I wrote last month that 2014 was a terrible year. [CLICK] Little did I know at that point that 2014 had not thrown its last and most devastating blow.
On the 31st of December 2014, at about 11 pm my father died.
The month that followed has been the fastest and most difficult month of my life. It was ironic that I’d quite recently decided to start acting my age and not worry too much.
As my father’s first son a lot of responsibilities fell on my shoulders and it was difficult. I did things that I did not see myself doing in many years to come. There I was, a child that was expected to plan a funeral struggling to combine school and planning.
I learnt so many things in the month of January. I learnt that sometimes we do not have the answers. I learnt that, even in grief, we have to be considerate (this was arguably the most difficult thing I had to do this month). I learnt that people grieve in different ways and there are as many shades of sadness as there are people.
I learnt that a man is not a man because he does not cry. He is a man because he has learnt where and when it is appropriate for him to cry. This month I cried and cried and cried. For the things I didn’t say and the things I didn’t do. I cried for the things that would no longer be. I cried when I remembered the things that were.
This month I grew closer to my mum and my sister and we talked. We talked to each other about things that I never imagined us talking about and even in the midst of all the sadness I felt a bond forming that made me happy.
This month I learnt to lean on people and I was pleasantly surprised. I learnt to let people in and to trust people and made new friends and strengthened old friendships.
This month I talked and I listened. I got support from so many people and many times, when it seemed like I was about to be overwhelmed by everything, I received a message or my phone rang and it gave me strength to carry on.
I am less like my father than I should be and it hurts me. I never heard my father raise his voice, even when he scolded he did it in such a kind way that it didn’t feel like a scolding. It was impossible to incite him to anger. His faith was unwavering. He was intelligent, hardworking and diligent. He was wonderful.
Countless people have prayed that I will be greater than my father and I keep wondering how I’m expected to move on with this burden. How I’m supposed to fill shoes this big and as quickly as some people expect.
On the 30th of January my father was laid to rest. The funeral was awesome as far as funerals go. Yes, personally, there were points where I felt like lying on the floor and bawling my eyes out. But, I was proud that the man of whom everyone spoke so well was my father, is my father. I was also happy that he got the funeral that a man like him deserved and, most importantly, that he is now somewhere better than here, as the bible promised.
I would be lying if I claimed that I deserved any of the credit for the success of the program. I was surrounded by so much support that it sometimes became choking. Looking back I am grateful for the support, for the lack of breathing space, for the excessive number of phone calls as all these led to the eventual success of the program.
As this month ends, I know that it is time for me to face life full on and I am praying for the best. I will not say that I expect challenges because in the past I have predicted correctly and perhaps if I do not tempt fate she will leave me alone.