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A photo of my late father holding my sister and me when he visited his sister in Welisara back in the year 1983.

My father was a nobody. But…

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In my previous post titled “Don’t Waste Your Lonely Christmas,” I shared four things I did to transform a lonely Christmas into a memorable experience. Today I want to share a few memories about my beloved father, who is no longer with me. “What’s so special about your father?” You may ask. Well, my father was a nobody, but he was a man of honour who lived by a biblical code of conduct and a set of Christian principles. Mentioned below to inspire you is how I remember that man of honour. [Pic: My sister and me with our father in the year 1984.]

My father loved my Mother

My sister was the last person that spoke with my father. His last words were, “Where is mommy?” He died in his sleep a few hours later, five days after he was admitted to the hospital. Did he know his time had come? I will never know. I know he loved my mother for the past 39 years until he breathed his last. Thirty-nine years is a long period in terms of marriage. During that long period, my father never raised a finger against her. He was faithful to her, even in his thoughts. He remained by her side in health and sickness. He wasn’t embarrassed to call her his wife even after diabetes and old age claimed her youth.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the year 2013

Whether it was for business or leisure, he refused to travel out of town or the country without her. She had travelled to nine countries with him. My father was a nobody, but he loved my mother till death did them part. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

My father loved his Children

He was the father of my sister, and my brother also. I am his firstborn, and my brother is the last. After his death, my mother shared a memory of old about him for the first time. “Your sister less than three months after she was born would cry endlessly refusing to sleep unless your father or I held her. That condition lasted for some time until the Parish Priest blessed her with holy water. Until then, for many months, your father would hold her and walk back and forth inside the bedroom, until daybreak so that she will fall asleep. He loved you all so much. For him, the family was first.”

He worked hard to provide for our needs, from food to shelter, clothes, and medicine. He gave us a quality education because he wanted us to reach the heights he couldn’t. He developed our character by not sparing us the rod. He prayed for our well-being and trained us in the ways of God. He never gave up, even when we failed to meet his expectations. Instead, he encouraged us to do better. He defended and protected us when we faced danger. His love for us was evident in many ways, but the things I mentioned above made it obvious. My father was a nobody, but he loved us until he breathed his last. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

My father was a loving Son

My father was the fifth born of seven children in a family burdened with many financial challenges. His father (my grandfather) passed away when he was in his teen years, leaving the family’s burden on his mother (my grandmother). For many years she would get up at two in the morning and bake, which she sold to a nearby bakery.

My father always remembered his mother’s sacrifice for the family with gratitude. He was forever in her debt. In her late fifties, my father brought her to our house to live with us. He supported her and looked after her. He witnessed to her the love of Christ and got her to receive the water baptism and accept Christ as her saviour. She was over 95 years old when she died. Her death made my father quite miserable, although he did not talk about it to anyone. My father was a nobody, but he loved his mother more than any of her other children did. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

My father was Compassionate

One day my father bought me ice cream when he saw two other children watching us from afar. He walked back to the Ice Cream Van, bought another, and gave it to them. It happened thirty-three years ago, but I vividly remember the expression of joy on their faces as if it was yesterday.

He was merciful and gracious even to those who sought to harm him. He was an employer concerned about the welfare of his employees. He was a brother and a friend that often went out of his way to help others. My father was a nobody, but he helped others without expecting any benefits in return because an attitude of compassion drove his actions. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

My father was a man of Integrity

In my hometown’s business community, it is customary to give a token of appreciation to law enforcement officers every Christmas. These gifts are often comprised of alcohol and cigarettes. However, my father was known for offering a New Testament and sharing Christ’s love, which touched those police officers’ hearts. They respected his faith because of his actions.

My father was a nobody, but he practiced what he preached. He respected law and order and conducted his business in keeping with a code of ethics. He refused bribery and shunned ill-gained profits. He paid the wages on time without holding back a penny and his income tax faithfully. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

My father was a hero from Zero

Maruti Suzuki C800 – His first brand-new car

I remember watching my father go to work on his foot cycle. I was a toddler at that time. Sometime later he upgraded to a “Chaly” a Mini Bike by Honda. After Chaly’s engine ultimately gave up after many years of labour, he upgraded to a used “Benly Super – CD 90”. His first car was so old I thought it was a disgrace. The second car was somewhat better, but that was another used vehicle and out of style. His first brand-new car was a Maruti Suzuki 800 AC. As time went by, he felt the need for a much more spacious vehicle and bought a Suzuki Wagon R. (He used to drive people back home after the Sunday mass). For many years he couldn’t afford a brand-new vehicle because he made an honest living. My father was nobody, but he was a hero from zero. It’s the reason why I call him a man of honour.

Wrap Up

My father was born on January 1st, 1951, two years after Sri Lanka gained independence. He died on September 19th, 2020 aged 69. Many people, including family, friends, neighbors, former employees, and business partners, turned out for the funeral. Many others missed it because they did not know. We had to rush the burial because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s natural for people to say good things about the deceased at a funeral, but I realized people who spoke about my father at his funeral spoke from the heart. He was a man of honour.

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