Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in the Commonwealth of Nations to remember the members of their armed forces, who have died in the line of duty. Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day) is observed on the 11th November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War 1. Hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 2016 was the day we laid my father to rest.
The best way to describe my late father is simple: he gave the best hugs, and he had a big heart filled with love!
Whenever we went shopping or out for lunch and my dad saw someone down or having a bad day, he would go up to them and give them a compliment or crack a joke with them just to see them smile. No matter what that person’s age, gender, race or job description was, he simply couldn’t bear it seeing someone sad.
My father was obsessed with anything and everything involving locomotives and airplanes. We went on a couple of train trips as a family and during these times my father was in his element. He loved the history of World War 1 and 2, and wanted to learn as much as he could about airplanes. I have also lost count of how many times we watched his favourite movie Titanic.
Once upon a time my late father was a proud reservist of the South African Police Force. He wore the badge and uniform with pride.
My mother often tells me the story of when my father first held me. He was petrified that he might’ve dropped me because I was so small, but once he held me the connection was instant. Yes I was the Apple of my father’s eye and I loved him to the moon and back. I loved our family trips and even better the days we just relaxed at home and shared stories about our day. I miss his smile. I miss his hugs. I miss him period.
￼￼Our favourite story we always love to share is the story of how my father won my mother’s 💖. When he laid eyes on her he knew she was the love of his life. He courted my mother the old fashioned way by showering her with all his love, and buying her lots of flowers and gifts. In 1987 they were married, a year later I was born and the rest is history.
Their love conquered all and lasted a beautiful twenty nine and a half years before he passed away.
On the 4th November 2016 my father had a severe haemorrhage and fell into a coma. On the 6th November 2016 as I entered the hospital room to see him he was surrounded by doctors and nurses, his heart could no longer handle the strain and he left us and went to heaven.
When the doctor approached me and told me what had just happened behind those sheets, I collapsed into the chair behind me and my whole world just came crashing down around me. My father, my king, my mother’s soulmate, one half of my heart was now gone. I cried like I never have before and called my mother. We take comfort in knowing that he did not suffer at the time of his passing.
I have three reasons for sharing this personal story with you:
1. I want to keep my father’s memory alive and I want him to be remembered for the amazing person he was.
2. Nothing and no one can prepare you for the day you lose a loved one, and the grief you carry thereafter. I wouldn’t have made it through the past year without the support of my mother, family and my friends. It is much better to have a shoulder to cry on, than keep all the pain you are feeling bottled up inside. Sometimes talking to a total stranger who has experienced a similar loss is also a great help.
3. If you have or are going through something similar please know you are not alone. Cry when you need to cry and don’t bottle it up inside. Speak to a loved one, friend or professional when you feel the need too. Let go of any regrets or guilt you may carry. For example; hurtful things you may have said in arguments, not saying I love you enough or not visiting that person sooner whilst they were still alive. They know you loved them and all they feel for you now is love.
Ironically my father was laid to rest at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2016. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is also Remembrance Day. A great man laid to rest on a celebrated day in history.
For Dad, A loving husband and father. We love and miss you dearly!