I usually write about light and fluffy things but sometimes I just need to get stuff out so the following post is a bit personal. For some reason, it all feels anonymous when I write something up here instead of having to talk about it with someone so feel free to skip this. Seriously, a-okay. You can return with my next post about cartoons (I’m not kidding, I’m pretty sure that’s what my next post will be about). If you’re related to me (siblings/cousins), best not to read it either.
A few days ago, I called up one of best friends wishing her a happy anniversary. It was her fourth. I remember her wedding day, giving the speech on the stage in front of 600 or so people trying to keep it cool and cracking jokes. Truth was though, I was barely holding it together. Because while I was standing there, my dad was home, lying in bed and in his last days. He had been sick for a few months at that time and we all knew he didn’t have too much longer.
The holidays bring up memories of those days and spending time in the hospital during the beginning of the end, a few days after my friend’s wedding, when my dad’s body was basically shutting itself down. We would switch off reading Surah Yasin (a specific chapter from the Qur’an), stroking his head, holding his hand, hoping somehow he knew that we were always sitting right there at his side. All that lasted until he passed away in early January 2007.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about those last days and I can’t seem to shake it. I still wish that I had a better relationship with my dad. It wasn’t bad just… not as good as it could have been, not as good as I could have made it. I wish we talked more about his past, about leaving India and growing up in post-partition Pakistan, going to college in the ’60s in California, and about anything else. Since he used to take tons of pictures, I wonder what he would think about the picture I took that I got mounted and is now hanging on my wall. I wonder what he would think about my job and that after years of saying that I need to get into a certain industry, I accidentally fell right into it. I wonder what he would think about my coffee, um, obsession.
I realize I shouldn’t dwell on all of this but it has a way of just coming up. When January 3rd rolls around, I’ll treat it as just another day though. I don’t want it to be about the anniversary of the day my dad passed away. Because honestly it’s not like that’s the only day of the year I happen to think about him.
By the way, I want to be clear – I don’t still “mourn” my dad. I think about him from time to time, I can’t help it, and I hope people understand the difference. If you’re not Muslim, you probably won’t understand my need to make that statement and that’s fine, no worries.