‘My daddy’s strongest’: Every time I said those three words, I believed it. My daddy was the strongest man I had every known: my partner in crime, my best friend and when time permitted he did play the daddy role. There are two types of daughters: the ones that are daddy’s little girls and the ones that are obsessed with daddy. I was the third kind- I wanted to be just like him and I was obsessed with him. So at 12, when I sat there staring at death steal my dad away from me, it felt like someone was snatching the core of my existence away from me. When the doctor said ‘he was no more’, I tried to comprehend what it meant. He was right there and yet he wasn’t!
I don’t think I have moved on. Seventeen years later, I still feel like that child trying to comprehend the moment in front of me. I have heard ‘time is the best healer, it will get better’. The hard truth is it never gets better nor does time heal anything. You learn to live with it. I learned to live with it. The strangest thing about death is suddenly I realized how lonely I was. I could be in a crowd, at a party- yet there is an inexplicable loneliness I feel at every juncture. Again I learned to live with that monster inside of me as well. I carry him around and somehow Mr. Loneliness has become my pal, and I mask it with my shyness.
I have been the patient in surgery and I have been the person waiting for my loved one in surgery. If given a choice, I would choose to be the patient. When I was waiting for my loved one to be out of the surgery, it is almost like you are being operated on without anesthesia. Death felt exactly like that to me. My dad had the anesthesia, while I felt every tremble, and every jolt. My dad has this poem he recited to me as a child when I was sick. It gave me strength through all my battles. It went like this:
“Without Daddy there was no daughter,
Without daughter there is no daddy”
To this day, when I think of my dad I remember these lines he used to tell me. Through childhood flus, cold, sickness, hurt those lines have given me a lot of strength. It made me believe my dad was always with me.
Death changed my life forever. In pop culture, every life changing moment is giving a one-letter word- sometimes a four letter too, but we are talking PG13. Marriage is called ‘M word’, love is called the ‘L word’, cancer is the ‘C word’ etc. I pronounce death the ‘D word’. Every life altering moment gives a person a chance to fight, death doesn’t. It comes and conquers- changing life forever. It should be rightly termed the ‘F word’.
I sit at home on this fall morning thinking back to the moment that changed it all. I feel his essence and his warmth each day, I see him in my smile each day. To say I love him is an understatement- I would never be me if he were not a part of my life. A part of me might have died with him that fall morning, but I will survive. Through all that life has to offer, I know I can live through it because my daddy lives through me.