I few months back I wrote a post on what I would do if I had only six months to live: my no-regret bucket list. It was a list of steps I needed to take to heal relationships that are important to me: with my dad, with my brother and with my ex. Little did I know that the universe was going to conspire and deliver situations to me in no time that would catapult me into resolving them way sooner than I ever thought I would. The delivery was plain brutal in some respects, plain beautiful in others.
My list has caught up with me. I didn’t think I was ready. But life thought I was. Last Monday I got a text from my aunty whom I’ve met only once in my entire life – three years ago, shortly after I first saw my dad again, for the first time after 29 years of no contact whatsoever. Last Monday my aunty told me he’d been brought into hospital and my very first thought was: I need to get there. I need to get there. And way earlier than I ever thought I would I did item number two of my no-regret bucket list…
For a very long time I’ve been carrying around the heavy weight of my past, a story of childhood hurts that I kept telling myself over and over again until it defined me. My dented trust in life’s innate beauty, my need to control and improve whatever and whoever was around me, my lack of playfulness, as it turns out, were once needed ways to ring-fence my vulnerable core from the heavy storms of life. I had become resilient, or at least I thought so.
Two years ago I saw my dad – for the first time in 29 years. Our paths had separated when I was nine years old and my parents got a divorce. It was a sudden end to the life I had known. Before I realized my dad was gone. My mom, my siblings and I moved away to live with our new stepfather. I never heard from my dad again. It took me 29 years to find the courage to write to him.