Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

When I was 2 years old, my dad died. It was sudden, it was shocking, it was totally unexpected. He was, after all, in the prime of his life, and nobody in their right mind would think that he would leave so soon. And everybody who knew him got the shock of their lives that day.

To this day, we never know what caused his death. Some say it was a heart attack, others say it was something else, but one thing was certain, he was fit as a fiddle hours before his passing. My sister the doctor remembered most events leading up to it and concluded from the massive headache he reportedly had, that it was brain aneurysm.

Even so, we can never be sure, but I suppose the posthumous diagnosis would provide closure to some of us.

As for me, I am indifferent to the whole thing. It is not as if I am uncaring, nor heartless, but realistically, I don’t remember my dad at all. If it wasn’t for the many pictures of him that we have all over the house, I wouldn’t even know what he looked like.

I was told that when my dad’s body was laid on the bed before being prepared for the burial I actually climbed up and lied next to him. I guess I must’ve been wondering why everyone was watching him sleep.

In the days following the funeral, I waited by the front gate in the evenings when he usually came home from work. This went on for weeks until I finally stopped waiting. I guess this was the time when I finally forgot all about him.

In the years that followed, I was always told by my family that we all love him and miss him and I echoed that sentiment whenever questions about him were asked of me.

Later, much later, when I was old enough to figure things out on my own, I realized that I did not miss him at all. How can you miss someone you can’t even remember? How can you love someone you never knew?

Perhaps I did love him as a 2 year old, but that feeling must’ve diminished when I eventually forgot about him. My family put the idea of me loving him and missing him in my head when I was a kid and it remained there for as long as I couldn’t figure things out on my own.

Growing up without a dad, but with 2 older sisters and 2 older brothers who doted on me, I never had the time to be jealous of my friends who had one. But when I was in school, I resented every assumption that people make about a kid without a father.

I remember once, back when I was in Standard 4, a few days before the Raya holidays, a teacher called me and a bunch of other students to the headmistress’ office. There, the HM gave duit raya to the students who have lost their fathers. It is customary for people to give duit raya especially to anak yatim, so I took it without a second thought. It was after all, just duit raya. Then back in the classroom, when my friends found out about it, they got all sympathetic and started giving me money. What’s up with that?

My pride was hurt, my ego bruised, I refused to take their money and I threw a bit of a tantrum if I remember correctly. It’s true my dad died, but that was years before, and we didn’t become a charity case upon his demise. In fact I think we were much better off than some of the kids who wanted to give me money. As if their 20 cents were going to make a difference!

I understand now that they meant well, but sometimes, such display of sympathy is insulting rather than welcomed. Nevertheless, I forgave them for their ignorance.

When I was in Form 1, my English teacher asked us to make cards for Father’s Day. Then, she told us to write our addresses on the envelope so she could mail it out to our dads. I wrote mine to *Batu 2, Tanah Merah, Jalan Masjid, (Poskod and Town). The teacher never knew where the card was sent, or not.

To this day, I don’t really know what fathers should be like as I have no frame of reference to it at all. I see my 2 brothers having different styles and approaches in dealing with their kids, but I know that they’re both good fathers in their own respective ways.

My mum did everything for me. She wasn’t perfect, but she did everything she could to raise her kids. And I think she did a good job considering we all turned up decent (At least, I think I did!).

People always say that you can’t miss what you never had. Well, I did have a dad for the first 2 years, so I suppose I did miss him for a while, but after he was gone, I moved on and I missed him no more.

As for loving him, I cannot say for sure that I do. But if there is someone whom I can love even without knowing or remembering, then that someone must be him. For I’m sure, had he lived, he would’ve loved me no matter what.

Happy Father’s Day dad, wherever you are.


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* Batu 2 refers to the 2 stones at a muslim grave.

21 comments:

Hjh Esah Jolie said...

speechless.......

Typhoon Sue said...

cat got your tongue mak aji?
:)

Hjh Esah Jolie said...

hey..sensitive cakap pasal kucing ni....(i ni kan SPCA wanted list)

zhmi said...

Hi Sue,

This is the first time I'm posting a comment here although I've been an avid reader of your blog.

Like you, I am also fatherless. I lost my father in January 2002. But metaphorically speaking, I lost him much earlier i.e. once he took a second wife. Of all people, he had to fall for a woman of dubious reputation. I wondered then (as I sometimes do now),"What could he possibly see in her?"

He married her anyhow and became her 4th husband. We then became estranged from each other. Alhamdulillah, I managed to reconcile with my father a couple of years before he passed away. I think he knew I had to side with my mom because I loved her more, not because I loved him less.

Al-Fatihah.

J.T. said...

You cannot miss someone who you did not know personally. And I believe that, Sue.

Happy Father's Day to your dad, wherever he is... and to your mum, who took on the role as a father too. I know she did a great job. You are a beautiful person. :)

Manal said...

You have grown up with full of love. I admire ur sense of humour, the way u took things in a sensible way even when u were in ur form 1.

He must be all smiling looking at you from heaven ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,

I had gone thru' what you described but like zhmi said I loved my Mum more than my Father. I still miss him but not as much as miss my Mum. Still can remember his advice and how annoyed he was if I did badly in school. Or when my Mum passed away in 1994, he was very sad and wished that he was the one who died instead of my Mum. He passed away in 1998.

Have been an avid reader of your blog though never written or have a blog of my own. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

elviza said...

My friend Sue,

*Hugs Hugs Hugs*

Another time -

*Bear hugs, bear hugs, bear hugs*

I feel you my friend, however you try to put it in your blog.

I lost ayah seven years ago. He was terminally ill. I still dont like to talk about it because it hurts so bad. Sigh

Take care

Typhoon Sue said...

Mak aji:
Hehehe. Itulah!! Dera kucing lagi.. kang dah sensitip tak buleh sebut pasal kucing langsung!

Zhmi:
Thanks for visiting.
It’s good that you and your dad reconciled in the end. Otherwise you may feel a sense of regret somehow, even if you didn’t do anything wrong.

JT:
Thanks Jacqui. Happy Father’s Day to your dad too.

Manal:
By then, I’ve made it a habit to just play along with the teacher or anyone else like her. It beats the alternative of telling her that my dad died, and have her look at me with pity in her eyes --I don’t know why people do that, it’s so bloody annoying! Worse, I actually feared another donation drive coming if I were to tell her.

Anonymous:
Thanks for visiting.
If both parents are good parents and were always there for you, there’s no reason to love one parent more than the other. Perhaps, you just had a stronger bond with your mom, which is why you miss her more. Like zhmi said, not that you love him any less.

But then again, what do I know? :)

Elviza:
Thanks for the hugs.
What do you mean ‘try’? (I’m a bit peeved here, tho’ I’m not quite sure why… :)..)
I’m not trying to say anything more than what I’ve already said. It’s just the way I like it, not mushy, not sappy, not cheesy, just facts and straight from the heart.

Yeah, I guess losing a parent whom you know and love is a lot harder than never having one or not remembering one at all.

Typhoon Sue said...

oppps... elviza, was i overly sensitive up there? sorry.

Anonymous said...

Awang Kelana

Dear Sue,
am speechless too....take care

papadom_ullalla said...

hehe a bit touchy today huh? that time of the month ke?
(adoi!!! jgn pukul!!)
why so many anonymous people coming forward ni?
great post as always dear.

Typhoon Sue said...

awang kelana:
why speechless? mak aji pun kata speechless gak, apasal ha?

mr. papadom:
*smacks Mr Papadom's big head*
KAPOWW!!!!
ko ni memang!!!

elviza said...

Dearest Sue,

No, I am not inclining anything. And I dont think you are being over sensitive too. It,s so typical of my kepochi self to equate my personal pain to someone else. Hish! What are you talking about Elviza??? Ok I stop now.


By the way Sue, this awang kelana commenter sounds like someone we both know. I might be wrong. Entahlah.

kimster said...

excellent blog entry.
I better not say much. Sometimes it's best that we all deal with our sorrows in private and utter silence.

Typhoon Sue said...

elviza:
forget about it! must be a miscommunication there somehow, although I'm not quite sure what.

who is this awang kelana?

Typhoon Sue said...

kimster:
thanks bro.
by the way, your entry on the same subject, tho a simple one-liner, is utterly sweet and poignant that I couldn't find words to comment there.

pugly said...

I'm sure you don't want to hear another `I'm so sorry about your Dad' line, so I'm not gonna :-)

If your Dad were still alive, I'm sure he would have loved you no matter what, & vice-versa. The good thing is, you didn't know him long enough to register the memories of him in your mind, so you tend not to miss him that much. The pain of longing for someone who isn't there anymore can be quite difficult to bear, especially at a young age.

BTW, your mother is one helluva superwoman to have raised 5 children single-handedly. And to have all of her children turn out so well, too :-)

Typhoon Sue said...

:)

yeah, that's what i'd like to think, that he would love me warts and all. but the truth is, i got TOO much warts and all for anyone to love! hahaha

as for my mum, yes she is a superwoman i reckon. what i love most about it is that despite being widowed at 35, and having so many suitors knocking at her door, my mum never once considered remarrying. For that, I'm very thankful.

NJ said...

Dear Sue,

Another great post, as always. I am sure your dad is very proud of you. AlFatihah to him.

As for your mum, she is a real steele magnolia.

Take care dear.

Typhoon Sue said...

Thanks NJ. I hope I'm worthy of anyone feeling proud of me.

Yea, mum's a tough one.

You take care too ok.