A Challenging Year Without Khalil

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Layla Khalil was a wife and mother of two.

Loved ones describe her as someone with a drive to learn English and a passion for teaching.

Action News Reporter Leigh Dana spoke with Layla's husband and a friend about living this past year without her.

"She brought me here. I did not want to come here. But she insisted on coming here and she left. She left me alone," said Samir Al-Salihi.

Samir Al-Salihi and his wife Layla Khalil emigrated to Binghamton from Iraq in August 2008.

They hoped to live safely and peacefully.

But that dream was shattered by the mass shooting.

"This situation is not easy," he said.

One year without his wife by his side, Al-Salihi was forced to juggle roles of father, mother and teacher.

"My role becomes very complicated. How can I compromise between my health and taking care of them as a father and mother. They get confused. Especially the youngest son."

Friends like Tina Bakr have helped Al-Salihi and his son get through rough days.

"Some days it will be helpful for them to come and sit and chat. We have a common bond. And I think it has done wonders for us as well," said Bakr.

Al-Salihi is writing a book on the War in Iraq.

He says the distraction helps him move forward.

"We try to overcome and fight and challenge all the problems and circumstances. This is part of our strategy in life," said Al-Salihi.

Al-Salihi hopes to leave Binghamton and the reminders of his loss.

Moving on has not been easy.

"I wanted to leave 2 or 3 months ago for a change, but the papers take time."

But no matter where life takes Al-Salihi, Khalil's memory lives on with him.
"Because you live a long time and memories cannot be forgotten when you live a long time. It's not 1 year, 2 years, 7 years. I am always missing her. Always she's in our hearts and in the children's hearts as well."

In Binghamton, Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.

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