A father for all seasons | Sunday Observer

A father for all seasons

My mother breathed her last, a few moments after I was born. My beloved father turned a widower, literally holding a baby girl in his arms. Mt father had not cried.

All around him had shed many a tear. He had kept on gazing my mother now serenely resting in a casket. I had been on his lap happily sleeping in a basket. It had been an unbearable scene for those in the funeral house. Later, my father had called his mother and my late mother’s mother and told them that I belonged to them and that he would always be with them.

The two grandmothers had said that my father should find a partner. No! Never. There will be only two from this world. The other will look after all of us from wherever she is. The two grandmothers had often heard him cry in the room. My lovely guardians took turns in taking care of me, from milestone to milestone in my life. He took me to the school van every day. They were there to escort me whenever I had some work after class. I grew up in an atmosphere of abundant love from my adorable father and two sugary and spicy grandmothers. My father took us to places of religious and tourist interest.

To me, my father was my hero. I related endless tales of his heroic deeds at times grossly exaggerated, to my classmates and my teachers. My friends listened in awe. My teachers had often wept. He was the most sought after parent at all parent-teachers meetings.

How much they marveled about his unfathomable dedication to a motherless child. Without his knowledge he was their hero. An example to all fathers. He took me to my friend’s birthday parties.

Their mothers were the life of the parties. Serving, organising games and playing the piano. I could see my father at times wiping a tear, while chatting with his friends. Yes! We had a piano, but no mother to play. Why? My darling father consoled me. “Amma was a beautiful pianist. Amma’s and my wish is that you should be a famous musician.”

As prophesied, I became an excellent pianist and also a doctor and I married a doctor. My father had sacrificed a lot and saved a lot to make me a happy and vivacious bride. I clung to my darling father’s arm as we walked up to my partner, who was to be with me in sickness and in health. I could imagine my father’s feelings, he seemed so elated. We cut the cake. As arranged, I gave a wee bite from our piece of wedding cake to my husband’s parents and my father. It was followed by a massive ovation. My sweet father walked away. Everybody knew why!

My father loved to listen to me playing his and my late mother’s favourite piano renditions. On many occasions he used to recall memories of how as newlyweds, he and my mother had enjoyed life together going places, laughing and having a good time.

My husband and I never ever said that we had no time to listen to his tales of the past. Anything for a beloved father.

His joy knew no bounds in the years to come. He was the recipient of two adorable gifts in the form of two precious lumps of mischief. Two lovely grandchildren! They were thoroughly spoilt and pampered by a doting grandfather.

One day we were out shopping and there was a slight drizzle. We were hurrying to our car and I slipped. A split second action by my father, he pushed me away and actually dragged me by legs away from a speeding trishaw. He fell and struck his head on the pavement.

We were by his bedside. He was clasping our hands, my husband’s and mine. Our medical colleagues were with us. Our little ones were also on either side, leaning against him.

He was gripping my hand. Suddenly the grip loosened. I felt his pulse. A gentle heart of a father for all seasons had ceased to beat. There is a Sinhala saying ‘what use is there of a father when the mother is no more’, which is really not true in my case.

To me, my blessed father was the most exalted person from my cradle to his grave!