From the world that I come from, it’s a big deal to see a man cry. It’s considered to be a major sign of weakness. It was a social stigma! A man was always expected to be in control, be the head of his family, be the one that needed to stand strong against every adversary of life and I didn’t quite realize these expectations until it was my time to deliver.
Now, while growing up, almost everything I learned about being a man, was from my dad and as I grew older, stronger and taller, I noticed how he kept making room for me to spread my wings and learn to fly. No matter what the worlds impression was about him, to me, he is always my hero.
I frequently enjoy reminiscing the fun times between my dad and myself. Apart from our silly conversations, I fondly remember my younger years, I enjoyed him carrying me in his arms or on his shoulders and stroll far distances, telling me a lot of different stories which undoubtedly got my attention. He did all of this, just because he knew it made me happy.
I feel terrible when I think about how shallow I used to be, for not really recognizing or probably taking to long to finally realize the millions of things he did, to show me how much he loved and cared for me.
When I was a young adult and was contemplating on moving out of home and giving solo living a shot. Though in my country, moving out from your parents home is usually frowned upon. As I expected, no one was happy nor supportive and to no surprise, he wasn’t either. More than being angry, he was disappointed and hurt about me wanting to leave home! I recall how he requested me not to leave, he asked me to give it some more thought and obviously more time. It wasn’t his words that made the difference, it was the emotion in his tear filled eyes that said a million unspoken words. It was at that moment, I realized what I meant to him. I saw his genuine unconditional love towards me.
How could I have said “No” and moved on with life, knowing that the person who held my hands and kept me from stumbling for all this while, just needs to hold on a little longer. Probably he just needed some more time to let it soak in. Nevertheless, for me, that moment was priceless, my relationship with my dad developed a new avenue. I felt a new found connection. We didn’t need to speak as much to understand what our hearts felt and this was a whole new experience in itself.
Knowing him, he wasn’t a man who knew too much about wealth, but he had enough to share about the riches of life. He taught me how to love. He taught me how to try harder when life gets tough. He made me understand that not all battles need to be won by winning, it was okay to lose sometimes if the person meant more. He taught me how to hold myself together, especially when I see my world falling apart, he taught me to fight for the things I love and not to spend to much time dwelling on things that didn’t. Though I would always look up to him and aspire to be like him, he reasoned with me to be the best version of me. Most importantly he showed me, that it’s okay to cry and be vulnerable with the ones you love and this did not make him seem any less of a man that he needed to be.
I will never forget the last time we spoke, it was in the morning of my thirty fifth birthday. I was out of the country. It was hard not to notice how excited he was when we saw me saw each other on our video call. Little did I know that, that was going to be the last time I we said good bye.
A few days later, I was informed about his untimely and expected passing away… Devastated!! Shattered!! I wasn’t there with him in his last hours, when he probably needed me the most. Well, that’s a thought that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Today, as I watch my little girl grow and with each new stage of her life she is experiencing.. I wish he was here, to watch her grow and help me be develop into that dad, that he was to me.
Dad, though you’re not here by our side, you will always be on our mind and in our hearts. Love you always.