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How I Choose To Remember My Father

June 17, 2010

My father is no more. During the time leading up to his death, I had time to digest these words, allow them to reverberate in my head – ‘My father is no more’ – in a seemingly futile effort to soften the blow, to prepare myself for what was no longer the inevitable but the premature.

But death isn’t the servant of time that we all are.

For three weeks leading up to the end, my mother, sister and I woke up everyday expecting it to be appa’s last day, watching him writhe in pain as the cancer spread and as his body began to slowly and irreversibly shutdown. It would be easy to purge the memories of this period as too traumatic an experience worth remembering, even temporarily for the purpose of writing a tribute to him and certainly not when the passing is too recent: to watch hopelessly as he drowned in the river that separates consciousness and unconsciousness, between life and death itself, is not something that anyone can ever prepare for. My father, though, never liked the easy and the straightforward – there’d be little chance to learn from it all, he would tell himself.

I choose, then, not solemn reminiscing of his life as I have experienced it first hand for over two decades but to celebrate those three weeks when, despite being bed-ridden and unable to talk most of the time, his ideals, his dignity, his capacity for benevolence shone through: a final chance to learn those unspoken lessons from him.

I will end this tribute with a selection of verse. From two very different parts of the world and written in vastly different times, the verses bond in their subtle welcoming, even celebration, of death and insinuation that the dead are in a better place than we are.

For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.

Bhagavad Gita

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

One Comment leave one →
  1. B'Face permalink
    September 3, 2010 3:06 am

    Absolutely beautifully written, and what a wonderful sentiment.

    Hugs 🙂

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