A Father’s Love

We call our father’s by many names. Appa (Tamil), Papa, Thatthi/Thathha (Sinhala), Dad, Daddy, Father (if we are being formal), Pere (French), Vader (Afrikaans – anyone thinking STAR Wars), Baba (most other African countries) – these are just a few and the ones I commonly know and or have used.

No matter what word we use to call/refer to our fathers, they have the same significance to all of us. They represent love, security, strength and safety. For those of us who have absent fathers we search all our lives for those things in other places.

I was a part of both, as in for a period my father was there and for a period he wasn’t. For some period though he was physically there he was not present in any other way.

I grew up like any other girl idolising her father, but in my case the fact that me and my father were alike meant I also felt we had a special connection that no one else was privy to. I loved that. I loved that it was something only I had with my dad and it needn’t be shared with my sisters (I have spoken before on sharing and life with three younger sisters), or even my mum for that matter. He would know how to make me smile. He’d make me laugh and distract me when I needed it and he loved very much the way I do, with his entire heart that sometimes, it did him no good. I loved my dad was a true enough statement.

Parents, we sometimes forget are human too. My dad was human, with insecurities, with faults, with weaknesses and when these manifested themselves in harmful ways to the entire family, I hated him as much as I loved him.

I was always at odds with myself, torn between loving my dad and hating him for his weaknesses. Blaming myself as a kid thinking there was something wrong or lacking with me for him not to change his ways. For him not to give up his weaknesses. I blamed everyone around him and blamed him too. I was hardest though on myself.

When my dad died he was so far gone. Alcoholism had taken it’s toll on his body and his mind. I was left with guilt and regret cause I never fully built the bridge to reconcile and I never really told him that yes I was angry with him but yes I loved him too. I think though that he knew. Little things he did. The way he looked at me and the way he cared. See no matter what I never doubted my dad loved me. I just always questioned why that love was not enough to change.

I am getting married next year. I always dreamed my dad would walk me down the aisle, give me away and I don’t have that. He’s not there. He’s not going to see me in my wedding gown and get emotional. He’s not going to cry giving me away. He’s not going to dance with me and twirl me around. He’s not there to make me okay when I am stressed with all the planning. He’s not there as my security and surety. I hope though that where ever he is, he’s happy and happy with how I have turned out and what I have chosen for life.

Even though my dad is not going to be there, another father figure who has been there for the last 11 years will be present. My step-dad who is also quite human (no inhuman parents out there), is there to walk me down the aisle and dance with me for the first time and cry at every moment and pretend he isn’t crying. He’ll make me laugh, he’ll act silly and smoke too much cause he’s sad to give me away, but he’ll be there.

I have been blessed to have two fathers. Who have both taught me so much. Not only on what not to do, but also on what to do. It took amazing parents, who have strived through heartache, difficulty, weaknesses, mistakes to raise me. And they will all be present that day as I wanted whether physically or not.

Raising a child is difficult, raising a child well is even more difficult. Raising a child when you are the farthest thing from perfect is an impossibility almost, but they did. Neither I nor my sisters can claim to say we have made too many bad choices in life. In instances where we have tried to, they have stepped in. In the instances we did, they have been there to pick us up.

Parenting is a lifetime job and sometimes I think an after life job too. You never rest once you become a parent and it is hard from what I have seen. You never stop loving though and you always try your best no matter how screwed up you may be or how much your children screw up.

A parent’s love for their child is the best example of humanity at work. Even though parents are human with all sorts of weaknesses and their children have weaknesses too, they still love their children as though they are all perfect.

A Father’s Love is unconditional and God’s love for us is that of a Father.

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Experience

Every experience we have, shapes us, moulds us, so that we are not the same person we were before said experience. The truth of the matter is there is no usual you, cause you are getting added onto each day you spend on this earth. Every event, be it the death of a father that was absent, or falling in love and giving of yourself more than you knew you’d ever receive back (twice) or having people you trusted let you down, or people you didn’t trust show they were trustworthy; they all change us.

We can get so lost in the feelings and emotions of the events that we sometimes forget that life is bigger than one single event, that it is an accumulation of a series of events, some pleasant, some not so much. We choose those events and sometimes they choose us, but how we process and react to them are always our choice. That does not mean we are expected to not feel whatever emotions we feel. It means we decide when we move on and it differs for each person. Some people take longer because they’d rather feel everything and get it out of their systems, others choose to bury the feelings and “fake it till they make it”. Neither is wrong, we are all just human. Sometimes though it is hard when you take the time to mourn and someone seems to have moved on in a heartbeat. The thing though is, we are all different and if we hold that against each other we’d never find peace.

So we all live life, each day changing, till maybe one day we can finally come to the end of our lives, and hopefully we look back and smile. Then we can leave the cacoons we were bound to, spread our wings and fly like the butterflies I love so much.

As Alice said in Wonderland, “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” So I look forward and follow the road that is before me, not the same person I was, growing each day with every step.

Acceptance

***This was written a while back. I was not ready to post it then, but I am now.

 

I have not written in a while, not only on this blog but in my life. I have stopped writing to be honest. Reading as I have always said is my escape from reality, if reading is my escape, then writing has to be my door back. It helps me face what I have been running from and get back to living reality, instead of weaving fantasies. I have not written because I was not ready to face reality.

My reality – my dad passed away. At the age of 48 he passed away and I didn’t get to say goodbye, more importantly I did not want to say goodbye, shouldn’t have had to say goodbye so early!

I do not have many fond memories of my dad. He was there for 15 years of my life, but he was always a stranger of sorts. There were times though when he was the best dad in the world. He was the parent who understood me and no matter what we always had a bond, an understanding, probably because deep down we had similar souls. I believe in things like that, things that are unexplainable, something he and I had in common.

How to explain our situation? It was so complicated. From the age of 15 to 21, I didn’t see my dad again. Those years were not easy ones, especially 15. That was the most trying year in my life. So many trials. So many disappointments and so much pain and tears and he wasn’t there to protect me from it all. I was angry with him for that and so many other things. So much anger, so many secrets, so many disappointments; all of it came between an already strained relationship of father and daughter. Love sometimes does not conquer all it seems.

Now though, none of it matters. It all seems trivial and stupid and you wonder how in the world you let all of that get in the way. At the end of the road, what really matters is the love and I learnt that too late.

The truth is he chose the path he chose. It was going to end in heartache but he chose it and I was powerless to change his mind. So now the road’s ended and I stand at the end heartbroken. My dad is gone and I love him and I am mad at him for leaving me when I still needed him so much! I want to scream to bring him back but he won’t come back, so I hold my screams in. I hold my tears back for the sake of my mum, I get on with my life as though nothing is wrong but everything is wrong! Everything is not what I wanted! I think back to the dreams I had as a kid, the ones I dreamt in the mornings with my eyes shut tight, and I want to believe that if I close my eyes tight now and open them again, I’ll be that kid again and everything that has happened was just a vision of a future that could have been and I can change it. That is only a fantasy though and the little girl is gone. Though sometimes I can see her like it was yesterday…

So I do the only thing left to do, I accept the truth before me. I accept he’s gone and it hurts so much! Hurts so very much and I can’t even cry! I hold the tears back for another day, another time, another me. The little girl and her dreams are gone. One day I’ll be gone too with my heartache. Some other version will look back and see both the little girl and the broken-hearted young woman and she’ll see us like it was yesterday…None of us will ever forget though. We will always remember you dad and we are glad for the lessons, the love and hope you finally find some peace.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

You live on in my memory and heart…

Goodbyes Are Hard and That’s Why I Avoid Them!

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When I left Malawi, it was kind of in a rush. Everything was happening so fast I could only process one thing at a time. It didn’t sink in that I had left my home of 15 years till the plane was landing in Sri Lanka and even then I was tired and numb after flying and it didn’t properly sink in.

I am a strong believer in dealing with things as they come. Putting it off till later will have serious repercussions that will sometimes cripple you. I try to deal with everything that life throws at me when they are thrown at me, sometimes the day after. Hey a girl needs time to plan out her defense or attack! There is one thing though that I avoid very much. I literally become blind, deaf and senseless when it comes to this and that is the action ‘goodbye’.  

Goodbye…a seven letter word. Now, that in itself is a bad sign, an odd numbered word. I dislike odd numbers. Saying goodbye is  something I have struggled with my whole life. From since I can remember I have always hated goodbyes. Honestly speaking, I am afraid of them. In my mind, a goodbye is kind of like a death. It’s an end, and I hate endings. I have refused to say goodbye so many times, it has now piled up to a whole lot of unfinished  business. I think I have a separate room in the house that is my life, with ‘pending goodbyes’ on the door.

What I am realizing is that goodbyes are inevitable. They are like an uninvited guest that decides to crash every party and doesn’t take a hint that they are not welcome. I am also realizing that goodbyes are not always bad. Yes, they are sad, yes they herald an end to what was a really good time in life, yes they can make you feel like your life is over but a goodbye, a proper goodbye is also a heartfelt moment that could define the lives of those involved.

At the end of the day, saying goodbye is a chance to show the person that they meant the world to you, that they always will; and that though you are saying goodbye, they will remain in your heart and memory. It’s a chance to let them go with the knowledge that they had impacted your life in a way that has forever changed you and made you a better person, cause let’s be honest, no matter how a goodbye comes around, the time before the goodbye would have taught you something in life. It’s a moment of release for you as well as the other person involved. It is better, I think, to say goodbye and let things end than not say it and have unfinished business that you will regret later in life. It’s better to show the person that they meant something to you than let them wonder forever. Better to lay to rest what was and with a slow smile move on. 

All these things still do not make a goodbye any easier but I hope it’ll help anyone who hates goodbyes as much as me to atleast try and say it.

I will definitely work at saying goodbye though it’s hard.