It’s been nearly two years now… And yet it feels like yesterday to me.
To me, you’re still in your room; you’re still here with us.
Now you’re coming in my room to make sure I closed the windows because “you’re gonna catch a cold again”. And I will roll my eyes and give you the I-know-Daddy-I’m-all-grown-up-now look. "You don’t have to worry about me, Dad, I’m a tough nut. But, for Christ sake, stop eating so much, you have such high cholesterol levels." You’ll shrug again: “Oh, don’t worry. I never get sick.”
Until, one day, you did. Out of the blue, without a warning sign. I still remember the day you sat in your chair, gathered all four of us around you and told us the news.
Cancer. Stage? Too far gone to reverse. But you never gave up. “It’s going to be okay, I’ll be back to work after summer.” You’re a terrible liar, Dad. I could see it in your eyes. Nothing was ever going to be the same again.
With each passing day I saw you struggling. Fighting the death sentence you were given, aching all over your body and mind, getting weaker and weaker; Struggling to be strong for all four of us, when you yourself have lost all hope. But you did fight, Dad. You fought with such passion and dignity, better than any soldier ever did on the battlefield.
For five months I witnessed what I later realized was the swan song of the bravest man on earth. It couldn’t have been any other way. I know that now. You had to set the right example, you had to teach us that, whatever life gives you, no matter how excruciatingly painful it is, you have to man up and face it. Not only for yourself, but for the ones who are left behind as well. Mission accomplished, Dad. Mission accomplished…
Vivian Boukouvala ©