Christchurch widow Ambreen Naeem is learning to drive at the age of 45.
It has been three months since a terrorist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51, including Ambreen’s husband and son, injuring 49, and leaving thousands in trauma.
“I lost half my family. We were such a nice family,” she told ABC News on Sunday, June 16.
For Ambreen, learning to drive is just one of the ways life is changing. Her husband and son used to do the driving for the family.
She has also had to leave her job as a baker to care for her two younger sons and move house to be within walking distance of their school and university.
For the first time, she is managing the family finances without incomes from the main breadwinners.
“It was so lively and we went on trips together. Even at home, we would work together. It is very different now from what it was before.”
Naeem Rashid died after tackling the gunman to the ground so other people could run away.
For displaying such courage he has been awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian bravery honor.
“Naeem is the fourth person in 72 years to get this award so it’s very, very special — especially for my children,” Ambreen said.
“I knew he was very brave [but] this was really amazing, saving people’s lives.”
Her son Talha died shortly before receiving his civil engineering degree, which was delivered personally to the mourning mother.
“Their deaths had a purpose, they were loving people and in death, they brought the world together,” Ambreen said.
This show of love was making life possible with friends, neighbors, volunteer groups, and some total strangers offering their help to the family.
“If this love wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be so strong,” she said.
“People who have love in their hearts, they are the winners and people who have hate in their hearts they are the losers.”
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region.
It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s 3rd most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.
There are about 50,000 Muslims in New Zealand and about 60 mosques and Islamic centers.