#5. Letter to my Papa

Papa, so often in the past 19 years, there have been world events and even just local events that I want to talk to you about. Just so much of life is happening and it’s not fair that you’re missing out. Life is pretty amazing, can be excruciating, but is never boring.

You’d be as shocked as I am by Covid. It took the whole world by surprise. I always wonder how you would feel about this or that. Especially the little things, like a new book I know you’d love. I’m sure you would have appreciated the Hilary Mantel trilogy like I did. And we could talk about how brilliant and exquisite it was.

Currently I am just appreciating things like this alone. Now there’s just three of us left at home and I always feel the odd one out with very different interests in books, movies and music besides other things. I miss someone always valuing my opinion. You certainly did that and I miss it. I feel unseen now. You never made me feel less than or defective, even though I was never as smart or successful going by exams results career etc. I can almost hear you gruffly denying that I’m not smart and just that alone makes me smile. Telling me not to fish for compliments or that self praise is no praise. I love that when you were around we were checked and kept humble.

You know how they say twos company and threes a crowd? Yes I recall how you loved sayings like this. Never had this feeling when you were here to compensate. Now I know and appreciate how much you compensated, even though I rejected you and for that I’ll never be able to make amends. Or perhaps, just perhaps you needed me as badly too. There is actually a Tik Tok trend about how the first born daughter is always like her Father. Ok I have to explain what Tik Tok is too.

I remember the feeling of being carried by you and protected in your arms when I was as young as one. For the strength of my long term memory I’m immensely grateful, because it sustains me. Although I do wish we had the ability to take more photos and especially videos then.

I’m sad I don’t have a single video of you or your voice. I made sure I have some of Amma even though she protested when I was filming her cooking. She thought she looked awful, but she is just pure innocent beauty to me. She truly is beautiful. When she was younger, there was a Japanese artist who randomly did a portrait of her while she was standing in the temple. And when you both travelled to Japan they called her an Indian Princess. She really is extra elegant in her sari like all my aunties.

It’s rather embarrassing to declare, but you and I know, we are both Anglophiles at heart. Can’t help it having studied under the British system and for you Papa, actually having to sing “God Save the Queen” under colonial rule.

I often also wonder if we have internalised racism, because of all the discrimination we face. Yes all this is openly talked about now, all thanks to social media. You’d definitely think it’s a healthy move. You were pretty IT savvy, considering the times. There’s so much I need to update you on.

I’m so sorry. I finally did travel to London again together with other parts of the British Isle. I always feel so bad about not saying yes to going with you. Your dream destination where most of your favourite authors were from.

I was too caught up in myself in my twenties. I did enjoy my twenties though, thanks to you being around. It was my happiest era in every way and I wish I could relive those years. (although I can’t imagine life without my angel nieces in it as they were born only after you were no longer here. I’m agnostic I guess, but God works in mysterious ways and I’m beyond thankful for the divine blessings in my life)

I felt immortal then and always felt my young, most handsome and intelligent in the world, Papa, would always be there to protect me. You seemed indestructible to me. I didn’t even give it a thought.

I wasn’t a very fit kid as you know, but I’m glad that you were not around to see me get cancer. You would have been devastated and I don’t want to ever see your smile fade. (You had the best smile). When I was sick my biggest worry was that my sickness would make Amma sick due to the stress of it all. Because it makes me physically ill, my anxiety at a peak, whenever she’s not well. I’d rather be the sick one anytime please God.

I know you would have held my hand and comforted me in your quiet way. But I’m ok now Papa. Everyone rallied around me (maybe you could see or sense it?) and I’m so lucky.

If there’s any way you could look after Amma by sending some angels to protect her here on earth. I want her to be well always. If you’re hearing me, or receiving my messages through space and time, please help me do that. Remember how once you told her you needed her to follow you to the shop for ‘moral support’? (An inside joke)

The sharp memories of our daily interactions fade and the brain just automatically protects you from pain by overriding them with new norms. Sometimes I feel like this is a betrayal to you. How could I possibly be breathing, existing, continuing without you? But it is so, and I have to live through these post Papa days.

I’ll never stop needing you though. Letting go, moving on, having closure….as those who have never truly experienced traumatic loss say. It’s not even a possibility.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
This entry was posted in Grief, Midlife Musings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.