Message in a bottle (blog)…

My dad passed away in April 2010, 2 weeks after my youngest daughter was born.  Thankfully, through two iMAcs and web cams, he managed to meet the newest family member. It’s just a shame they never got a chance to actually meet ‘n greet.

There are so many things that you mean to say to one another and then suddenly it’s too late.  I still believe that he’s watching over me, following my family through every turn and ups (not so many downs).

I lost my hero and my best friend.  Yes, he was tough at times, but I wasn’t the most obedient kid either. There’s a reason I was nick-named Denis (the Menace).

He fought a hard and long battle with cancer (prostate).  6 long years of struggle. In the end it got a strong hold of him and he surrendered.  Let’s be clear, my dad didn’t give up or lose the fight.  He won!

He knew that if he left to go to the other side, then the cancer wouldn’t follow.  Yes, he will be alone there for some time, but we will eventually meet up again.

I despise cancer and I feel sorry for all the families that have been affected by it.  There are so many things I could say about cancer, but these have been censored due too the level of  bad and rude words included.  Let me put it this way, if I knew where the cancer lived, I would turn into a vigilante and beat it up.

This is a very personal letter to my dad, but something I need to get off my chest.

Why put it on my blog?  Well, I use my blog as a diary, for both happy and unhappy moments.  So people can see that even superheroes (dads) can be upset too.


Dear Dad

I’m extremely proud and honored to call you my dad and my best friend.  Not everybody are fortunate to have both within the same person.

The last many years have been hard on you, but you have been extremely strong and brave.  You refused to let the cancer control or destroy your life. You have lived an amazing life.  A lot of people might say that you lost the battle to the cancer.  But, I believe that you beat it by not letting it influence and rule how you lived.

Wealth has never been important to you as long as you had your family nearby.  You always said to keep family and friends close, as they are key to your happiness and well-being.  Keep the family together and you are strong.

Money is not important for having a happy life.

You always told me to treat people as you want to be treated.  This will make sure you gain respect and true friends.  No need to burn bridges and cause unnecessary rifts.

It’s for those reasons that you were a very wealthy man.  You have a long list of close friends who admire and love you, not to mention your own family (brothers, sisters, kids, grand kids, wife and mother-in-law) who are your biggest admirers and supporters.

Beside that, you have a huge group of people you’ve touched through sports or business. These people respect you tremendously.

You’ve always been there for me if I needed any kind of advice, support or just somebody to listen to me.  You’ve supported me throughout my life. You mightn’t have agreed with some decisions I made, but nevertheless, you supported me.  I probably didn’t get the answers I was hoping for, but I often followed your advice as they for some reason always made sense and proved to be right.

It’s the first time I really understand the meaning of the Wake, where the ones left behind have an opportunity to say things to you we never got a chance to say or things we didn’t think were important.

I was so afraid to talk to you during your last days because I didn’t want to make you scared or upset of what was about to happen.  You were approaching the gates of Valhalla and it was important to me that you were clear-headed and not scared.  I couldn’t bare (and still can’t) the thought that you had to do this journey.  It must have been such a frightening experience.  But, I’m relieved that you made it safely across.

When I finally called you, Thursday evening while you were in hospital, it was such a relief.  You sounded relaxed and happy.  We talked for a few minutes about everything and nothing, but we agreed to meet for coffee the following week.  We never said we loved each other, we never had to, as we knew deep inside how we loved each other.  You know I love you.

I came home the following week as promised, but it was too late. You had passed on during the night, after my call.  I’m so relieved that I got to talk to you.

I went to see you in church too, but it was so unreal to see you lying there.  We had a chat alone and I placed a drawing from E.  A drawing she had made specially for you after she heard the sad news.

The ceremony was wonderful and the church was packed with all your family, friends and all the other people you’ve inspired or touched.  There wasn’t enough seats in the church.  A proper last farewell.

You might wonder if we’ll make it without you.  Of course we will.  It will take a lot of time to adjust to life without you. I’m certain mum is feeling the loss even harder.  She lost the rock of her life and her partner through life.  I simply can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose somebody that close.  All the stuff you’ve experienced together is just something I’m going through now with my own family.

I’m dreading the next few family get-together events such as Christmas, New Year and birthdays.  They will not be the same without you and we will all be looking towards your chair where you always had your coffee, snooze or wine.  You enjoyed watching the kids play and smiled.

Despite me having lived abroad, you have always taken an interest into the life of our kids.  They really love and miss you too, even if they have only been with you a few times.  Your smile and openness to play with them really touched them. They are still talking about the hours they spent with you playing with Lego.

Our oldest daughter says that she still talks to you in her dreams and sometimes she gets really sad.  I know you are keeping an eye on us and you are dropping by regularly. I can feel you around the place.  I just wish you could come in person.

We often spoke about going to Africa on a safari.  Unfortunately we never made it but we are still allowed to dream.  I will go one day with my family and I will make sure to share it with you.

We will look after mum to the best of our abilities, but you know that she can be stubborn at times.  I just hope she will let us help her and share her grief with us.  This is not something she can deal with alone – and should not deal with alone.

I hope you are proud of me and what I’ve achieved.

You are always welcome in our house, no matter what time, if you want to stop by.  Just don’t wake the kids if it’s too late.   They miss farfar (grand dad) so much.

We will leave a light on all the time, so you can always find your way back to us.

We love you very much.

I’ll talk to you in my dreams and I will beat you in badminton 🙂


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