Losing a parent

I lost my father to cancer more than 13 years ago.

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was receiving radiotherapy. But he was not responding to the treatment and the cancer began to spread.

During this time I had been working as a teaching Assistant at a local university. I had only finished one semester when I was offered a job in a telecom multinational. My father was so happy and proud of me. All our lives he had worked hard to give his three children a good education and make us stand on our own feet. Now his youngest had been offered a dream job.

With the job it was necessary that I traveled in the first year for training in France for a period of three months. Where other fathers of a conservative society would have been hesitant to let their young daughter travel with her male colleagues, my father had no issues. Even in his illness he was planning to have me travel to Switzerland from France to visit a dear friend of his.

By the time my training arrived my father’s condition had deteriorated. I was in two minds about leaving at such a time but my family would have none of it. They knew what an excellent opportunity it was for me and were not about to let me waste it. My sister who is a doctor had been nursing my father and I knew my absence would put an extra burden on her but the angel that she is, she didn’t ask me to stay behind. But I made her promise that she would tell me if things got worse.

Two months into my stay the dreaded phone call came. My father was in the ICU and things were not likely to get better. I immediately arranged for my return.

I think my father did not realize how ill he was because I remember him asking my mother why I had returned early. He was still eager to see my pictures of France and Switzerland.

He spent an agonizing 5 days in the ICU. He had been a tough soldier all his life and seeing him crying with pain helplessly was devastating for me.  On March 26th, 2000 just at the time of the morning prayer, God spared him any more suffering and took him to a better place. All his three children were with him when he died.

Did I tell you how much I loved you too?

And how much it hurts when I miss you,

Your kind smile, the twinkle in your eye,

All your efforts to make us touch the sky,

Your warm hugs and your handsome face,

Your good advice we could never replace.

I wonder if you can see us from up there,

Our spouses, kids and how we did fare.

It was too soon for you to have gone away

At eternal peace you are, I hope and pray.


Blast from the Past: Weekly Writing Challenge

I normally do non-fiction, a bit of fiction, poetry and photos, maybe I haven’t found my style yet or maybe I’m a jack of all trades but for this post I decided to do non-fiction, poetry and a photo all in one. I always find it a bit difficult to do poetry and usually I post a poem separately and not as part of a post, but I think using poetry in a post is something I should do and would try again.

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10 thoughts on “Losing a parent

  1. Hi Zainab,

    Thank you for writing about losing your father, I think it’s very brave of you to share something so personal in your blog. 🙂 I lost my father too in 2006 due to a heart attack, I was 19. So I do think about how it would be if he was still around, especially now that I am getting married soon. I guess the pain of losing a parent can never go away, but like in your poem (which is beautiful, btw) we can always pray 🙂

    • Congratulations on your soon to be marriage. It is at such times that one really misses their parents. But be assured that your father will always be watching over you. Stay blessed.

  2. It’s poignant to read your lovely post today. Last night the husband of a close friend died of bowel cancer, leaving behind 3 dear little girls aged 6 – 11. We are a very close, small community and all the kids are friends. The mother of 4 children at our school died of breast cancer in June. The passing of a parent is so hard on the children, whatever the age.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge – 7 October | Joe's Musings

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