Its been a year and a half since I bid you the final goodbye. According to your favorite subject mathematics, its been only 13,140 hours but for me, it feels like an eternity.
I still wake up every morning with a hope that it’s just a nightmare and when I’ll open my eyes you’ll be standing right in front of me. But sadly, I always get up to the ugly reality that you are gone. And, that too forever.
Throughout my life, I used to find the Bollywood cliché of dying people becoming stars stupid. But, now I yearn for it to be true. I yearn for nights. Because that’s the only time when I meet you, Dad. I spot the brightest star in the sky and I know it’s you. You are looking at me and telling me things will get better soon.
I remember when I was a kid and grandma died, you wiped off my tears and told me we grieve for ourselves because the person who left us is already in a better place. And, like all the other things, you were absolutely right about it. For 5 years, I watched you struggle with the horrific pain of losing someone you love. I prayed and pleaded with God to heal you to make you the happy and bubbly person you were when you helped me learn how to ride a bike.
But after some time, I was so angry with the God because he wasn’t answering any of my prayers.
Rather he was making life more difficult for you with every passing day. The man who taught me how to take my first steps couldn’t take a single step on his own. The man who taught me how to cook the best Rajma Chawal, couldn’t swallow a bite anymore. It seemed like God was doling out punishment to a man who had done nothing but good in his entire life. I couldn’t forgive God for treating you like this.
Dad, you fought so bravely and I am so proud of you. But, when you got tired of your struggle and left us alone, your daughter was not even half brave as you were. Losing you brought the grief that became so devastating and suffocating, that on various occasions I feel dead.
Some days are tougher than the rest.
Especially on father’s day or on your birthday, my heart feels so heavy with pain, that life seems to be unbearable. I used to feel so safe and carefree when you were around. No matter whatever issue was at work or home, I knew even if nobody could solve it, my superhero definitely will. Dad, you were the only superhero in my life and no one can ever come close. But now with my superhero moving to a different world, I’m left all alone to figure out my stuff.
For my entire existence, I have been your little girl. Even when I got married, I knew my husband could never match up to you. I lived 50 years of being a Daddy’s girl, 50 years of feeling safe, 50 years of pure love and now everything is gone.
But Dad do you know what is the toughest thing?
When one is in pain, and yet needs to comfort someone in even greater pain.
Watching Mom without you is hard but you know what is harder? Watching her mourn for her unbearable loss. There are times when I hear sounds of her cracking down. She took care of you for so many days so selflessly.
During the last few tough years, she stood by you like a rock. How can anyone forget the way your eyes used to light up with hope and love whenever you would see Mom?
Its been a year and a half, but she is still coping with your loss. Sometimes she comes back home and calls for your name, without realizing that you are gone. I guess old habits are difficult to break.
And when you know you have to handle everything alone…
The relatives, whom you helped by going out of your way, never came back to provide any support to mom or to our family. Rather than offering us support, they tried hard to destroy your business and take away your hard-earned money.
I wanted to fight against each one of them but I realized how you used to talk about your the most important life strategy. Spend energy to raise yourself up rather than to destroy others. So, mom and I might not you but we have your teachings and blessings with us to sail through this tough time.
You have prepared me well to handle this grief. And, I know I am not alone…
One thing I’ve experienced is that even now you’re with us. I know you are always with me to guide me through, by giving me signs that I just need to pay attention to. During the last 1.5 years, you have given me multiple signs that you are watching over me and trying to find ways to comfort me.
On your birthday when I wrapped myself in the sheet and my mascara was all spread on my face because of endless crying, Alexa started playing “Yuhin Kat Jayega Ka Safar Sath Chalne Se” – your favorite song for all the tough situations. I know it was you telling me – enough of sulking and crying my brave girl, dad wants to see you fighting like a warrior!
Whenever I see a person selling red roses in the traffic, I know it is you sending me love from above and telling me that life is still beautiful. I do what you used to do, buy 10 roses and give it to the small kids in the nearby slum. I also buy 1 extra rose and keep it next to your frame, hoping that you can smell it and remember all the good times you had with your family.
Dad, you have shown me what true heroes are made of.
You have always loved life even when it was painful and terrifying. And, you never gave up. You always made me learn how to step up the game when life dealt you a bad hand.
And, as I sat and held your hand through the last few years of pain and suffering, I saw a hero. I saw a man who kept him upbeat where even the ugliest phase of life couldn’t beat his spirit.
And, finally, you made me learn how precious life is.
The frail face of yours might be the last memories that I have of you but that’s not the only one. I will carry the pain and suffering in my heart, but I still carry the hope and the positive attitude that you have instilled in me! I’ll never forget what you told me when my first boyfriend had cheated on me: “Keep your face to the sunshine, and this dark shadow of your bad times will wither away”
I miss my superhero on every occasion and I will continue to do so.
Even though I can no longer hear your voice, I will still miss my superhero. But, I know he’s still with me, in my laughter, my smile, my tears and in my writing. He is the only one who will always be rooting for me and for my victories, no matter what.
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