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Thursday, 21 June 2012

A year gone by.......

21st June last year was the last day of my father’s life.  Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday, at other times it feels like a dream from which I will soon wake up.     It still feels unreal but all the mundane activities of that day are still clearly etched in my memory.   How suddenly, a routine kind of day changed into something that could never be put back ever.
In this last one year, my sister and I have relived every moment of our memories.   It is a good thing that I have my sister to share this with because our memories go way back to the time we started to remember things.    We have a lot of happy memories and some not so happy ones too.   In every memory, the one thing that stands out is what a fine person my Appa was.  
His life was a hard one to begin with having lost both his parents by the time he was ten.  He put himself through school and college while having to work for his living.  He went to evening college and completed a B.A in economics and then LLB.  He was totally a self made man. 
He was a kind husband who shared the housework and regularly helped in the kitchen.   He always prepared the morning coffee before my mother woke up.   Sometimes he even cooked on Sundays and we spoilt brats always complained that he couldn’t cook as well as mother.
He was a very loving father.  My mother being a school teacher was very strict with us regarding study time and would not permit any talking until the homework and revisions were done.     Appa would give us incentives that we could goof-off with him after we finished the work.  As kids, we never felt that Appa was an adult who we had to be scared of.  He was just our friend.    He taught us to play chess and other board games.  He bought us books and read to us.  He knew how to fix things and we were his helpers.  He taught me everything from papier-mâché sculpting to double entry book-keeping.    
He was a favourite uncle to my cousins.  Kids loved him for his gentle disposition and his own friends liked him well for his helpful nature.    
After his retirement, Appa’s behaviour changed.  He became very irritable, forgetful and argumentative.  All this change was not easy to take and we did berate him often.   Only after a couple of years of this did we get a diagnosis and know that the reason for the change was not him but the dementia.  
Even through the dementia, there were days when he could think very clearly.   We fondly remember every such day.    On other days he would try and fudge his answers to pretend nothing was wrong with him.   He always had us in splits with his responses and logic.   When we laughed he would laugh too as if he had meant it to be funny.  Maybe he did too!

We miss Appa dearly and wish we had been given some more time with him.    There were days when the caregiving was exhausting and frustrating.  Now I know I would willingly take some more of those days just to have him back for at least a while.
In the last months of his life he suffered a lot of physical pain from various illnesses. But he never complained.  Instead he used to try and console us by patting our arm and nodding that it was okay.  His passing was perhaps a release from that suffering.    
I wonder sometimes why such a kind soul had to undergo so much pain.   All I can do now is ask for forgiveness for the things that I did not do right and pray that he is finally at peace.  

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your memories in this beautiful piece that is so full of love. I am sure your father's journey through his disease and its pain was eased by the fact that he experienced all the love and care you and your sister showered him with. I hope you find peace yourself now, knowing that you did your best, and that he is resting free of pain now.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Swapna.

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  2. Thanks Vijaya for this window into your world and letting us know this wonderful person you called Appa. Fathers are fathers no matter what you call them. And after losing my father to this dreadful disease a short while back, it was almost as if I relived all that you described -- life with a loving father, a kind husband and the best support we must have had in our lives. As you said, even though the caregiving days were frustrating and exhausting sometimes, I would willingly give back all the freedom I have now to get him back for a while. I am sure you did everything possible to help him through his terrible journey and that he is resting in peace finally.

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  3. Dear Anusuya, I thank you for your sympathy and understanding.

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