My father’s recent demise left me with some mixed feelings of sadness and regrets. The fact that he had been an absent figure in most of my life didn’t make it any easier for me to accept his death, even though he had been ill for a long time.
This is the first time I cried for my father. Three times, to be exact. The first time was tears of shock when I learnt that he had passed away suddenly but peacefully; the second time when I saw him lying in the coffin at the wake, all made up but hardly looked like him; and the third time when I witnessed his coffin being wheeled into the furnace for cremation as I mouthed the last farewell to him through the looking glass.
I went through the usual process of grieving – first denial that he had died so suddenly, then reality hit and my heart ached for the loss of my father. Then it was feelings of sadness and regrets that I didn’t have the chance to tell him that I have forgiven him long ago and that no matter whether he had been a good father, I still loved him as my dad. I regretted that I have had to tell him these when he was lying in the coffin instead of when he was still alive. It made me realise that life is so transient that there is no time for regrets.
I do not know if my father had any regrets before he passed away. Perhaps he would have wanted to tell me he was sorry he had not been the father I wished I had. Maybe he would have told me he loved me even though he didn’t know how to show it. I guess I would never know.
But I do know that my child is blessed with a doting father who lets her feel secured and loved, even when he has to chide her sometimes for being naughty. I couldn’t choose the father I wished I had, but I’m glad I chose a wonderful daddy for my beloved daughter. Unlike me, she will grow up with a good father figure in her life and she will not have to be forced to fend for herself at a young age. She will be able to have many happy memories of a normal childhood.
To all fathers and fathers-to-be out there, I hope you always let your children know that you love and cherish them deeply. Remember, your children cannot choose what kind of father they want in you. But you can choose to be the kind of father your children want.