My Dad and I

Carmen D. Lade

My memories are a blur. A lot of feelings go through me as I try to recall the past, yours and mine. I feel like I’ve lived a thousand years, too many memories, some fleeting and some lasting. I wish I had software that will help my brain recollect the good memories and isolate the bad ones from our past. They say every father is his son’s first hero. Father, I am thirty eight years old now and I know you were one to me and still are, not in the same way your ten year old grandson thinks of me but differently, in my own way.

I had a lot of questions to ask you but all the questions I wanted answers to and the ones I prepared seems to have disappeared somewhere, lost in the ocean of thoughts. I wanted to ask you father, when I was born and when they first put me in your arms to hold, did you look at me the same way I looked at my son, your grandson, when he was born? Did you feel the same way I felt, when I looked at my son for the first time and my breath left me for a moment? Did you see your flesh and blood in me and thank the creator that he has given me to you? Did you worry with trepidation that something might happen to me and wonder what life will teach me and give me? Will the world be fair to me and if not, will I be man enough to survive and fight against all odds? I think you might have father, for I know I did when I first saw my son.

You gave me everything father, my looks, my strength, my intelligence and I am sure there must have been something of you in me in every stage of my life. I think the same way too, when I look at my son and see the similarities in almost everything he does. Did you secretly gloat over this fact, as I do now looking at my son? I remember when I was growing up and in my teens, I wanted to ask questions to you but I was scared to ask. A lot of questions I wanted answers to but you were never there. Did it scare you father that I was at an age when, my questions would embarrass you and make you feel incomplete or was it that you felt, there was a time and place when I could rightfully ask those questions? You were there for me the entire time father but I never knew. In my youth, when I sought solace in company of people who I thought gave me answers and the means I employed to find the answers, through drugs, through drinking and the opposite sex, you were there father, you never gave up. When all your friends, peers and relatives talked behind you or in front of you about the kind of wastrel your son was, you took it all in father, you never gave up on me. Did you think father, that your son was a lot better than what others think and decided to see only my good points and turned blind for my sake or did you want to cry out to me and tell me to stop, as it was hurting you? Did you feel the same pain in your heart I feel now, just wondering if my son will follow the same path I did? I remember you wishing me well and sending me off to marry the girl I loved, even though it was my choice and you had no part in it. Did it scare you father, that your son had someone else to ask his questions to or did it secretly make you happy that your son had become a man?

I have never seen you cry father. Even when your other son, my brother, left us rather abruptly, you cried but not like someone who has lost his hope or will. Your cry was desolate but it never showed your weakness. Did you keep your sorrow inside and bear the burden of his departure for us? Even when they cut open your heart once and your brain another time on the operating table, you came out strong and you never cried once. Didn’t you feel the physical pain father, or did you hide this too, not wanting us to feel your pain?

I see you now father, helpless like an infant. You depend on us for your daily duties and have forgotten to perform even your personal chores. Your memory seems to have left you but you seem happy father. I can spot that tinkle in your eyes, that little smile in the corner of your mouth. Are you at peace with the world father, like an enlightened soul or like a little child? Have you got your answers father, or do you want to ask them to me now? Doctors say you have Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that takes your memory away from you, your past, your happiness, your sorrows and your life itself? Are you finally happy that you found the answers and willed yourself to be in this state of bliss or do you want to cry out for help? The doctors say that this disease is not curable and is irreversible. But I won’t give up father; I will never give up on you because you never gave up on me. I am waiting for the day when you will come back and answer my questions. And then, shall we rewind and go back into the past and correct all mistakes we’ve made? Will you answer all of my questions this time father? Or do you want this state to prolong where I can answer all your questions and be your father instead and protect you from this world? Can I ask you a last question, will you be my ‘DADDY’ again, father?

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