CREDOS : Paternal love — III

Perhaps as his body became more vulnerable, his desire to control loosened. Maybe his shield of invulnerability simply weakened, and he must have realised that he was only human and needed to love and be loved.

About three months into his hospice care, I went to visit him on a dreary December day with rain pouring outside. I took a seat by his side and held his hand. I cried some, as it was clear his days were counted.

My father gently lifted my hand to his lips and tenderly kissed it. Then he looked at me, and there was a light shining through his eyes and emanating from him; I knew God was in the room, and I trembled.

“You look beautiful,” my father said to me as I sat there with swollen red eyes and heavy heart. My father’s face was so peaceful and full of naked and undisguised love, and then I got it: my father had always loved me fully but had been unable to show it, choosing to hide it deep within himself.

Now, with both his and my own efforts, he dropped all the veils and gave me the most precious gift in the world, one I feel unbelievably blessed to have received. That brief moment of his full love was so powerful that it seemed to make up for years of going without it.

Three days later, my father died in his sleep at home, his heart open. Together, we worked until the very end to reshape and edit the pages of our father-daughter story, and we managed to give it a happy ending. — (Concluded)