I lost my dad on September7th, 2006 at 8:35 pm. He was just 65.Had he lived, he would have been 66, this November 18th.What is shocking is that it was most unexpected.It was a day like any other day.It was a full moon night. Not that it matters but it is little details like these that come to the mind. Who knew what fate had in store?
Dad was so fit and so healthy. In fact that morning too he went for his usual three kilometer walk with my mom. Dad and mom are very health conscious and always maintain their weight. Both look much younger than their years and both never had any health problems like diabetes, a high blood pressure or a high cholesterol count which usually affects people their age.
That day, like all days, he spent the whole day at his office (he was the Secretary of a Trust which he’d established after retirement) and in the noon he had some visitors.Every Thursday they have a small prayer meeting, which they conduct and both dad and mom attended that as well.. They, then had their dinner and were both watching television, and were having a conversation. Dad was in his easy chair and mom was lying on the bed, next to him less than a distance of two feet separating them.They were having a conversation and suddenly Dad stopped talking. Mom wondered why he was not answering and when she turned to look at him, his eyes were closed and he was gone.It was that quick, that sudden and that unexpected.In fact both their flight tickets were booked for the September 28th, to come to the place where I live. Dad so badly wanted to come and visit me. He died of a cardiac arrest, which I am told is different from a heart attack. A cardiac arrest happens for no reason. A healthy heart simply stops working, like a clock stops working when its battery finishes.
Dad and I have always shared a very close relationship. Whatever I have achieved in Art is because of my dad. Dad had even preserved the paintings which I did when I was just 7 and has kept it so carefully. In fact I still have all the pictures that I painted right from the age of 7. .It made such a difference to me because whatever I did mattered in the eyes of my dad. Dad was always very optimistic, jovial, friendly and a cheerful person. The very large number of people, who came to the funeral alone, spoke volumes about him as a person. He had so many friends and so many people respected him, sought his advice or would come just to speak to him because they would feel better, after talking to him for a while.He had that magical ability to really listen to people and to give them confidence and hope.
Dad used to work for a large Oil corporation, which also figures in the fortune 500 list .He had retired five years ago as the Chief Area manager.I am so proud of my dad, not because of the official position that he held but because of the kind of person he was. Dad always believed in helping others and in fact after retirement had started a Trust and done a lot of Social work, to help the aged who are poor, abandoned or neglected. Dad used to also hold these English conversation classes to teach the village kids to speak English and it was free of cost. While I was visiting him once, I had accompanied him and conducted one of the sessions. Since I work with children and am very good with kids, the session I conducted was a big hit. Dad was so proud and wished I could do more. But I had to return, as my own two children’s school was re-opening after the vacation.
Somehow dad's death has made me, my brother and mom closer than ever before. It is amazing how much strength we get from each other. Not a day passes without dad on my mind. When I break down, it is almost like telepathy, my brother calls.Or when he is feeling down I seem to know instinctively and I call him. So too with my mom. She says I have this amazing telepathy and I seem to know exactly when she needs me and I invariably call when she is totally down.. After talking to me she feels so much better. It is the same with my brother. It has happened so many times, that now I can no longer dismiss it as coincidence. .I miss my dad like hell.. Some days the grief is unbearable.But what he has taught us always will remain. .I'm so proud that he is inside me and my brother-Confidence, self esteem, cheerfulness, willingness to help others, generosity, unselfish attitude, a spirit of adventure, zest, inquisitiveness, kindness, a love for nature and animals, positive outlook.. so many of dad's qualities are in me and my brother and I feel thankful for that.
In retrospect I am so glad that I had sent my children to my parents place during their vacation and Dad had really enjoyed the exclusive time that he spent with both my kids for two weeks. Later I too joined him and we stayed for a week more. .After returning I used to speak to my dad almost every day. Looking back I am so glad that I did that.
In the end it is only the memories you have left, which you take with you and which continue long after the person has gone. A big lesson which we all have learnt from my dad’s death is that life is so unpredictable and so short. So, one has to live like there is no tomorrow. Do what you want to do. Tell the people close to you how much they matter and how much you love them. Call your folks every day. Because there will come a day when you want to, but it may be too late.So do it NOW.
I do so want to speak to my dad.But there is nothing in this world that I can do to bring him back.