Tag Archives: Grandpa

How I Met Your Father: The One in which we say goodbye to Pa

“Dear Fuzzy, I am sad to hear about your grandfather. You are very lucky that you had a grandfather your whole entire life. Love from Kris.”

Kids, your Great-Grandfather, Mogamatdien Shellar nee Percival Francisco Shellar, gently left this world on Thursday 30 June, 2016, causing my Universe to come to an abrupt halt. Of all the condolences I received, this one from your 11-year-old Spirit brother really hit home.

Pa 1

Kris was right – I was indeed ridiculously lucky to have had a grandfather my whole entire life. Bittersweet moments from more than 30 years flashed through my mind but they didn’t seem to be enough.

Eulogies aren’t really a thing in the Islamic faith the rest of my family follow but I’m a rule breaker of note so, here is what I would have said if I had had a chance to speak at Pa’s funeral:

Dear Pa,

A week ago today, you took your final breath and left us to join your beloved Tiema in Heaven. I know you’re super excited to get all of your kisses and hugs and make up for lost time (away from prying grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s eyes) so while you’re doing that, let me look back at some of my best memories of you…

2015 …

Last year, I lost you in a Strand beach parking lot. Sameehah, Freddy, Mishka and I had treated you to an afternoon out and you gave us the slip so you could go on a walkabout like a naughty teenager.

I don’t know how you did it with an aching leg and a walking stick, Percy, but like a magician, you were there one minute and gone the next!

Sam panicked and call Hiema – I took a deep breath and realised you probably needed some me-time, something you’d had fairly little of since your health starting deteriorating.

I found you eventually, sitting on a bench that you and Mama often visited on your day trips to Strand, gazing out on the crowd and view. You had a wistful look on your face and I realised that what you had needed was to be close to her – the only time you ever let on that you were still mourning.

The love that was evident on your face that day and whenever you spoke of her since, makes me want to live long enough to experience my own someday.

2013 …

I freaked out when I received my first ever traffic fine for Mr Winchester, my Opel GSI, and couldn’t for the life of me remember when I had been speeding along Vanguard Drive.

I checked the date and looked at the photo and saw that actually, Old Man, you were the one breaking speed limits as you cruised in my sports car. By then, you weren’t allowed to drive your own vehicles anymore so you had taken mine for a joy ride under the guise of returning it to me ahead of a magic event.

I couldn’t stay at mad at you for that – after all, just a month earlier you had held my hand while yelling at me for crashing it into another car on a highway.

Buying, driving and fixing that car together are some of my favourite memories with you because as much as I was coming into my own as an adult, you were right there with me every step of the way, guiding me as you had in my childhood.

And yes, you still don’t know that I have the worst road rage known to man – I never swore when you were my passenger 😉

Faz and grandparents

2000…

I’m 15 and going through an “I hate my life and my family” phase but you insist on taking Sam and I for our weekly Sunday drive to Sea Point.

On the way back home, I am wedged between you and Mamma on the front seat of your van and the two of you are pointing out the landmarks of where you first met.

You turn to me and say:

“And that is where your grandma and I used to park and “watch” the view at night. I showed her things she’d never seen before.”

I protest and mock vomit because no teenager wants to know their parents, let alone their grandparents, did things like that but secretly, I like being entrusted with details of your courtship.

That courtship gave birth to the lasting love Sam and I were raised in. How lucky were we?

1996 …

I’m 11 and I wake to the sound of you crying … in all of my life up until that moment, you had never done that sober so I immediately knew something was wrong, horribly wrong.

My dad, your son, was dead and you were inconsolable.

Your sobs were so terribly heart-breaking but soothing too because if you were crying, it was ok for me to cry too. You showed me that you were human- that we all are and it’s ok to miss the people you love most when they’re taken from you.

PA AND FAMILY

Today, I am a heart-broken, grown woman trying to be strong for the family when all I want to do is be the tiny, sassy little girl you taught to read time; called your “Charra Meid” ( Indian Girl) and gruffly held tighter when I tried to squirm out of your hugs.

I miss your hugs.

I miss your smile.

I miss your voice.

I miss hearing you say “Ok, I love you too, Zielah”.

You were so proud of the eulogy I wrote for Mamma on “Facebrick” as you called it, I thought it only fitting you get one on my blog too 😉

I love you, Pa – I don’t know if I said it often enough, but I do.  I don’t know if I said thank you enough too – there aren’t enough words in this world and all of the universe to express my gratitude for loving, raising and being there for Sameehah and I.

I will miss walking into your house, my childhood home, or calling you up and saying “Hello Percival!” and hearing your voice light up at the sound of mine for the rest of my days…

Give Mamma and Daddy a hug for me and know that I love and miss all three of you so very, very much!

All my love,

Your Charra Meid xx

 

 

How I Met Your Father: 3 things I wish I could say to your Great-Grandpa on Father’s Day

 

Pa Eid

Kids, in the winter of 2016, your Great-Grandfather was dying of diabetes.

Watching him battle this silent and dangerous disease, the way it ravished his body at a rapid pace was almost too much to bear. Seeing the once powerful man he’d been reduced to a withering, childlike figure in constant pain broke my heart.

Emotions, as you can guess, were running rampant within the family, further annihilating existing estrangements and making things even more difficult so I was determined to remain strong, the voice of reason and not verbalize my own reactions.

But I did need to express my feelings so here are three things I wish I could have said to Pa on Father’s Day 2016:

  • You were more than my granddad… you were my Dad:

My father was murdered exactly a week after my eleventh birthday and for most of my life, I carried that sorrow as a HUGE chip on my shoulder.

I hid behind my identity as a fatherless child and used it as the excuse for all of the s*** I got up to in my tween years but it wasn’t true… I wasn’t fatherless.

My dad’s Dad stepped up and did all of the fatherly duties a second time around – he was the one who picked me up from school and my first internship; searched for me when I ran away once (long story); helped me move out of the parental home TWICE; taught me to be responsible for my actions; grounded me a lot; helped to pay for my tertiary education; collected me from the airport after my international trips; disapproved of the bad boys I seemed to love; helped to nurse me through various illnesses and helped me navigate the tricky parts of adulthood.

Anyone can be a father but it takes a man to be a dad and granddad!

  • You were imperfectly human and my superhero:

Pa wasn’t perfect – far from it. My childhood Sundays always ended with him being a drunken, crying mess because he’d helped himself to one too many drinks from his business.

He always seemed to say the wrong things at the wrong times and seemingly favoured my siblings over me. Most of my teens and early adulthood were spent crying over insensitive things he’d said about me, my life plans etc.

But …

As I entered my 30s, I realised that actually, Pa was my superhero role model for adulthood. If he was doing the best he could and winging the rest of it well into his 70s, I wasn’t doing too badly either.

  • Thank you for loving me:

Pa and Faz US

Pa had been raising kids for nigh on 30 something years by the time I came along and he thought he knew how to do it well … but then there was me.

I was a sensitive, strong-willed, prone to emotional outbursts creative who refused to conform to any of the customs set by the culture, religion and class my family adhered to.

For years I rebelled against these constraints and vocally so. It led to endless fights, countless time-outs and dramatic stand-offs because I felt that no one, least of all my grandfather, understood me.

It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties, when I learnt to accept myself as the emotional, weird writer and unconventional woman I was, that Pa let go of the apron strings too and our relationship improved dramatically.

We could joke about my drunken debauchery in the US and his fumbling courtship of your Great-Grandma; talk about work (even if he still didn’t know exactly what PR was); debate religious convictions (he was the only one in my entire family who accepted my deflection from the Islamic faith without having a nervous breakdown or keep pushing me to choose another religion) and be honest about our feelings ( my proudest moment was when he said I love you to me without me having to say it first).

When I finally learnt to love myself, I discovered that Pa had loved me as I was all along.

The thing that frightened me the most about Pa dying was being truly fatherless for the rest of my life – of not having someone who fiercely loved me, worried about me and looked out for me being there when I needed him the most …

But…

He’d raised me to be a formidable, independent woman who could and would be the pillar of strength he and our family needed during a difficult time. I hope I’ve made him proud.

Happy Father’s Day, Pa! I love you xxx