Dear dad,

I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to you. But in a way it’s better like that because I hate goodbyes. They are too definite and sad and I’d rather keep the communication going between us.

If I learnt something from your death, it is that life is precious and time is so valuable. We can’t waste our life with petty little fights, too many mindless tasks or anything that brings us down. We have to appreciate the time we’re given and make the most of it. “Live everyday like it’s your last…” Everyone has heard that one before. It’s a bit extreme I would say. Not many of us can afford to do that but we can all carve out some time during our day to talk to a loved one. Send a nice message. Enjoy a little bit of sunshine on our faces. A fresh cup of coffee. Smile. Something to make our day and even the day of others a little bit better.

I have yet to come to terms with the fact that you’re gone. That you’re not on earth anymore. That I can’t just dial your number and talk to you. That I will never receive a WhatsApp message from you again with your standard emojis: smiley with sunglasses, thumbs up, smiley with cowboy hat, occasionally the upside down smiley and when something was especially hilarious the crying from laughter one. I can’t quite grasp it yet and it will take some time for me to realise that this is my reality now.

Some days are harder than others. Some days it’s hard to find meaning in our day-to-day lives. What do I need to get up for? To grind, to work all day only to fall into bed at night? What do we do it for? To earn enough money so we can spend it all when we are retired? You worked all your life but you didn’t get to see retirement. You were so close. 2 weeks away. How can that be fair? I say it isn’t. Life isn’t fair. Life is a sum of ups and downs and if you do it right at the end of it, you can look back with a sense of contentment, maybe even fulfilment. Make sure you make the best of it, because if I know something now more than ever, it is that we all have no clue when we’re going to take our last breath.

Dad, I’d say you can lean back with a big smile and look back at your life with pride. You’ve done it right. You took the downs with dignity and climbed right back to the top again. You grew up, had a family, provided for your family, saw it all fall apart, kept going and found love again. I reckon the last part of your life was probably your happiest. Both of your kids all grown up, with relationships/families of their own, a beautiful granddaughter and a life filled with travelling together with your soulmate.

In your 60 years alive you achieved what many people don’t get to see in their lifetime. You truly loved and shared countless experiences with your loved ones. I’ve learnt so much from you. Saw how you lived your life and took every challenge that came your way. We could rely on you no matter what. I always had the utmost respect for you. You have been and always will be a role model for me.

Let’s not forget the silliness and the goofing around. Not to take things too seriously and be able to make fun of yourself, that's another thing I learnt from you. Having fun, laughing, appreciating the little things and enjoying the good things in life. No-one does it better than you when you sit down on a bench in the sun after a walk in the mountains, cigarette in one hand and a cold beer in the other, saying: “Das ist Leben.” This is life. The pure enjoyment you felt and instilled in us, to pause and appreciate a beautiful view, a good meal, the afternoon sun. This is something that will forever connect me to you because whenever I pause to enjoy the moment, I will be thinking of you and I know you will be there with me in that moment.

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