I am the youngest daughter of 3, and like every daughter would say, “My Daddy is my Superhero!” Sylvia Lewis, shares her journey with her father, her Superman!
A father’s love has no limit. From providing for his family to being a shield or a covering, his love has no bounds. “My daddy was very protective of me and would go to any extent to provide for me. He would come to all my sports events all over Karnataka; he would even take me to practice. I think he was more like a best friend than a father, he was my shadow.” Sylvia loved her father very much. Her father’s entire personality, his candid self, made her who she is today. A father carries the responsibility of his family, one touch from him, one word from him transforms the situation, touches your heart and gives you the strength to face this journey, called life. “He encouraged me and believed in me in all aspects and refused me nothing. Many relatives called me his “ladli,” and because of this, till date, my siblings are jealous of me. Though this article isn’t big enough to jot down all the memories he left behind, I would like to take you guys on a roller coaster ride of the 8 months that my family and I had, when we got the dreaded news.”
When you realize that the one person, the one man in your life is not going to make it, that’s definitely the beginning of a dark phase. It is not easy, not easy at all for such an emotional ride like this. “Five years passed since the beginning of the worst days of my life. My family and I received the worst news possible, that our dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. We learnt about this way too late for the doctors to help out to do much but, thanks to the faith we had in each other, and the fact that my dad was a very brave man. We believed that we could fight this. And trust me, we did.” Sylvia is lucky to have a family that stood strong during a time that was horrifyingly unimaginable. No one will ever be able to understand what they went through. The fear, the tension, the fact that their father was in pain. Thoughts running through their minds like a bullet out of a machine gun! Yes, no one can understand what they went through.
“My siblings and I work in Bangalore and my Mom and Dad were staying in Brahmavar Udupi, back then. So, we had worked out a schedule to go to our hometown and be there for them.” When we stay away from our hometown and from our family, we only crave for our mother’s homemade food and to just go back and smell the fresh air of what we call ours. But things were totally different for Sylvia and her siblings. “Going to our hometown meant that we were not going home, the hospital instead became our new home. The hospital had become such a familiar place as we knew all the doctors, the nurses and the helpers there. They had become a part of our new extended family.”
Christmas is a time of celebration, a season for the families to reunite, to spread love and joy! “I remember getting dressed for Christmas in my dad’s hospital room and going for the morning mass with my siblings. We were always together as a family and we continue to be. The five of us slept in the hospital room the couple of days during Christmas, because we feared that it was going to be our last Christmas with him.” What a way to celebrate Christmas, but as Sylvia said, her family stood knit together and ensured a fairly decent celebration. Daughters look up to their fathers. As the saying goes, “A daughter’s first love is her father.” From playing with him, to relying on him and to holding on to his shoulders tight, a daughter’s love blooms each day. “I missed doing so many things with my dad and I wanted to tick one thing off my list. So, I jumped on the hospital bed and hugged my dad and slept next to him.”
“My dad’s health started deteriorating a couple of weeks after Christmas, and it became more and more difficult to see him.” Sylvia says that she always looked up to her father and to see him in this condition was extremely painful. “Even though I hated for my dad to leave me and go, I never wanted him to suffer like this. I would sometimes secretly pray to God to take him away. I didn’t know whether I was being selfish or considerate. All I knew at that time was for him to feel better.” Her father’s last days were the most difficult for Sylvia. He had changed so much; she says it was very difficult to even recognize him. “My dad sometimes wouldn’t even remember us.” Sylvia started to miss the arguments she had with her father, her dances with him, card games, styling his hair and his warm tight hugs and kisses.
“Though my dad suffered so much during these 8 months, I think my Mom’s struggles were nothing less. She never left his side even once and she was there with him to the end.”
“5 years have passed despite that; my dad’s memories are so fresh in my heart. He might have left us physically, but he has left many memories and stories that will last for a lifetime. Thank you daddy, my Superman. I will always love and miss you.”– Tabitha Kumar