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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Who Have I Become?

There is always a confusion when you grow up. How do you know if you are changing too much, how much of it is really you and how much is what you made yourself to survive, fit in, belong or just had changed with no conscious thought on your part to do so?

I remember a little girl who always felt unheard, who always felt lost in a crowd with her family, who wanted something to call her own, her own identity; to be told she is special and never finding it. She withdrew and finally got lost somewhere along the way. Not without a fight though. She always fought for what she wanted. Never won.

I remember a teenager, lost and confused and full of hurt and insecurity, whose father had just left, whose mother she always depended on to be the rock was found to be human, who didn’t have any friends, who couldn’t confide in her younger sisters out of a duty of being the eldest, who was so lonely and confused. She craved for love and attention and to be told she was worth it; that she was worth the sacrifice of giving up drinking, that she was worth being listened to. She fought then too. She fought to keep her head above water in a life that was a sinking boat, she fought feeling unloved and unworthy and somewhere along the way she too was lost.

I remember a girl who fell in love deeply with a boy who made her feel everything she always wanted to feel, special, heard, like she was the only one in the world. Who treated her like an equal in spite of an age difference. Who never missed an opportunity to be there. Who made her life a little brighter, a little less lonely. He was everything she wanted till the day she found out she wasn’t the only one and she would never be the one. The tears she cried were endless it seemed. And she tried, she truly did. She too was lost along the way, so were the tears.

I remember a girl who came back to her homeland as naive as can be. A ball of innocence dropped on a hard, harsh, unforgiving ground. Who fought hard to be herself and remain the way she was. She too was lost…

I remember a girl who lost her father. Who lost the one man she wanted to save. A girl who wasn’t there when he died. Who was left alone in a harsh world with guilt, and regret and a broken heart. A heart that had taken so many beatings but this was it. She lost her heart. She lost her fight. She lost.

I remember a woman who fell in love in spite of all the odds being against her. Who took a chance on love again and who learnt that even a person who had completely lost her fight, her heart; could be restored when someone else loves them enough to stay through the good, the bad and the ugly. That someone would have to be very special too.

I know the person I have become. I know what has made me who I am. I know the hurts, the joys, the regrets, the lessons. I still wonder though what if I never felt lost in a crowd as a child would I like people more? I wonder if I was never betrayed by my parents as a teenager would I be more trusting and open to believing the best of people rather than the worst? If I never fell in love that first time would I have loved differently now? If I never came back would I have been happier even though a future was not guaranteed? If my dad hadn’t died, would I be less broken-hearted and more optimistic? If I didn’t take a second chance at love would I be happy alone?

What ifs… We know they are impossible but we still think them.

The truth of the matter is I am who I am today due to a culmination of events throughout my journey in life. If one tiny thing above hadn’t happened a different person would be writing this blog now on a different topic too probably.

You cannot predict life, but you have to accept that there is a greater purpose to everything. That the whole universe isn’t necessarily out to get you, it’s out more to build you. And those versions of you that presumably disappear, well that is a metamorphosis. They blend one into another and every version of you is like a level up. You choose how you turn out. The universe (in my case God) just sets the challenges to get to the next level.

Remember who you were, accept you are and keep growing to be the best you to walk this earth because there really is only one you.

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…