My Father in Heaven

(The following is a letter to my earthly father who died in August 2009. As he was of Greek origin, some words will be phonetically spelt in Greek and translated immediately after in parantheses as this was the way we spoke when he was alive.)

Agapimene Mou Baba (My Beloved Dad),

I still don’t believe that you have gone. Sometimes I think you’ve gone on holiday to see your koumbaro (best man) or that I am awaiting your return from one of your Greek clubs or visits to a friend’s house for coffee.

I cry almost every day (in the beginning it was everyday) for so many reasons…I miss you…I regret that you didn’t see any grandchildren from me…I recall the day you had the stroke, your struggle to speak and to move…I still see you fighting for every breath, sweating waterfalls when you were taken off life support two weeks later.

Mas akouges, Baba (Did you hear us, Dad)? Did you hear us telling you that we loved you, that if breathing was too difficult you could move on to be with your parents and brothers in Heaven? Mas evlepes, Baba (Did you see us, Dad)? Did you see us crying at the hospital, at home, at the wake, at the funeral?

Akouses tou yiou sou ta logia (Did you hear your son’s words)? Did you hear the words he wrote on behalf of us all at your funeral, the words read out by the young Orthodox priest at our local church? Did you hear about the impact you had on our lives, the lessons you taught us and how you will be greatly missed?

Despite the lack of closeness and emotional support from you throughout my life, I still loved and will always love you. I never heard those words from you but I knew you felt them and showed your love in ways that suited you – by working hard to leave a legacy that will help me build a solid foundation for my future; by warning me about some of the pitfalls in life; by telling me to put on a jacket or not to sit on concrete when the weather cooled and – what I recall with most affection – the trips to the doctor which were followed by comfort/junk food as you felt sorry for me (sometimes you cried when I did).

The fact that I have not lived a traditional Greek woman’s or daughter’s life was a disappointment for you, I know. However, I am also aware that you were proud of the fact that I was educated and good with people, especially children. Of course, I had to hear all this second-hand from others. Toward the end of your life (which, freakishly enough you did know was coming), I believe you accepted me for who I am – the unique contribution that I have to offer the world – instead of being unhappy about the fact that I didn’t live up to your expectations in several areas of life – for this I will always be grateful.

I am aware that you’re much happier up there with the Angels and this is a source of comfort for me.

S’agapo Baba                 (I love you, Dad

eonia sou I mnimi           you will forever be remembered

i kori sou Eleni                 your daughter, Helen)

© New Age Power (Helen Papadopoulos)

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