KATHMANDU: The last words from his better half were about their girl. “Take care of my daughter,” fighting back tears, Balan Joseph, 42, recounted what Buddha Laxmi Joseph had whispered to him just before she breathed her last.

The garment designer, originally from Kerala, lost his daughter and wife in the blast at Assumption Church last month.

“Although the doctors had declared Celestina Joseph dead, I lied to my wife hoping that she would recover,” lamented Balan. “It was a futile effort.”

He said his family had already forgiven Sita Shrestha, who was arrested for a hand in the church blast.

He recalled that there was no feeling of regret in Sita’s face.Balan said he would not seek any compensation for the loss. Two years of their love affair turned into a happy conjugal life of about 18 years. Buddha Laxmi, of a Kathmandu Newar community, was a beautician. Of the three children, he lost the eldest one. Celestina, a tenth grader at St Mary’s school, is remembered as a brilliant and amiable girl in her class.

He remembers the day before the blast, when his daughter made a sketch and prepared an appetising dish that proved to be the last dish she cooked.