My Dad….Gone But Never Forgotten

December 23, 2013 6:48 pm

Recently I was asked to describe my dad in no more than three words and in all honesty, I struggled.  Not because I couldn’t find three specific words to describe him, but simply because in my eyes he was worthy of a much greater and lengthy description.

Using just the three words would be a complete injustice to a man I was and to this day am proud to call my dad.

You see, my dad meant everything to me, he wasn’t just the father figure, he was more than that. I saw him as my friend, my guardian, my protector.

He was the one man in my life I looked up to and the person who was meant to help guide me through many parts of growing up and I wanted to be just like him when I would eventually have children of my own.

He was the one thing that kept the whole family together through life’s trials and tribulations.

Memories

He was a quiet and caring man, a loving and affectionate man, a man who had time for everyone. He was looked up to and had gained the respect of many within the community.

father childTo us as a family he was seen as a great father and provider, a bread winner, someone who supported his family financially and maintained discipline in the home.

He was a strong individual, both physically and mentally. He was a man who had experienced, lived through and overcame many hardships and what life had thrown at him.

Through all this, he remained humble in his mannerism and towards others, who had the good fortunes to meet him.

He always respected and cared for his wife and backed her no matter what. His daughters were nothing short of princesses in his eyes and would do anything his children asked of him.

For us there was no one better, no one who would ever come close to matching his many fine attributes. To us, he was simply the best.

I had many amazing and wonderful memories of him, no more so than when he would ask me to cut his hair and trim his beard. This bought us closer together and gave me a great sense of satisfaction in serving and caring for him.

Dreaded Phone Call

I still remember the day it happened and where I was at the time I received the phone call everyone dreads. It was a Wednesday afternoon on December 11th 2002, when my sister rang and when I answered, I knew straight away something was not right. “Dads been found on the bathroom floor, come quick”.

As soon I heard I rushed home and got there the moment he was being wheeled into the waiting ambulance. I couldn’t bare to see him in that condition, but somehow worked up the courage to see him before he was taken to the nearby hospital.

He didn’t look well at all and I had this horrible feeling inside of me that this will be the last time I will see him. The thought bought a tear to my eye.

We all got to the hospital and were met by the doctor caring for my dad. The first words out of his mouth, left me in a state of wreck and numbness, “Unfortunately there is nothing much we can do for him and that you should all say your final goodbyes”. Words I wouldn’t wish for anyone to ever hear.

Once again, I had to be strong and courageous, deep inside I knew I couldn’t do what was asked of me. I couldn’t go and see him thinking it would be for the very last time.

After some encouragement by the family, I managed to go and see the one man who meant so much to me and the man I would have laid down my life for.

As I approached his bed, I could see what had become of this once strong and independent man. I felt so helpless seeing him the way he was. I didn’t know what to say, I was lost for words, yet there was so much I wanted to say to him.

I wanted to ask for his forgiveness, for any hurt I caused him, thank him for what he had done for me and given to me and most importantly tell him that I love him.

At approximately eleven o’clock that evening, the most kindest, sweetest and honest man I loved and called dad, passed away peacefully, leaving behind a family in shock and disbelief.

It was something that took the whole family by surprise and not for one minute would have thought something like this would happen to us.

Guilt and regret kicked in immediately, about things I could have done or didn’t say when he was alive. I felt guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even though there was nothing I could have done.

 

Hurt and Sadness

losing dadDealing with his death has been tough, painful and sad for me. When you’re a young person as I was at the time, the loss of a father was extremely difficult.

I’m now a grown man and a father myself, yet I still cry and I am not ashamed to admit it. When I’m alone in my own space or when I’m visiting his grave,this is something that has become a norm for me.

I think it’s fair to say that over time my grief has changed in the way that is expressed, but it is not a grief I am ever likely to get over pretty soon.

I have stored the amazing memories we shared in a special place in my heart for life. Knowing there will come times and occasions when I would have expected him to be standing by my side.

Over the years speaking to family and friends openly has been the hardest thing for me to do. Knowing talking would help, it is something I have been very reluctant to do.

I have always been the type to keep my emotions bottled up inside me, talking to someone about how I feel would be as if I’m burdening others with my loss.

As time has gone by, I have learnt to adapt to the different ways of working through my pain and sadness in my own way.

Coping

Losing someone you loved or cared deeply about is very painful. I have experienced all kinds of difficult emotions and at times it has felt like the pain and sadness I was experiencing will never let up.

Over time I have learnt that these are normal reactions to a significant loss and that grieving is a personal and highly individual experience.

The memories of my dad and my strong religious beliefs have significantly helped me cope with the pain and has renewed and permitted me to move on.

To this day I have yet to mourn this magnitude loss in the way it should be done or in the way I would like to.

But I have learnt that healing happens gradually and it can’t be forced or hurried, it’s important to allow the process to unfold naturally.

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