On Saturday, it was a year since my father’s accident. As I said to my sisters that morning over our WhatsApp group chat, he has survived, and we have too.
My Dad sent round an email that broke our hearts. He has fought so hard and accomplished so much. He has defied the doctors’ expectations time and time again. He has, despite our initial fears, decided that he can still have a meaningful life, even though it is not the life that he wanted, not the life that he had planned.
And yet his email made it clear just how much he still struggles to reconcile himself to this life.
I am still struggling too.
When I finished my PhD in December 2014, I got a card from my Dad and my stepmother. In it my Dad had written quite a lengthy message poking fun at himself by commenting that whenever he has told anyone about his daughters’ accomplishments the response has always been stunned silence followed by “Well they didn’t get that from you!”
I don’t have the cards my Dad gave me for any of my birthdays or for Christmas. I don’t tend to keep cards unless they were given to me by Q. (or made for me by E.).
I kept this one.
I didn’t know, of course, what was coming.
But keeping it has meant that I can turn to the card and still see my father’s familiar signature, his instantly recognizable script.
He’ll never write like that again.
Layer upon layer of loss.
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