Today I would like to share a few words written by my brother, his memories of our father, the lack of understanding of mental health and emotional turmoil brought on and our dad’s tragic death.

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I didn’t want to be like my Dad
Most people have their fathers as their hero but for me for the good part of my life, I did not want to be like my dad. My dad who taught me to ride a bicycle, from whom I inherited my passion for sports, my appreciation of good music, good food and my sense of humor. My dad who enjoyed little things in life and used to get overjoyed by small pleasures such as going to a movie or eating at a restaurant and liked to tell people about these small things– I looked at it as being as pretentious and exaggerated. My dad who loved people around him unconditionally despite many people not appreciating and at times being disrespectful to him – I looked at it as being naïve and stupid. My dad who was emotional and broke down many a times when faced with volatile (and there were many) situations – I thought he was being cowardly and weak. I always thought that it was wrong to be expressive, emotional and to be loving if people did not reciprocate. I thought all these are signs of weakness that are exploited and ridiculed by others as my father was. I always told myself repeatedly that I was never going to be like him. I am never going to shed tears ever, not going to let my emotional side be known to the people around me and I got pretty good at it. I did not shed a drop when my father tragically took his life at a very young age despite being shattered.
For almost 20 years after the passing away of my father, I did not appreciate or even realize, the purity of his heart, the unconditional love my father was able to give, his ability to enjoy simple things in life and his childlike naivety. Until I had my own kids and saw them growing up. I now know what it means to give unconditionally and what my father needed when he was going through those difficult times battling clinical depression yet putting up a brave face in front of the world. Little did I know about the deep trauma that he was experiencing and all that he needed was for me to show a little empathy, care, reassurance and possibly a hug to let him know that I was with him, that everything was going to be fine. I was too young and unaware of the turmoil going on inside his head. Like I said, by the time I understood what happened to him, it was too late – twenty years too late.
I always used to think that my father is unlucky to have missed out on seeing me and my sister come up in life playing with his grandchildren and enjoying the little pleasures of retirement. However, it is now clear to me that it is us – his family – that has been unfortunate to be missing out on having a caring human being in our midst.
Ironically as I was writing this piece, I read a quote – ‘BY THE TIME YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR FATHER WAS RIGHT, YOU WILL HAVE A SON WHO THINKS YOU ARE WRONG’. I do however believe that my son – although a kid at this time – does have a lot more empathy, love and compassion than I did, as I see shades of my father in my son.

I have been blessed to have your imprint on my life DAD.

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