The Only Way I Know

[Trigger warning: Death]

You don’t look the same.

You might look the same as you did the day before, but the reflection in the mirror is a lie. A part of you is dead now, a part of you, gone forever.


My dad died on Friday. It was a good day. It was a good day because he didn’t suffer, he went quickly and peacefully. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good day for us. You see, we’re still here, alive and quite in pain.

Death is inevitable, it stops for no one and the only mercy it provides is the end of suffering. Because that’s what life is, suffering until you find one shred of happiness to keep you alive for just a bit longer. Some of us last a bit longer than others, but we’re all suffering.

It’s been a while you see, since I had both parents around the same time. My mom worked abroad to provide for us, she had a good job, a good position and most importantly the encouragement of her husband and children who lived back home. My dad retired seven years ago to take care of my brother who was only four and a half when my mom left. She was coming back this October you see, because I was leaving home. She’s back a bit earlier now, and there’s so much to do and so many questions to ask but we’ve gotta do it on our own now. It’ll be difficult, it’ll be painful, it will take time but it will happen.

My dad was far too helpful, far too kind, and far too good for this world. That’s not to say he didn’t have vices, but he was better that that. He didn’t discriminate who he spoke to – he was friends with the watchmen, the vegetable vendors (who helped him trick me into eating my veggies), the Bishops and the Principals of schools in the same way. He helped everyone, whether or not he could. He was hundred times the person I’ll ever be, and if I achieve even ten percent of his way of life, I will consider myself fortunate.

If you came for the funeral, the above sentence will be familiar. It was a part of the eulogy I gave, but it was unpolished. Someone did tell me to write a bit beforehand, but I was a tad preoccupied with something else, you see. But I think I did a good job, and that my dad would’ve liked what I said. He and I shared the same brand of gallows humour, I learned to makes jokes about death and the inevitable end of life from him. It’s where I learned that death is permanent, but the memories I hold will be with me for the rest of my life.

To my friends who came through for me, you don’t know how much your support means to me. You have come across the city (across cities, in fact) to support me and I am truly grateful. You are the family I chose, you are the reason I believe in the goodness of the world. To the neighbours who helped me out more than I can explain, when mom was on her way, you gave me the extra few minutes my dad needed and I will never be able to repay your kindness. To family that came through, I am grateful.

To those that asked me why I didn’t inform them immediately or call them for help, I’m sorry you were a little less important to me than my mother and brother. Maybe I would’ve called you, if I didn’t know of your insensitivity beforehand. I only hope this never happens to you so you never know what it’s like being in my shoes. Because let me tell you, this is the kind of shoe-bite that never stops aching.

To the four-hundred odd people who showed up to celebrate the life of my dad yesterday, you made his journey into the afterlife a little brighter and I thank you for that. Your presence and support keeps us going. Keep us in your prayers (if you’re an atheist, keep us in your well wishes) and if you do one thing today – do something nice for someone else even if (especially if) you have to go out of your way to do it. It’ll make my dad proud and it’ll add a little more joy in this miserable world.

If you didn’t know my dad but still stuck around to read this simply because you were curious or because you knew me (or you stumbled upon my blog accidentally) thank you. This is the only way I know how to say goodbye.

[For those that want to make it, anticipatory mass will be held at IC Church, Borivali on 11th August, 2017 at 7 PM.]


Time is too cruel
I hate us
Now it’s hard to even see each other
Even once anymore
This place is all winter now
It’s winter in August too

How much do I have to miss you
How much does it have to fall like snow
For spring to come



Until next time,

Nia Carnelio.


6 thoughts on “The Only Way I Know

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