Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day 2014

My late father eight years later

Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad

It is almost 8 years since my father passed away in 2006.The pain of his loss may have lessened but his memories are still very fresh in my mind. In fact every time I confront some problem I remember him, trying to imagine how he would have handled it. 

When I was young my father was everything to me, he was my hero whom I admired and tried to imitate. As I grew older I realised he was not infallible but I began to appreciate more of his wisdom in managing his life and the family in the most difficult times. He was not formerly educated, did not have money or any positions of power but he had great wisdom that I did not realise then. He was very poor, did have a proper job, he did not have a proper house and hardly any money even for proper food and clothing. But somehow he gave me everything I needed to become what I am today. I still look up to him despite having risen far above him in social and financial status. Yes, a dad is someone you look up to however tall you grow.

 In fact looking at the past I realise that he did not lecture me on how to live but had showed the way to do so. I had actually watched him live a decent and morally righteous life and subtly adopted many of his values into my own life without realising.

One of the things that I learned from him was about the pain you experience when the children leave home for the very first time which has a profound effect on the children later. It was 10 years ago when I sent my own daughter, the eldest of my 3 children, to college. The pain was so terrible. It was no ordinary feeling when your child who was so dependent on you for 18 years leaves home for the first time to live all by herself. I can still remember the pain in her face as she kept crying as we left her. In fact my wife broke down and cried all the way back to Penang after we left her all alone in the college hostel. I tried my best to put up a brave front but deep inside I was terribly shaken and broken like never before. 

Can she manage everything all by herself? Will she be safe being all alone in a strange environment? Can she cope with the problems that will crop up from time to time? Will she be comfortable in the new abode? These were some of the doubts that ran through my mind on leaving her. As usual only time helped to heal the pain in my heart.

Then came the next separation when my eldest son too left home to pursue his studies overseas. The same emotions of sadness, fear and anxiety struck again which gave me sleepless nights. The only reassurance is that he is going for a good course and time will definitely heal all the pain that it causes. 

 My own experiences with the departure of my children brought to mind a similar situation forty one years ago when I was 20 years old, when my late father sent me to the university. It was an emotional and heart-breaking moment separating from him. 

I was very, very sad when he left me. I still remember the sad and agonising look on his face which made me cry. I did not really understand the magnitude of his pain then but now I appreciate what he must have gone through as he returned home alone by train after leaving me in the college. I understand now how difficult it must have been for him to put up a brave front in front of me.

 I knew the separation was temporary and was for a good cause but emotions are hard to control and only time could heal the pain and heartache. Now my father is not around anymore but the emotional scene of that first parting remains vividly in my mind, to remind me of his goodness.

That sad look on his face was enough to keep me focussed on the right path and doing the right things in my own life. That look of love was enough to make me grateful to him for the rest of my life. That agonising look on his face was enough for me to realise that there can be no other man who will love me and sacrifice more for me like him. I am convinced that anyone can be a father but only one special man can be a dad.

A dad in one of the greatest gifts one can have. His experiences are invaluable assets especially to his son and his wisdom no money can buy. He may have been just be a small part of our lives but the effects of that short stint leave a lasting impression in our lives. To those who have lost their fathers remember he is still very much alive in you, in everything you think and do.

As I grow older and stepped into my sixties I realise the profound effect of this special man in my life. He was no ordinary man who passed by in my life but one who has left a lasting and permanent footprints in my heart and mind. He may have died 8 years ago but I can still feel him living in me every day of my life.

Father I do not know where you and how you are but deep in me something tells me you are in a faraway place called heaven, happy in the company of God. Dad wherever you are I wish you a Happy Father’s Day on behalf of all at home. We will continue to miss you for what you were to all of us.

“A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed and has faith even when you fail”

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