-in-law, Naveed, and I went to the emergency response hub and I guided them to meet with ACC and MSD.
Later we set about working out some strategies to cope and then we worked toward her getting a bank account, computer lessons, a driving licence. We looked at parenting strategies and support, and then how she could find a job. In just a few months since her husband was taken, she has had to do so much.
Asma’s courage is something exceptional. As I continue the support visits, I am humbled by the family’s appreciation and the respect they showed me. They really appreciated and valued the support and guidance from Victim Support. Today Asma’s girls both greet me at the door and are comfortable with me. They jump on me and are very affectionate and often show me their colouring in or schoolwork.
For Asma and her girls there have been and will be many firsts of everything in the first year without their loved one. Facing special occasions, seeing families return home to their lives, hearing a news update and facing the court process. All of these can trigger emotions and provoke feeling. It can feel like they are on a continual wheel.
But she knows we are here for her; I am here to provide practical guidance and supporting her to moving forward and rebuild her life. For herself, her girls, her family and in memory of Suhail.