Now that he’s gone, I missed him

It was 23h45 when we received a call that my father had passed on. B asked how am I, I said I am okay, turned around and went back to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep after hearing that my father is no more. I was confused. I thought of my gran and my brother because they were the closest to him. I started thinking about when exactly should I go home. Maybe a day before the funeral? I wasn’t too sure.

The first person I called was my brother who didn’t answer his phone. Then I called my mother and we spoke for a while. I then called my cousin, my dad’s first niece who explained what really happened and that my brother found him.

I wept. I wept so hard at the thought that my father died alone. I wept at the thought of what my brother experienced. I wept knowing that the text message I sent him the night before, he never got to read it because by then, he was already gone. It was so painful and it hurt. Only then it hit me that I had lost my father.

B and I left immediately. I love long drives, but this time around, driving from Durban to home was the longest drive I didn’t look forward to. Every call I received from friends sending their condolences and asking what happened made me relive the thought of how my dad died and that he is really gone. I wanted to get home and see my mom, brother, sister and mostly my grandmother.

For the first time, I saw my grandmother cry and so broken. She kept saying that my father was like a king to her. I realised why they were so inseparable. She loved my dad. I had seen everyone except my brother. When I did see him, he opened up and shared with detail, what really happened.

My father had a heart attack. He was not a sickly person. He woke up on a beautiful Tuesday to get on with his daily routine and he just had a heart attack and died. A week before he had been to the doctor because of short breath. He was given medication which was working. Granny was with him the Sunday and he was fine, he was not sick and he had stopped having short breaths. Then Tuesday came and he died. Left all of us questioning what really happened.

My dad and I were not that close. I loved him, honoured and respected him. I remember on my wedding day. I was upstairs looking down and saw him rushing in the door like a proud dad who will be walking his daughter down the aisle in a few minutes. I remember that evening, he told B that he has all his blessings and a week later, he sent my father in law a text message that read “Take care of my daughter, you are a man of honour and I know he is in the right hands with you.”

Preps of the funeral in love with my mother all over again. She became his wife all over again and ran around with funeral preps. B was amazing too. I didn’t have to do much. He did most. Everyone pulled in their own weight and were there for us.

As I sat next to my gran on the day of the funeral, she whispered; Weeping, a thought hit me, I hope my dad was saved and he is in a happy place with the Lord.
That was painful not knowing if he was saved or not. At home we are Christians but dad never went to church. He honoured God and respected God, but I didn’t know if he was saved. I am comforted by the scripture that says, you and your household will be saved. And I believe that I will see my dad in heaven one day.

The funeral continued and, it was hurting to listen to my cousin saying my dad was like a father to her. He knew her fears and saw him every day. It was more painful to hear my aunt say my father was like her husband. He did everything for her and took care of her children when she wasn’t around. And it made me realise how much I hate divorce. My father lived with my aunt and cousins, hence he was there for them and he even knew their fears and so forth. When he was absent in our lives, he was present in their lives. He was a present and active father to them, and played a husband role, yet to us he was absent. I blame no one but divorce.

Dad was the best father he knew how to be, he did his best and he surely didn’t fail at being a father to me. I didn’t visit my dad often, but I definitely miss his text messages. He didn’t call me every year for my birthday and it never bothered me, but this year I missed his call on my birthday.

I am glad I got a chance to honour him on my wedding. A chance to remind him every father’s day that he was the best father and I wouldn’t ask for another one. A chance to forgive him for the years he missed in my life. A chance to call him on his birthdays. A chance to receive birthday gifts from him. A chance to spend time with him, even though not so many words were shared when we were together, but it was always good to see him. A chance for him to be my father. And now that he’s gone, I miss him. I miss him so much and I believe I will see him again.

“I wept so hard at the thought that my father died alone.”

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