Cute, isn’t it? That is me and my dad. My mum took this picture. Nothing too special,right? I mean, most of us have some pictures of ourselves being a baby hold in our parents arms. So why would I post a picture like the one above with a title named “Against the Odds“?
Well, you see, my dad was 34 years old at the moment the picture was taken. Many years before that – when he was 17 or 18 years old – he was attested sterile, after undergoing what can be classified as a traumatic and radical, yet life-saving cancer treatment, or as he always put it “my personal hell on earth”. When preparing for his memorial last November, my mum and I found the letter with the attest. It was utterly strange holding a piece of paper that was testifying the impossibility of my existence. And yet I am here, his own flesh and blood. (There’s another attest that predicted him not living until his 18th birthday… well, he beat these odds, too, by living for 44 more years. In your face, cancer!)
When I look at this picture, I can veritably feel his love. I feel secure and sheltered. I feel exceedingly appreciated.
“You were his gift, the gift he always wanted.”, his sister told me at the memorial. Yet I feel that I am the presentee. I was given the gift of growing up with a wonderful, loving father (and mother, of course, too). I was given the gift of a sheltered childhood.
Obviously I do not have any memories attached to this particular picture. I was way too young. Yet, the smile my dad has in this picture, was the smile he always wore when looking at me. So when I look at this photograph, I remember the moments when his smile made my day: it told me he was proud, it encouraged me, it showed me he was happy, it told me I’d do fine, it took away my worries, it approved of life… to the very end.
It feels a little bit wrong that nowadays, looking at this smile makes me cry.
I love you, dad. And I miss you very, very much!