Looking back now, these are the things I wish I told my dad before he passed away.
I regularly come across curated posts about fathers by their children on social media. These are posts that are seasoned with love and sprinkled with affection. As someone who lost their dad almost six years ago, I sometimes find myself reflecting upon things I wish I told him. Actions, reactions, conversations, observations and expressions that might not have been verbalised cross my mind all too often. These are some of the things I wish I told my dad:
“I appreciate you”
I realise that gratitude towards those that make life more accommodating is a thoughtful and valued gesture. Though my dad fell within this category, I failed to verbalise my appreciation for him – and I now know he would’ve liked to hear it.
“Thank you for inspiring me to helping others”
My dad was well known for helping others without expecting anything in return. He often said that he did it because it made him feel good inside and it was something I observed him do often. If he received a phone call he would quickly rush over to help or stay on the phone until an issue was resolved. He didn’t always speak about it, nor did he expect recognition for all that he did.
“I saw you put the watch under my pillow and it meant a lot”
When it was Eid, my dad would buy us cards and fill them with our favorite chocolates and place them under our pillows to surprise us.
On one occasion though, I saw him put a black and purple watch on my wrist as I slept. I woke up ecstatic over the gift but he pretended it had magically appeared out of nowhere. Looking back now, I wish I told him that his small gestures truly meant a lot to me and created moments and memories of sporadic happiness.
“It means a lot that you gave me unconditional support”
Whether it was a cross country or track meet, my dad was there in his van to offer his support. If it was the morning of an important exam, he was ready with his keys to drive me to class. When it was graduation, my dad prepared his loudest cheer and did not hesitate to release his excitement in public. I wish I told him that these moments meant a lot and gave even more value to anything I achieved.
“You always did things correctly from the start”
I remember watching my dad sweep the kitchen – something he often did since he started working from home. He would start from the beginning of the kitchen and pay particular attention to each particle on the ground, making sure he didn’t miss anything along the way. The kitchen floor looked spotless as a result, and his look of satisfaction after finishing it was always unforgettable. He was dedicated to doing things right from start to finish – a lesson he implanted in me without uttering a word.
“Thank you for eating the pasta I made too often”
As a college student, I made pasta with Ragu a little way too often – maybe once or twice a week, sometimes even more. Since it was often the both of us at home during lunch, I would always serve him some and yet he never complained. Even when I offered him seconds, my dad would gladly lap it up. Now that I think about it, it was never about the pasta and all about accepting his daughter’s home cooked meal.
“You being an early bird was the reason the household felt so bright”
My dad would wake up at 5am every single day of the week to start his day. If he didn’t do so, it would be completely out of character. His signature tuna salad or donuts would lay on the kitchen table. Whenever anyone woke up at home, they would be met by his cheery good morning and a keen conversation. It’s safe to say, his early morning vibes were the biggest source of inspiration at home.
“You’re right, there is no ‘I’ in team, but there is ‘we’”
For my dad, it was all about ‘we’. How do ‘we’ get through this bad grade? What can ‘we’ do to feel better? ‘We’ did it! ‘We’ will get through this. ‘We’ passed the exam! My dad taught me all trials and achievement are a team effort – a lesson I still hold dear to my heart.
“Thank you for always believing in me”
I knew my dad believed in me, but I didn’t realise how much until after he passed. A void now stands in place of his motivation and wisdom. Picking myself up after his death took a lot of mental, emotional and physical effort but memories help me gain strength on a daily basis. My dad always said I write beautifully, and because of him I continue to write. I now realise my dad’s unwavering faith was a seed planted during his life, and which now continues to blossom even after his demise.
Remember, if your dad is still here, take a moment to tell him all the things you’ve kept to yourself.