It’s a cold December evening. Somehow yummy ice-cream compliments a cold day and warm blanket. So when I am digging in the delight and reading Godfather, Mario Puzo amazes me. He has written it so well. The novel reaches a critical point and I don’t want to sleep. Just a page more I tell myself and then I get a call. A call, which I dint know would have the strength to change my life, change it in a way not even the wildest of my nightmares would have shown me… Loss
Unable to digest what my kiddy brother just said, I try calling Dad. He doesn’t receive any calls, how would he? I call mum, she doesn’t answer either. I call my aunt, she answers. I ask her if I should reach the hospital or home. I am dying to hear home and that’s what she says. But now I know I should have counted on the hospital; at least there would have been a chance to see Dad alive. So, yes he was gone, gone forever. He had broken his promise of being with his little daughter throughout her life. Time to act and not react, I told myself.
Gathering up all my strength, I meet my brother and we start that oh-so-impossible journey back home. It’s a 3 hour journey. It was a habit or more so a ritual for Dad to call me exactly 15 minutes before I reached and pick me up from the bus stand. Then we spent some quality father-daughter time, dint want mum or kiddy to interfere, before reaching home. We had our little secrets and promises and planning, which were purely ours. It gave me an unadulterated joy which I cannot compare with anything else. This time when I was 15 minutes away, I called Dad a zillion times, I hope that could have warded off the bad omen , but the loss was done till then.
When I reached the bus stand and searched for familiar faces a friend of mine held me, took me aside and told me to be strong. Entering home dint fell like coming back home, like it always did. I saw mum in tears, hugged her but she was lost in a world of her own. Everybody I met told me to be strong. This one thing I dint really understand though, was I really expected to be strong when I was at loss, a loss bigger than anything else. The drawing room was devoid of furniture, the sofa was gone and so was the dining set. Memories started flashing. All I knew now was mum and kiddy were sad. I went to them, had a big family hug, for once I had no words for them. I knew from that moment the family hug would always be incomplete. Dad, I will miss you and I promise to take care of mum and kiddy, till my last breath.
Don’t know why but the terrible loss couldn’t bring tears to my eyes. I longed to see and talk to Dad. As the night became darker and colder and I tried putting mum and kiddy to sleep, somehow I did not know what to do. I was pinching myself every now and then, thinking it was a night mare and would end soon and I’d wake up in my warm blanket – but that did not happen. The morning did nothing to soothe, not that I expected it too. My hunger and thirst had died. As more and more faces ushered in my house, I seemed to be lost. I was waiting for that one face, dying to see Dad. That dint happen soon, when I did get to see him, he looked different. I dint recognize him for some time. The usual calm on his face was gone. As I held on mum and kiddy, I hope I could have held on to Dad, but I was not allowed to. As I bid him my final good bye, still not ready to believe he was not to come back, a silent fear gripped me. I saw mum fall on the ground, my aunts surrounding her. Before anything made sense to me, I felt a hand on my face, telling me to cry. But I was lost... senseless and numb, helpless… Dad left us.
Each time I come home, I feel that urge of calling him. Many times I have involuntary dialed his number just to realize it doesn’t exist anymore. Home doesn’t feel like home anymore, how much ever we try. Life has come back to normal but the loss cannot be filled in. They say time is the best healer, but I have somehow realized that time just makes you forget things for some time, but each time memories flash back, it hits like a strong wave and shakes your very existence. Life has changed and so have all of us. Mum and kiddy are no more like they were, innocence lost I’d say. I am not the same either. Life cannot be the same without you Dad. I miss you and I miss the way mum and kiddy were... But I promise to live by the promise I made to you… Love you!!