I never could figure out how I was feeling after the death of my father. If I can be honest, I had no time to process it. He passed away at home within seconds of a heart attack caused by a bad fall. I was with him. We all were. Within seconds, it all changed. And it never hit me.
It happened late in the afternoon and I spent the remaining day receiving relatives and friends who had come to pay their last respects. I had no time to digest the fact that this would be the last night he was going to spend in his home with his family. Less than 24 hours after he passed away, the following morning I had fallen off a staircase and fractured my ankle. An hour after that when we were to leave for the cremation grounds for the last rites, I got locked in a bedroom and the locks got jammed. I was driven to the grounds in a frenzy after the door was opened somehow because my mum wished that I give my father his last rites. I am the only child and everyone respected my mother’s decision so they waited. They waited while I limped towards my duty.
When I did it, when I lit the fire, a wave of emotion washed over me. The final realisation. This was it. I hugged my uncle and cried. That was me crying, weeping for the first time in 24 hours knowing full well what was happening.
I have relived that moment in my head over and over again this past couple of weeks. That moment when I watched my papa go away. And although at the time I knew I had lost the most important man of my life, the enormity of the loss did not hit me till a few days ago.
It’s been four years since he is gone. And I blame myself that I did not accept death in its face value. I assumed it was a journey and people just left us in life to move onward in their respective journeys of life. As long as it was others, I was fine with believing this. Believing that death is the next great adventure.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Death is finality. There’s nothing that can be undone. The person is gone forever leaving behind a trail of memories and unfulfilled dreams.
What I would give for my father to be at my wedding or to play with his granddaughter! All these thoughts come to me now. 4 years after he is gone. Why? Because I always hoped against hope that I would see him someday. I know it’s stupid but maybe being stupid is justified in this case. Right in the aftermath of the passing away of my hero, I battled grief like no other. I tried to cry very little, especially when I was with mum. I decided to write an exam that was due in a month and I got immersed in studying. I also had a fractured ankle which led me to be distracted more often than not. Physical pain does that. It swerves you off your mental trauma. But that’s the thing with trauma. It returns with a vengeance and it piles up with time if it is not resolved. That’s what’s happened with me. I failed to grieve my father, his memory and that haunts me now. So instead of making me stronger, thinking about him breaks my heart. One piece at a time. And it shouldn’t. His memory is supposed to give me strength and here I am, broken because I cannot deal with emotions properly.
What are the chances that writing about this will make it better for me? Maybe it will, I’m gonna give it a go then. Here goes:
You went away too soon. We needed more time together. You deserved more time with your family, your wife, your brothers and your friends. You should have been here to be with your granddaughter, playing. You should have been here with your son-in-law, discussing taxes. The world is changing and you should have been here to see all that. But you are not and no, that’s not ok. I have been telling myself that it’s ok but it’s time to admit that it’s not. I have lived with the lie of being ok for months but not anymore. It’s not great for my existence that I lead myself to believe that now. So I am telling myself this. That you are gone now. Physically. But all those good and bad times are here to stay. So instead of hoping like a lunatic that I maybe can create new memories with you, let me just rewind and play all that has happened. This acceptance will take me long but I know it will happen. Help me through it please. I want nothing more than to be a happy soul whenever I think of you. If this works, I swear I’ll write to you more often. I love you Papa.