I will never get to say, இனிய பிறந்தநாள் வாழ்த்துகள் வாப்பா (Happy Birthday, Father) again.
The very first thing I do on my father's birthday is, wish him. My father was not really keen on birthday wishes. This year onward, I will get to say it.
Growing up in a Kilakarai-Tamil-Muslim household, it may be a cultural thing that we were not exposed to saying “I Love You” explicitly. It's always known. We never doubted the love and affection from our parents. However, after my late teen years, my father hugs me and say “I love you, my son or I'm proud of you, my son”. I have felt awkward when I hear him say that. Not because I didn't like it. It was because I did not know how to receive it.
I love my father very much. I see him as my hero. During his last days, it never donned on me to say “I Love You Vappa”. When his soul departed right next to us, I stood there helpless and forsaken. I will never get to say “I Love You, My Father”.
He taught us good manners and values. We can vouch that he has embodied the words of the Holy Messenger of God Almighty (SAW), as quoted in the Book of Tirmidhi:
There is no gift that a father gives his children more virtuous than good manners.
By God's will, my siblings and I will strive to be true to the Holy Messenger's words like our father.
We Miss You, My Beloved Father. I Love You, My Dearest Vappa!
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