The day i lost my dad
Updated: Nov 5, 2022
It’s 4am; the police are at our door. It’s never a good sign when they’re at your door this early. My mum and I franticly rush downstairs, still in our pyjamas, and invite them in, praying my dad was fine. He flew out to India earlier that day on his own and was due to land in the early hours of the morning UK time. Our hearts sank when they told us, ‘We’re sorry, but he has passed away. He had a cardiac arrest.’. In that moment my world came crashing down around me. They told us that he never made it to India and that he was still in Abu Dhabi where he had a layover. The details were still blurry, and frankly, I didn’t know what to ask. How did this happen? When did this happen? How long has it been? Where is he now? How do we get to him? How do we get him back?
I messaged my best friend after pulling myself together a bit that my dad had died, and she came over immediately to provide some support. She had to leave after a little while because she had to get to university, so did I. I had only just started my first year, it was the first week of lectures. Just the day before my dad had dropped me off at the train station and I hugged him goodbye and wished him a safe flight. If I’d known I would’ve gone to the airport with him. I would have seen him off there. If I’d known what would happen, I never would’ve let him go.
The following weeks felt like years. We had to get my dad back so we could give him a proper funeral. My mum decided to have a weeklong prayer at home to bring my dad some peace. I took time off from university because I was in no state to leave my mum and study as if everything was ok.
I had emailed my university telling them the situation, and they completely understood and gave me the time I needed. They even gave me the option to defer the year if I wanted to. To be honest, I was considering it. My dad was retired, so we lived off his pension, and my mum was a housewife, so I began to worry about how we were going to pay the bills. This is the last thing I wanted to worry about when I had just lost my dad, but it was a very real issue that sadly, many have to think about when they lose someone like that. I thought I could defer the year, find a job and pay the bills until my mum could get on her feet. I told my mum what I was thinking, and she immediately said no. She said to me, ‘Is this what you think your dad wants? He worked hard so you could go to university and become someone great. He was so happy to see you go, that’s all he ever wanted.’ So, I kept going. It was hard waking up in the morning and not seeing him, but I knew I had to. I had to be the someone great he knew I could be.
When I started back at university, I met with my personal tutor who checked up on how I was doing and referred me to the wellbeing services for grief counselling. I can’t stress enough how valuable that was for me. Seeing the counsellor and just talking to them about how I felt and how I was doing without fear of being judged really helped me through the first couple of months. Even when I couldn’t see the counsellor, just talking to my friends and having them check up on me was relieving because I knew they also had my best interests at heart. Just being able to share with anyone who cared and was willing to listen really helped me get through the dark times when I just wanted to give up.
Now here I am, having just finished my degree. It’s almost been three years since my dad passed away, but there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about him. People have asked me how I was able to stay strong and keep going, so I’d asked them, ‘what was the alternative?’. I could’ve lost contact with people, holed myself up at home and wallowed in my sadness, but where would that have got me? It wasn’t going to bring my dad back, and it wasn’t going to make me feel any better. No matter how big the loss is, life still carries on, and it’s up to you to carry on with it, regardless of how hard it is.
Whenever I was feeling stressed or anxious, my dad would say, ‘you worry, you die, you don’t worry, you still die, so why worry?’. A little morbid maybe but I think it’s quite apt. I hope no one experiences the loss of losing a parent at a young age, but sadly it happens, and you just have to work through it. If you have lost someone, then I wish that reading this has given you some hope that all is not lost, and things will get better. You are not alone.
Written by: Hanisha Raikhy