Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This is what a girl without a father grows up to be

I was 10 when my dad died. Now, 18 years later, it seems like a lifetime has passed, and in a way it has. I've gone through all of my adolescence and my adult life so far without him. I can't say it was easy, but I've been blessed on so many levels so it is not for me to complain. Every single time I asked myself "how would I have turned out if he were alive?" the answer would be "spoiled."

My Dad and Me

My dad's death was the single most important event in my life, and it made me who I am today. I know a lot of other girls who share my feelings, who are somehow like me. I know many others who've had different experiences. For now, I am the girl without a father, and this is what I've become:

1. I love and trust my family more than anyone else in the world

It is more than just loving my family and trusting them with everything, it is the knowing that we have been through so much together, and they have always been there for me. For all the times my mom was the iron lady, for all the times my brother was my shield, growing up would have been so much worse without them, and becoming the person that I am today would have been impossible. When we lose the nearest and dearest, it is the people that still stand by us that matter, and that has always been and will always be them.

2. I understand how the world is flawed

People always think that hearts are broken by other people, but sometimes they're just broken by the world; the circumstances if you will. Losing my father made me realize early on that the happy bubble I've lived in; the sound of the key turning in the door when he comes home, the biggest hug I ever get, getting everything I ask for, and the feeling that nothing else matters, has burst. For years after that, I realized that I am not safe from the world because the world is not the Utopia that it was when my dad was alive. The interesting thing is that it's ok really. C'est la vie!

3. I'm strong… really strong

Skin hardens at the soles of the feet when a person walks barefoot for so long. They aren’t bothered that much by the thorns or the pebbles, not anymore. They can walk faster and farther and it becomes a blessing at the price of those feet. A guy told me once that I am focused on loss. I am in a way. I see every loss and every grievance and while they still hurt, I can focus on the loss without getting distracted by the pain, and I'm still here, and I'm still going forward.

4. I will always look for perfection

Just because I know the world is not perfect does not mean I won't look for perfection. To me, it was perfect once, my dad was perfect because I never got to see him other than superman to a child. If perfection existed once then it can exist again. I won't stop looking for it, and demanding it if I have to, my search will disappoint me as it has over and over, but sometimes I'm grateful for the imperfections, and not perfect can be perfectly good enough.

5. I look for the spirit of my dad in people, and in myself

Just like my search for perfection, I search for glimpses of my dad. I like looking in the mirror and seeing how much I look like him (although I'd loved to have looked more like my gorgeous mother), but I also love looking for my dad's spirit in the world, for people who like to laugh like him, or talk like him, or think like him, or act like him. I love tall guys for that exact reason, and salt and pepper hair, and thick glasses, and a quiet voice. I like it when people remind me of him, and I like those people, even though they might never have known him. To me, he is alive always and I see him everywhere I look, if I know how to look that is.

6. My conscience has a name

ElMaamoun Nasser El-Din. The thing is, I've already understood my mother, my friends, my teachers, my bosses. I'll never understand my dad, nor his expectations of me. He is the person I've never learned to disappoint. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel like the truest I am to myself is the truest I am to him, because then if he were here, I'd tell him I was true to myself and he would understand. For now dad, all I can tell you is that I am not a robot, be proud of that.

7. Memories have a much higher value to me than the average person

After 18 years, the sound of his voice slips, the way his teeth looked when he smiled slips, his laugh, the way he sat, the feel of his hand, all of those are memories I can no longer conjure up. A memory is precious. A memory means the world. A memory could be his drawing board which I've never seen him use, a memory could be someone else's story of him (and all my loved ones, dead or alive). Our memories and prayers keep them alive. May they rest in peace.

8. I developed a fear of abandonment

It was fate, God's will, his time, not in his hands that he died. I know. But it doesn’t mean that he didn’t leave me. The person I loved most in the world left me, and I've become deathly afraid of people I love leaving me. Sometimes they die, but sometimes they just change, or become distant or just disappear, and it scares the hell out of me.

9. I have a huge capacity for love

I have a hole in my heart. I've had one for 18 years. It's not the place that he left when he died because his place in my heart is still there, it's the emptiness that surrounds him, it is the love that grows with people over time and should have been his, the memories we could have made, all that could have been.

10. I am always and eternally grateful

He would have spoiled me rotten, and I would have been daddy's little girl forever. Maybe a smart, independent, not so annoying daddy's little girl, but just the same, I am what I am now because of having him and losing him.

My belief is firm that we will be reunited in heaven, God willing.

متجمعين في الجنة إن شاء الله

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