"The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say"
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Memories: My Father

Two months ago, on the 8th of March, marked nine years since my father passed away. I did not remember then, only remembering today because of other sad circumstances which I've found myself in this past week.

I realised with a shock that the memory of his physical appearance is fading, it's getting farther and farther away, retreating to the far corners of my mind. It is like last night's dream- hovering on the edge of memory but difficult to recall or grasp. The memory itself seems like a memory of a memory, or, as Robert Jordan would say, 'escaping and spread like dust on the wind', never to be regained. 

Of course I remember that he was very tall and imposing, I remember the after school chats, my obviously boring daily accounts of what would have happened at school- which he patiently and lovingly listened to, the jokes and the walks. I remember too, the deep voice, and the sense of power and immortality dad projected.

More clear are the memories of feelings, the love and the sense of security I got when he was around. The sacrifices he made to make our lives more comfortable, the loving smile and the stern warnings. At least now I am certain that these will never go away and for that I'm grateful.

There are obviously some positives to be gained from my forgetfulness, the pain is no longer as sharp as it used to be. The passage of time eroded memories and pain alike and now I can look back on those dim memories without shedding too many tears.

But the realisation that I'm forgetting made me sad, and I imagined what I'd remember, say, in forty years- nothing. Would it seem like he never existed? At this rate, sad as it may see, that is a possibility.

I wish I could remember more, I wish I could remember everything, but sadly, the memories have, over the years, slipped from my mind. I was almost twelve when he died and that, coupled with the fact that I have been quite busy- and perhaps subconsciously trying to forget- makes it even harder to remember.

So I opened my eyes and saw the world differently. I decided to clutch those faint memories and make sure that they never grow fainter. I decided to fan the flame of those dim memories, to make them burn forever in my heart and mind.

I will try to become the man he wanted me to be.

And I will not forget the anniversary of his death again, nor will I ever forget his birthday.

I will not forget any more of what I remember now. I will gather more about him, things I once knew and even those I never did.

I will retrace the footsteps of my life and renew the memories, go back to the places dad walked, the people dad loved, the people dad talked to and other people with whom he shared his life.

Most importantly I will spend more time with my family, more time with my mother, my brothers and sisters, my uncles, aunts and friends; so that when, one day, they depart from this earth, I will have rich and numerous great memories of their lives.

I will appreciate the living because  I have realised that they can become the dead without warning.

And I will make sure that the memory of my father never dims.

I hope you do the same to the people in your life.