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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Father’s Day: How I wish my dad was here so I could spoil him

My father was murdered on 8 December 1984 while working night shift at a company in Fordsburg.

As the world celebrates Father’s Day today with sons and daughters doting on their dads, I will not have that luxury, because my father was murdered 39 years ago.

I will not pretend that I am not insanely envious of those children who have a dad, but I can just imagine the feeling of having a challenging day and find him sitting there, waiting for me with a plethora of advice, a box of ointment, band aids and pain tablets to dissolve the pain away.

There is no better feeling than going to your father when you need advice and have to make difficult life choices. He has been there and he can tell you what to do.

Last year, I wrote about how I was reunited with my son after 17 years and spending Father’s Day with him.

It was a beautiful feeling that was beyond comprehension and the euphoria of that day still lingers in my heart.

ALSO READ: Fathers’ Day: After 17 years I finally get to spend the day with my son

However, I never shared the details about how I wished I could spend Father’s Day with my dad, and while I will never get that opportunity, this is my story.

I wish I could spoil him and dote on him, bring him breakfast in bed and buy him anything his heart desires, and just spend the day with him.

There are so many other things that I miss about my father and had he been around, I could have learnt so much from him; perhaps even become a better person.

This is a feeling and a flame that has been burning in my heart since I lost him.

This longing of trying to imagine what it is like to spend a special day with my dad is a like a cancerous tumour eating away at my life.

Sure, I have been in remission and trying to forget he is gone.

And even with all the support, sometimes the memories just come flooding back and it is extremely painful.

It drives me to seclusion as I shed tears of the all-too-little special moments I had with him.

My father was shot on 8 December 1984 while he was working the night shift at a company in Fordsburg.

He passed away a day later at Coronation Hospital (Now Rahima Moosa Mother and Child) in Johannesburg.

While I know that he is in a better place, that day has haunted my brothers and me for a long time and continues to do so.

It is a long time, I know, but trust me, the pain never goes away.

Not for me or my brothers. You never really get over the shock.

I always wish I had a time machine and like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, to go back to that fateful day and stop the murder of my dad.

But as Doc Brown said in the movie, changing one action can alter the space-time continuum and destroy the world.

True or not, I know of many people who feel the same way I do so that they can spend that one extra special moment with their dad, knowing they will never see him again.

My dad was a remarkable man – adventurous, a crusader and a warrior for the poor. He just liked to help people and we as kids saw the beauty of his superhero ways.

I do not know the real story of what happened on that fateful night and the details remain sketchy to this day.

All I know is that the man who murdered him has since died.

It is not easy growing up without a father and it was even more difficult for my mother who was a housewife and had never worked in her life.

She was thrust into a position to raise three young kids while earning a meagre R400 a month.

What I miss most about not having a father is the valuable advice he could have given me if I had a dilemma.

I wish those who have fathers today appreciate the value of having them in their lives.

I have heard and seen many people throw their fathers away with some even calling them cowards and hypocrites, but as Charles Bronson said in The Magnificent Seven: fathers are never cowards, just really very brave.

“Don’t you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards! You think I am brave because I carry a gun?

“Well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers.

“And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a tonne. It bends and twists them until finally, it buries them under the ground.

“And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage.

“Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That’s why I never even started anything like that… that’s why I never will.”

There are many people who can reap lessons from this quote; all they have to do is just open their eyes and hearts.

While I was growing up, an elderly man – possibly in his eighties – used to walk at least 6km from the old age home in Lenasia to our house to sell us basic items like sewing needles and cotton reels.

I later found out that this man’s son was quite affluent and I could not understand how he could allow his father to do this. How could he not look after him?

Even many years later, today I see children in my own family who have thrown their fathers away, shying away of their responsibility as the poor old man relies on the kindness of others to look after him when his own should be doing it.

Why don’t children appreciate their fathers? Life is so short. Today he is here and tomorrow he will be gone.

So, for all those who have fathers, take a moment to reflect on his arduous journey to raise you, spoil you and fight for you, and share his knowledge with you to become who you are today.

Spend time with him, but most importantly, show him how much you love and care for him as I sit and yearn for the feeling of what it is like to have a father.

You are the luckiest children in the world.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers

ALSO READ: Facing Mother’s Day after the pain of losing a mother

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