Reprinted from New York Daily News
A heartbroken Azaam Rasool, preparing Tuesday to bury his wife, offered words of compassion to her hit-and-run killer just hours before a suspect was arrested.
“With everything he did, I hope Allah forgives him,” the widower said Tuesday as more than 1,000 mourners joined him at an emotional Queens funeral service for Zaalika Rasool, 40.
Family and friends lined up to bid farewell to Zaalika, whose body — wrapped entirely in a white cloth — rested inside an open casket. A funeral home worker walked along the line, handing out tissues to accommodate those weeping and waiting.
“I’m overcome, I’m overwhelmed,” said Nancy Carolina, a co-worker at the city Department of Transportation. “I loved her. She is a beautiful, beautiful woman, a wonderful mother.”
Her two sons spoke at a service held in the funeral home parking lot to handle the huge crowd.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” said 20-year-old Shaan. “The house is never going to be the same. Words cannot explain how I’m feeling right now. I’m going to miss you, mom.”
The third Rasool child, 9-year-old Sarah, was still recovering from injuries suffered when a speeding BMW tore through a stop sign Sunday in South Ozone Park and slammed into Rasool’s Toyota Corolla.
Driver Jairam Budhu, 58, was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident.
“No other love is like my mom’s love,” said 17-year-old Zahir. “I always gave her a hug and a kiss before I left the house. When she was ripped from me without a warning, I never knew that was going to be the last time.”