On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

Part 3: Reflection & Respect

This is the third post of six in a series called Life Without Dad that will be made throughout 2012 about my life without my father. The first post, Life Goes On, was posted back on January 25th. The second post, Urgency & Complacency, was posted on Fathers Day.  The last three parts will be posted on Thanksgiving, December 28th, and New Years. The loss of a parent is never easy, the loss of the parent who you didn’t necessarily get along with but were always able to talk to is even harder. Thank you to all of my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances for your support during this, the, first year of the rest of my life.


Dad, today would have been your 68th birthday. Sadly though, it has been seven months and one week since you passed away. One week consists of seven days. So it has been seven months and seven days since you passed away, Masood’s birth date is September 9, 1977. This seems to be yet anther of the many subliminal messages you are sending me. Over the last 7 months there have been a good number of times where I have looked down at my phone, computer, or iPad only to see that it has 77% charge left in the battery. I did not think anything of this at first, but after it started happening with more consistency I felt more and more that you were sending me subliminal messages telling me to fix my strained relationship with Masood.

I have given it my all to “fix” my relationship with Masood for much of the last four or five years and in your absence I have continued trying to fix it. Dad, you and Masood always felt I could do more to help the family. The fact is, I could have but there is no way to change the past. What’s done is done and now it is my wish for Masood to realize this and move on.

Ultimately, you were telling me that there is no changing the past or predicting the future my whole life. That said, I always wanted to change the mistakes I made and did not understand that merely changing my ways in the NOW would allow for those mistakes I made in the past to not be repeated. Dad, I will be starting classes back at DePaul tomorrow and after a number of struggles with my coursework will be completing my undergraduate degree in March 2013. There will be no more delays in my degree conferral, March is the finish line and that is that.

As hard as it was, there were many times where I felt like just throwing in the towel and education continues to be very important to me through all of this. While I wish to keep going and until I have achieved a doctorate of some sort I am not sure my past mistakes will allow for that chance and it pains me to think that I could be done with my education, aside from some certificate programs, after March 2013.

I have no one to blame for this but myself. Dad, reflection was always something you encouraged of me. You would always ask me reflection questions during good times and bad, in passing and during serious conversations. These questions would always make me think even after we were done talking (and sometimes even keep me up for nights in a row).

Dad, you were the only one in this family who truly understood me; Even though I never showed, through my actions, while you were alive that I was grateful to you for everything you did for me, I am going to show it, through my actions, moving forward. Dad, I know deep down that even though you can no longer convey cryptic messages to me such as that night in early November after my interview in Crystal Lake, when in passing you said, “Einstein was a slow starter too”, that you are still watching over my left shoulder wishing you could; I have every bit of confidence that when I see you in the afterlife you will be able to praise me for taking care of mom, Masood, and Frieda the in same way you took care of us for the last 34 years. Dad, thank you for being the role model you were and teaching me to never give up.

Dad, the only lesson that will ever mean more to me than the lesson of reflection is that of RESPECT. This is something that I definitely still have my issues with and it is something I continue to work on. But these are two lessons you taught me that I continue to live by. I reflect daily on the times where I failed to respect someone else or myself and those reflections are helping me make tremendous strides to be more respectful to everyone around me.

RIP Dad. September 4, 1944 – December 28, 2011.