Father's Day, Without a Father

It’s Father's Day.

My first without my father.

In recent years, it was a habit to take my father out for a meal on this day, but this year, well...

Three weeks after he left, I penned down my thoughts on losing my father. Here it is, in memory of him today.


Tomes and Transition


At the time of writing, it has been exactly 3 weeks since he’s gone.

I am now a grieving daughter, one who keeps track of time via his death.

“It has been one week since he’s gone.”
“It has been two weeks since he’s gone.”
“It has been three weeks since he’s gone.”

In these 3 weeks, and most likely in the months to come as well, I feel as though I exist in two alternate states. One of me is aware of the passage of time as I attempt to return to normal life. The other is forever stuck in the last few days of my father’s life, a hellish loop.

The term “throwback Thursday” has now taken on new meaning to me. Once just a term I used sporadically on social media, each Thursday now figuratively and viciously throws me back to THAT particular Thursday... the day I witnessed my father’s gasping breathing become still and motionless, never to talk to me again. 

I have been taciturn all my life. This is something I have inherited from my father who often chose to keep quiet and forgive people no matter what they did (I have yet to inherit his spirit of easy forgiveness, though).

Another thing I inherited from him was love for the written word. He taught me how to love reading books, and this also led me to love writing. What I could not express verbally, I wrote articulately. 

As a child, my father often took me to bookstores. We would both spend hours looking for books to buy. I devoured Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, voraciously demanding for more. My father complied with my book habits, buying me tomes of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones, and etcetera. 

Love for stringing words together also made me choose to become a writer by trade. 

And yet. Though words comforted me all my life, words also temporarily abandoned me when my father left forever. 

In the week since he passed, thoughts often swirled around in my head, but they were as slippery as jellyfish. My thoughts swam away before I could grasp them. 

During the wake, I could not think deeply, could not fully comprehend the words I read, could not write precisely what I felt. I was a vacuous zombie going through the motions, running on lack of sleep and loss of appetite. I only felt an intense melancholy that even the written word could not comfort, with only one thought foremost in my mind:

“He’s not here anymore.”

Since then, my thoughts have gradually become more coherent again. The words that abandoned me during those days have now come back, allowing me to process my emotions in the way I best know how - writing. 

His passing left me with a wound that is now healing, bit by bit. A scab is now forming and covering the wound, though it is open still. With this wound I have sustained, a piece of me will always be missing. Upon my being is a concave hole, a large scar that will permanently remain. 

There are elements of my father in me, habits he had that I now take on. I am always planning to travel to another country. I still hoard books to read. I still love old music and musicals, from Carpenters to The Sound of Music.

Life is now thought of as “before” and “after”. Before with my father, and after without him. It is a painful, sudden transition. I did not begin 2018 thinking I would lose my father before the first quarter of the year ended. His illness visited swiftly, cruelly, mercilessly, but I take comfort in the fact that he did not suffer too long.

"To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin." - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)

My father was physically in my life for less than 3 decades of it, but his influence will carry on for the rest of my life. 

Thank you for being my father. Rest well where you are.


Happy Father's Day.