My father passed away on Tuesday 2nd May, in the morning. He was 93 and had been suffering from senile dementia since 2001. His condition had gradually deteriorated over the last year or so. In this last year, the number of times I have been able to have any kind of conversation with him can be counted on my fingers. All of us siblings watched in sorrow at seeing our brilliant father like this. At some point I came to terms with it and said a farewell to him because I realised the father I knew had left quite a while back.
When he started breathing difficulties, my mother called for me around on Monday night. When I heard his breathing it didn’t sound too good. My mother didn’t want him to be taken to the hospital. So, I sat by his bedside the whole night, holding his hand and massaging his chest, while my mother sat on the other side of him. Sometime during the night, while I watched him struggling for breath, I realised he was nearing his end. I just prayed for him to get release. I said my last farewell to him then. When he finally passed away at , I was relieved for him and really glad I that I had been able to be with him.
I was never a ‘daddy’s little girl’. It is my mother who I am close to. My dad was a constant, but distant figure in my life. I could never confide in him, or joke with him or even just chat with him. He was a workaholic I guess and most of the fun things we did as children was with my mother & other extended family. My dad was the one who helped with maths and science homework, or the one you discussed serious philosophical points or the political scenario with—things like that. We rarely saw the lighter side of him I think, though I do remember him taking my brother and me to a disco in
He was very liberated in many ways. But I guess he could never quite forget his upbringing. So he was more old-fashioned in his treatment of us daughters. He treated us as helpless frail creatures, which used to irritate me then. Much later, around 10 years ago maybe, I had a big argument with him and told him that it was insulting to us, his children, to be treated as though we were incapable of looking after ourselves. Yet now, I don’t feel any resentment. I think it’s been a long time since I stopped seeing my parents as gods and started loving them as fallible human beings, which makes everything so much easier to forgive. Also, seeing them old and frail, but trying hard to be independent, made me realise how much I love them, warts and all.
My father was fairly well known in
Goodbye Achach! I’ll miss you.