Dear Daddy

For those who don’t know–I lost my father 10 years ago. He was riding and collided with another motorcyclist while making his way home from work. He flung out from his seat after the collision and his neck hit the side of a kerb. He passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

If you know me well enough, you know that I share about my feelings and experiences a lot (offline and online). This is one of them, disguised as a letter. It is a personal and honest letter to my father, so you may choose to read it or not. I penned this as a way to remember him. Also, I just really miss him.

The reason I am sharing this is to provide some insight of a young adult female who has lost her father 10 years ago (I turn 21 this month). It is a very personal piece you may not empathise with. If you don’t read it, it’s okay. If you do, I hope you are reminded to tell your loved ones that you love them.

My parents’ song to my sister and me: Richard Marx — Angel’s Lullaby

Love, Ridha

Dear Daddy, today is your 10th death anniversary. It has been 3653 Earth days since you’ve reached the end of your life here. Many said you died too young. You were only 38. You weren’t sick. I don’t know if you were depressed to the point of suicidal, but even if you were, I am glad you didn’t choose to leave by taking your own life.

The thing about dying young is that more people remember and pray for you. Many say you were gone too soon, and that He loves you more than we ever will.

I vividly remember two moments that changed my life.

  1. Being awaken by Mummy before midnight to go to grandparents’ place.
  2. Your body leaving the house for the last time.

Everything else in between is a blur.

The first moment happened so quickly that I didn’t know how to process it. I remember one line very clearly as Mummy hastily woke Tasha and I up at night saying, “Wake up, Daddy’s been in an accident’’.

How does one prepare oneself to hear that a loved one has passed on? Tasha and I were rushed upstairs to stay with late Nani until we get further news. I can vaguely remember what happened afterwards—the three of us waited and cried while praying for you; until the phone rang to deliver the final news.

As Nani broke the news to Tasha and me, the feeling couldn’t sink in. It felt unreal. My heart sank to the deepest of a bottomless pit, and my tears streamed like a never-ending waterfall. It was too much for a 7-year-old and 10-year-old to handle. Being 10, (the concept of) death is difficult to grasp. It’s not something that’s commonly and openly discussed. It’s not something that’s being taught in school. We are rarely prepared for loss, and shy away from discussion as it’s almost like a taboo, or even failure. Nobody talks about the aftermath of a loss. The truth is, one never truly recovers. Death changes you. Since your death, it has changed me.

I remember the second moment happening very vividly because prior to that, I was sitting in my room. You were washed, cleaned, and then prepared for your final resting place. The time came for you to leave for the very last time. As the house was full of your loved ones, it was difficult for anyone to move. Everyone made way for Tasha and me to say our final goodbyes. I remember being told not to cry. I don’t know the reason. I think to myself, how does one suppress the feeling of losing a parent so suddenly? How does one cope with this feeling of sudden loss that causes a void within you that you can’t describe in words?

The image of your calm, soulless face is still in my memory, but is now blurry after 10 years. I remember I couldn’t look at your face at first. There was no life in your body. The body that once held your soul. I gathered the courage to look at you. Your skin showed no signs of life. Your eyes were closed. Your face wasn’t perfect anymore. In spite of your injuries from the accident, you looked truly, at peace.

I kissed you goodbye. At that moment, it is true; that you are gone.

The house was full of people who loved you, whose lives you’ve impacted during some point of yours. Everyone said you were kind, generous and loving. You loved and cared for those around you. I believe you found your tribe, and fit in very well. You had your flaws, but those were easily overlooked because of your strengths. Your family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, all mourned for you.

Unfortunately, your passion and love for bikes was not passed down to me. A small part of me wish it was. That is just so I can understand how happy you must have felt talking about bikes. I don’t know what else you were passionate about. Hopefully, I get to know a bit more about that from the people you once knew.

Most of my memories from childhood are blurry, but I vaguely remember being a difficult child. I misplaced and lost valuable materials. I misbehaved and demanded for things I didn’t need. I felt entitled and proud. The world revolved around me. Daddy, I’m sorry I was difficult. I’m sorry for all the times I hurt you. I’m sorry I didn’t realise it sooner.

The past 10 years have been an emotional rollercoaster. There were many firsts and milestones. I wish you were beside me. I wish you were there when I graduated school. I wish you were there when my heart was broken. I wish you were there when I started my first job. I wish you were there when I went to the airport to take my first flight alone. I wish you were there to hold me when I needed to be held.

Every time I miss you, there’s this certain ache in my body. I can’t describe it, but I know it’s for you. When I sit alone, my mind sometimes wanders to you. Right at this moment, I feel that ache. That ache wishes you were here, presently. That ache wishes to have you holding my hand in this life. That ache wonders how life would be right now if you did not leave 10 years ago. But after all these wishing…the reality is that you are not here. You are not in this world anymore. We will meet again in the afterlife.

There are many more things I want to tell you, but you already know. I will always keep you in my prayers. Thank you for being my father in this world.

I love you with all my heart,


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