Tag Archives: grief

How I Met Your Father: the one where I’ve had it with grieving

Kids, I am no stranger to grief. Since my Dad died the week after my 11th birthday, I have been well accquainted with this gods-awful, sucks balls emotion. At age 32 and a half in 2018, though, I was f***ing done with it… DONE!

dealing with grief
Image credit: http://www.threadsoflife.ca

See, just when I was regaining some semblance of a normal life after losing my grandpa two years earlier, the loss of a huge part of my life was looming because of political reasons and that f***ing horrible feeling of hollowness and devastation had returned.

No, this loss wasn’t a person but it was something that I had loved, nutured, cared for, fought for and I finally felt as if I had found my place in and losing it or at least, the current state of it, broke my heart just as badly.

Death, in life or the ending of something was truly a f***tard!

fuck death
Image credit: http://www.boldomatic.com

I veered between not eating and overeating, not being able to talk about it without crying,not sleeping or oversleeping, being mad and sad and confused all at the same time, denying it was happening… basically, all of the stages of grief, except acceptance.

I wasn’t ready to accept the loss yet because it meant that things would never,ever be the same again.

not ready for this
Image credit: Buzzfeed.com

Logically, I knew that this situation couldn’t go back to being what it was ever again but the idea of what awaited in the future just wasn’t something I could handle either.

Grief, you motherf***er, go the f*** away!

 

How I Met Your Father: Reflections on 20 years without my Dad

20161113_161629-01

“I hear babies crying, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world” – Louis Armstrong

Kids, I really hate the date 23 November. It’s the date in 2015 when we were told your great-grandfather was dying and it’s the date in 1996 when we lost your grandfather, my Dad, to a violent and senseless crime.

That this date is exactly a week after my birthday on 16 November, is something I have been haunted by for decades. It seems like a lifetime ago when one week my family and friends were gathered around one table celebrating my birth and the next, those same people were crying around a body.

It’s why I make a huge fuss about my birthday each year – I need to be surrounded by love and happiness because the next week, I won’t be.

On the 23rd,   I withdraw from everything and everyone and I don’t usually talk about my Dad because even after all this time, the loss of him is equally painful and liberating. I know you won’t understand that, because you’ve never met him but Dad and I had a complex relationship. We still do.

It sounds clichéd, having Daddy issues, but my father was a force like no other. Fun-loving, daring, loving, passionate, creative and my all-time hero; Faizel Williams also had a very dark, frightening side I was often exposed to. I loved both parts of him in equal measures but I would be lying if I said it didn’t have an effect on how I engage with people, especially men, as an adult.

Eleven is a really young age to have to deal with grief – hell, your aunt Sam was eight – and a loss like that leaves an undeniable mark on your psyche, your soul and your heart.

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The Williams Four in 1988

Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to not having my Dad around for the big things – matric dances, first crushes, first boyfriends, first job, my graduations, my driver’s licence test, my first international trip, my wedding and your births.

It’s the small things, though, that still trip me up – I want to be able to call him when I am sad or mad or hungry; get a big bear hug when I need it or dance in the middle of a busy road because our favourite song is playing.

I ache for a missing parent but I count my lucky stars for the one who is still around. Your Nan Soraya, though, Kids, is unbelievably incredible. She’s been there for all of the big moments and every little one in between and she did it all on her own. Sam and I are so incredibly lucky to have such a Supermom!

On 23 November, 2016, Your Nan, Aunt Sam and I remembered your grandfather on his 20th death anniversary with one of his favourite songs:

We love you, Daddy, always xx

 

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