The Pain That Never Heals

The first picture I stuck on my wall of my university dormitory was not a picture of a famous superstar, it was not a picture of my boyfriend or even a love interest. It was an image of my handsome father staring straight into the camera as the photographer took his picture  during my sister’s wedding day. I remember waking up the next morning with a smile and the first thing I did was to reach for my phone and call home. His voice would always have the power to comfort me during my feelings of homesickness. Now though I can no longer remember the sound of his voice. With every problem I had from primary school break-ups to relationships, he was there. Always able to draw wisdom. What scares me the most now is no longer hearing that wisdom and those much sought after answers to my never-ending questions. My fear is having to go it alone.

Metaphorically there is a club. The dead father’s club. It’s an exclusive club. No one is given membership until they have experienced the loss. I wasn’t aware of this club until recently. I had dinner with a friend, a friend I once worked with and with whom I once shared many a Friday morning chat over coffee. On a Friday night over a glass of Rose and dinner we shared tears,  our regrets and heartbreak. I found out I was not the only one who still talked to their father, who still sought his advice. Of course, most girls think their father is the best in the world, but believe me when I say that mine truly was.

He was more than a father to me, he was like a brother and my best friend. We would catch one another’s eyes at a family gathering and would know instantly how the other was feeling. After seven years, I still think he will be on the other end of the phone, he will still be behind the door as I turn the key. I still look for him, expecting to hear his footsteps, his voice, his whistling, the sound of his fingers running through his moustache as he listens to music.

I long to stand before him and share my life again much more than going to the cemetery to lay down a card and a few flowers. Driving down to my mother’s house for Father’s Day I had to remind myself that he will not be there. As I had to forcibly remind myself, ahead of me across the sky was the most beautiful rainbow. There are still days that I am so convinced that I see him in the street. I sometimes do a double take and once more feel the shattering blow when I remember. There are times when I feel lonely I see a beautiful white feather beside me or when I am sharing news with loved ones and feel his absence a white feather would flutter by the window. The pain is not all that bad, I see it more as a beautiful reminder of how much he was and still is loved.

I would give anything to have one more day with him, to hear his footsteps, his voice, his whistling, the sound of his fingers running through his moustache as he listens to music. Growing up I thought he would live forever and even as he became ill I thought my Papa was invincible. It amazed me that although my world revolved around him, when he left my world still turned.  The pain never heals. Time does not heal old wounds, it just masks it. Masks it until a word, a song, a smell brings the pain to the fore once more.

So to the first man I ever loved. To the man who taught me what a husband is. To the man who taught me what a father is….

… Happy Father’s Day, Papa.


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