My father died.

Surreal! Lets try that again.

Hann pabbi minn er dáinn.
(It somehow only makes sense in Icelandic.)

There it became real. Surreal but still real and the combination of the two blow my mind.
It takes a while, they say.

My father was a quiet man. He was solid, sometimes funny and always opinionated although he sometimes only let you know what he felt with that look only fathers can give.

My father was bipolar. We all have our ups and downs but his was a life of deep depression combined with severe mania, and then times when he went a long while without the severe ups and downs. Throughout my life I’ve been trying to see through the illness he had and see the “real” man behind the mask of the illness. What was him? What was “only” the illness?

He was a good man, no matter what. He wanted only good for people and he loved his family above all else. But I still felt the need to separate the illness from the person.

It isn’t until now that he’s gone that I realise that it didn’t matter. It never did. The illness is dark and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy but there is beauty in the extreme. Look at Robin Williams and what he gave the world in form of entertainment, laughter and sorrow. Coloured by his illness, it’s absurd to even think of him without it. And the same goes for my father.

Hann pabbi minn er dáinn.

And the world is a little darker. A little bigger. And more frightening.
But if there was anything I learned from my father it was that people can stand up from anything. When he needed to be strong he stood up and acted. He took care of me, and he took care of his ageing parents – especially his father, my grandfather, who had alzheimer and was at home till the day he died.

“Thank you” my grandfather repeated again and again the day he died, “thank you for everything”.

The last conversation I had with my father he asked “And you are doing good? Are you happy? Are you alright?”
“Yes dad” I said, “we’re good”.
There was a short silence and then he asked again as if to make sure: “And you’re sure? You’re doing good?”
“I’m doing good” I said. And we ended on happy notes. I was going to visit later this summer. He was upbeat.

He was a strong man, my father, and it will be a long time before I will quit thinking that it’s him calling when my phone rings. It will be a long time before I will quit thinking that “it’s been a long time, I should call my dad”.

Hann pabbi minn er dáinn.
It will ever only make sense in Icelandic. It’s like saying “I love you” in another tongue than your own mother tongue, some things only make sense in your language. 

He was a strong man, warm and quiet and I will miss talking to him. I will miss all the stories he had to tell and sometimes still did. I miss his warm smile (his smile was warmer than other people’s) and I will miss the way he checked in on me to see if I was alright even if we were very far apart for very long.

Hann pabbi minn er dáinn. And the world makes a little less sense.
But I will follow his lead, stand up tall and take it one step at a time.
There is no other way. 

My father was 77 years old and died of cancer on the 21st of July 2014. And I owe a lot of thanks to my relatives (especially R) who have stood strong beside him.


P.S. And If you ask and are curious and kind then maybe one day I will tell you about the hare.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kip says:

    There is truth within this that only after such a loss as your father’s passing can one really understand & appreciate.

    The person is a whole…composed of the parts of them that make that whole “them”. To be denied of any part of it would be to denied of all that that person was.

    This is a magnificent, heart-wrenching tribute (and after I read the paragraph about your grandfather saying “thank you” over and over, it became eye-welling…)

    You have given validation to the “whole” of the man…not an easy thing to share, to do or to express sincerely…I would hope I can do this one day when my turn comes…


    1. Eygló Daða says:

      Thank you Kip! It was not an easy thing to write so after a lot of attempts I gave myself a time frame and then stuck with it. xx


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