Dear Dad

Were you closer to your father or mother growing up?

I’ve always been closer to my mother growing up, definitely. In fact, all 3 of us have always grown up more fond of my mum (if not by a mile closer) as my mum is always home with us most of the time.

Describe your relationship with your father growing up.

It’s funny how distant my dad and I are when we are both so similar. We’re both outgoing & enjoy lots of conversation with people (I got this side of me from my dad obviously). We are so natural talking to our friends but are so “formal” when we talk to each other, let alone deep conversation between a son and his dad.

I guess my memory of my dad is that he used to play with me & my brother when we were still babies and naughty young kindies. Then as we grew up, we grew apart. He just felt like a stranger who stays with us all the time.

How did that relationship change as you became an adult?

Our relationship didn’t change much as I became an adult because that was the norm –  we just didn’t talk. I would hear things about my dad from my mum. I felt like he was an unfamiliar figure who was married to my mum.

It was not until some years back that I was being encouraged  that to restore the brokenness in my family, I will have to restore the relationship with my dad. And that it was unhealthy to take sides and have this lop-sided relationship with either one of my parents.

But I only fully understood this near the last few moments and after my mum passed away.

My mum passed away on the 4th day after our first ever MCO lockdown began in 2020. My mum progressively went into an unconscious state and we brought her into hospital the night right before the lockdown (17th March). While many were struggling over groceries, we were fighting for our mum’s survival. Bringing my mum to the hospital was stepping into uncharted territories. With each visitation limit being a mere 10 – 15 minutes, I was even more frustrated. Dealing with the loss of someone (although not Covid related) during MCO was just tough.

How did your relationship with him change after your mother passed away?

After my mum passed away, I tried to get closer to my dad. It was tough to get through all the barriers and awkwardness and I had to learn day by day how to get to know my dad more. I invited him to come home more often for meals, and involved him more in my plannings, my life, and vice versa, involved myself more & more in my dad’s life. 

What went through your mind when he was diagnosed with Covid?

When my dad was diagnosed with covid, it felt like dejavu. The same old MCO 1.0 repeating itself in MCO 3.0. The drive to the hospital is daunting. Seeing my dad being pushed into the emergency ward, gave me a really familiar, yet unpleasant feeling in my heart. I thought to myself, “Is this it? Is my dad gonna leave us like how my mum did?” Those thoughts couldn’t stop playing through my mind.

Tell us how you dealt with the experience of him being in the ICU due to Covid

While he was in the ICU, it was just me and my sister at home. Tired but sleepless. Hungry till we were numb, yet we cannot let our guard down from sanitizing every surface my dad touched before he left for the hospital. Two days passed with an unusual quietness at home. Then came a call at 5:30 in the morning.

This was two days after my dad was admitted to ICU and they told us they will have to intubate my dad. Again, it was exactly what my mum went through. It was after this point that she lost consciousness and eventually left us. After the phone call, I told my sister and her tears brought sadness & fear to my heart. 

Although my dad didn’t have a history of any major illness, which gives him a much higher chance to win this battle against Covid, all I could do was to imagine the worst.

Before he was intubated, I encouraged my dad to pray to God. To pray to Jesus as we were praying for him, and to pray to God himself.

Although my thoughts were filled with fear, I prayed a prayer of faith believing that my dad would not just be healed, but will experience God and His peace. And after just over 24hours of anxious wait, we were filled with joy as our prayers had been answered! My dad has woken up from sedation.

I was so happy because this time the story has a different ending. This time, my dad can hear us and respond to us and is not just lying in bed unconscious for days.

Was there anything that you didn’t tell him before that you were afraid you’d never get to say?

I love my dad. It’s something that I’ve never said before. But I said it for the first time through a recorded prayer to him. I am glad I gathered up my courage to tell him that before I lost my last chance to say it. And now I am glad that I have more opportunities to tell him I love him, again and again.