I could be here forever talking about how great my Dad is/was! What I write in this particular blog will not even touch the surface but in his memory, I want to tell you all a little bit about him.
FRUIT LOVER- Where do I even start- doesn’t matter what season we were in Dad would travel high and low to different shops in search for the best seasonal fruit- Mangos, oranges, pomegranate, lychee, different melons, grapefruits- the list literally goes on and on. But there was no compromise on the quality of the fruit. With each fruit he’d have a story to tell. How they used to catch fruit/ steal fruit/ eat fruit back in Uganda. These are the type of fond memories I have of my Dad as I’m sure many others do to.
AMBITIOUS- I only ever viewed my Dad as ambitious. Growing up he had a plan and mapped out what this would look like. He was successful. He achieved his dream- nice house, car, garden- having a life only some people can dream of. I remember times when my Dad put his mind to achieving something and he made it happen. I vaguely recall going to an auction with him when I was a young kid and him walking out like he’d murdered someone- heart rate raised, sweating, excited, nervous. He wanted the same for his children- the same drive- it’s probably why I was attracted to Mehul as I saw the same ambition- it wasn’t just talk. I’m assuming when you are going through different stages of your life ambitions, it can only ever be successful if your partner/family support you in your dreams. The support, trust and encouragement only make your journey worthwhile. It is meaningless otherwise.
His ambitions also extended to his children. It was scary growing up trying to live up to those expectations. It’s not nice for any child to think that they would be viewed as a failure if they do not ‘live’ up to a parent’s expectation. I found with Dad that you had to be clear about your plans. If it was not in line with his expectations, you had to explain why and justify what you wanted to do. There is nothing wrong in not wanting to be a lawyer, accountant, doctor, pharmacist. Does that make you any less of an ambitious person? Absolutely not. I am so happy with my career choices. As long as he saw you working towards your ambitions and making the most of every opportunity you had, he was happy to support us in any way possible. He was stubborn and headstrong and believe you me we had to match that!
TEACHER- Dad had so much knowledge to pass on, some of which fell on deaf ears. But I loved listening to his general knowledge on the world. I loved challenging him on certain topics, specifically to do with breaking down barriers in our cultural. I remember coming home from my first semester and being so thankful with aspects of my upbringing and teachings but also opening his eyes to the real world and challenging his perspective. I’d always play devil’s advocate! I remember when Dad was first diagnosed with his deteriorating health and I urged him to write a book about his knowledge, what he’d like to pass on. He never got around to doing it, but I wish I’d pressured him more frequently. In hindsight, it would have been pointless because my Dad’s handwriting was illegible- doctor's writing as they say.
HERO- He was my hero for so many reasons. He is the one and only person in my life I know 100% I could have called day or night and regardless of the time he’d be there. I remember when I moved to Slough for work and following my car accident, I became ill. The next day he drove to Slough with my Mum and took me to the Doctors, back to my place and looked after me like I was still his little girl. I could give a thousand examples of other people who would say he was just that- their hero. His family was his life. Everything he did in life was for his family be that immediate or extended. He was selfless in his demeanour.
ENCOURAGING- Dad always encouraged his family to pursue their dreams. Dream big and go and achieve it. Whether this was buying your first car, going on travels, new home, pursuing a career or starting a business. I remember after my wedding my husband spoke about starting his own business. Some father’s would air on the side caution but Dad you asked two simple questions; a. do you believe you’ll be successful and b. how much money do you expect to make. Mehul never gave you a straight answer to b. But assured you it was worth the risk. From that moment onwards, at any given opportunity Dad would ask him how his business was doing, which contracts he had achieved and who he was looking to target next. Like me Dad, you were not tech savvy so anything Mehul explained in terms of the tools they used from a technology perspective for the business was way beyond your understanding. That however did not stop you from asking and trying to learn and understand. Afterall you were a proud father in law who wanted to tell the World. Dad we still joke about this now. I know for a fact your interest, the questions you used to ask all came from a good place and Mehul misses those discussions because of how genuinely interested and encouraging you were. There was no pretence or asking for the sake of asking.
RESPECTED- You were the youngest in your family but my God were you respected. I have never in my life met a selfless man like you. You would do anything for anyone without question. You were a man of principle and morals- not faith but your outlook on life and your strong family values meant you were well respected. And for all your support and help, you never expected anything in return. I cannot tell you enough the hole you have left in a lot of people’s hearts in our hearts in my heart. You were our go to person and now you are not here. I miss your laugh, your voice- I don’t remember your voice and it kills me every day. I miss our talks, your outlook, advice and most of all your presence. You had this sense of authority about you but underneath it all you were a big cuddly bear! I miss our snuggles- yes even at this age. I’d come home for the weekend and we’d both snuggle up on the sofa with our respective blankets and watch a safari documentary.
It’s your Birthday today and instead of celebrating with you I am dedicating this post to all those fathers out there that represent everything you were and more. You never made it to your 66th Birthday. Scrolling through my phone I found a video of your 65th Birthday. Considering how unwell you were leading up to the D-Day it was so nice watching this video and those that came and surprised you. You were a family man and will always be remembered that way. Love you more than words can say. P.S I miss you.