How to remember Dad when he’s no longer with us…
This is the first Father’s Day without Dad for myself and my family this year. For those of you who still have your fathers with you, please cherish this Father’s Day with them.
My Dad died a week before Christmas last year. It was very sudden. While in the garden about 6 pm that day, he fell down and hurt himself. Not badly but when you’re in your eighties, any fall could be trouble.
He was still fit for his 83 years and able to drive. Mostly around the local area to go to the supermarket, to go out for breakfast and for his partner to get a few things to cook for lunch or dinner.
Dad complained of back pains after the fall. His partner used some Chinese medicated liniment to massage it but Dad was stubborn. He didn’t want to trouble the good doctor at night. By the time I heard about it, it was dinner time and he was resting after dinner. He didn’t eat much. I decided to let him rest. I thought that I would have time to call him the next day to check how he was feeling.
I woke up the next morning to find many missed calls on my phone and messages on WhatsApp. Shortly after 2 am, my Dad had a turn for the worse and died.
It was such a shock!
“How did it happen?” I asked myself repeatedly.
I blamed myself for not calling and talking to him the previous evening. I missed my chance to talk to my dad for the last time.
I was in Sydney at that time and had to book a flight in a hurry to go back to Malaysia for Dad’s funeral. 2018 had been a tough year and I didn’t have any extra money. I had visited Dad the previous year, knowing that it may be the last time that I would see him alive.
A relative was very kind when he heard about my trouble and paid for my airfare. I jumped on the plane that afternoon with only a backpack. I can’t tell you how stressful it was trying to organise things before I left.
My dad used to scold me for bringing too much luggage. He advised me to travel light. It was ironic that I should be travelling light to come back for his funeral. Dad also used to pick me up from the airport.
This time, I looked for him but he wasn’t there.
Too shocked to even cry much, I had to put on a brave face and not embarrass myself on the plane, by bawling my eyes out.
Have you been in any situation like this, when you felt that you had to be in control and not be emotional?
People deal with grief in different ways. Some will cry openly. Others will joke and laugh as if it was a normal day. That could be their way of coping with the loss.
Today on Father’s Day 2019 in Australia, I am remembering my father with a coffee, some Chinese cookies and some chocolate. The black coffee is for Dad.
My dad used to tell me many stories about his life. We would sit at home and talk. Sometimes Dad would scold me. We didn’t always agree but still it was important to see him. Some of his stories made me laugh. He liked to make people laugh and forget their troubles for a while. One of the things that I got from Dad is storytelling and writing.
The joss sticks I used to pray for Dad at home. Later I will go to Kwan Yin’s temple to pray for him. Dad had a Buddhist funeral and he was cremated. His ashes were taken out to sea. RIP Dad, I will always love you and miss you.
How about you?
If you have also lost your father and he is no longer with you, how would you spend the day? If you live in the US or UK, you may have celebrated Father’s Day in June instead of September.
Would you have a remembrance ritual like mine?
This is the Buddhist way to invite the deceased’s spirit home for a meal. Perhaps you would have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner. If he liked a Sunday roast meal, perhaps you would have that today and raise your glass to toast the memory of your loved one.
They are gone in body but they live on in the spirit. They still live on as long as we remember them. With much love.
Happy Father’s Day.
Thanks for reading, clapping, commenting and following me.
I write on #LinkedIn about #mentalhealth #blockchain #AI #robots. The #futureofwork is a national & global emergency! Please check my #futureproof jobs series where I explore new mindsets, trends & new jobs/industries. Can we save our jobs? It won’t be easy; best to start early.