WE have always done things together as a family. Daddy and Mummy made sure of that from the day we were born. He would take time off or come home early from work just to take us to the playground followed by a scrumptious dinner nearby. We did not travel much when we were young partly because money was tight and we were a big group with four children. But because our lives were so fulfilling at home, there was a never a dull day during our childhood. There were always quick trips to the zoo, the beach or to the playground and make-believe games and toys all over the house. Daddy and Mummy made sure that we kids were able to experience a carefree and fun-filled childhood. They enjoyed parenthood as much as we enjoyed our childhood. Eventually we grew up and moved to different cities for work and studies. We spend less time at home and always look forward to the next holiday or semester break so we could catch a bus or carpool home. We would all gather in the master bedroom to update each other on the ups and downs of our own lives. Our home would be lively and loud, even though conflicts are inevitable. But at the end of the day, all would be forgiven. Why hold a grudge against the people you love the most? Even though the siblings do not see each other much on a regular basis, there is always time to talk on the phone, or a short text message in the morning and to arrange for quick visits. Daddy and Mummy taught us an invaluable lesson in life: that family togetherness is key. Regardless of how far we are from each other, how busy we are with our work and studies, how rough life can be at times, the family must stay together and be supportive of one another. Losing a parent is like losing a part of yourself. It is devastating and there are no words to describe the emotions and thoughts that ran through our heads when Daddy breathed his last. We lost not just a husband and a father, but our pillar of strength who was such a big part of our lives. His fatherly presence kept us feeling safe and secure and that no harm could come to us. We have never felt so lost and confused in life. It was like losing your compass and you are stuck in the jungle, all dark and quiet. We did not know how life would be without him being a part of it. How would we get through each day without him? We had made so many plans with him and there were so many questions and no answers to any of them. It has been over two months since you left us, Daddy. We still find ourselves greeting you at the dining table and still anticipate your calls in the morning and noon for breakfast or lunch. We wait for you to call for us at the main door when we hear your Rusa van crooning at the gate. When we are out for a meal, our eyes occasionally glance at the van parked outside, imagining that you are with a client and jotting down some last-minute notes and would be joining us shortly. We even wait in the master bedroom with Mummy as we always do when we are all home from wherever we are for you to come up for a quick drinking and movie session. But nothing happens, and we are once again reminded that you are no longer with us. Through this period of grieving, I realised that family togetherness is needed now more than ever before. Through books on Buddhism and prayers, we are able to find the balm to ease the aching pain deep in our hearts and to find the answers to the many questions we have in our minds. In the eyes of the public, we may appear to be strong and resilient and that we have “moved on” with our lives. But at home, our guards are lowered and we allow ourselves to have the occasional relapses, to cry, to scream, to talk, just to relieve the pent-up grief we have held in for so long. However painful and devastating this incident is, I have faith that we will regain our strength and eventually continue with our lives, with memories of you close to our hearts, to pass on your legacy, and the life lessons that you have imparted to us throughout our days at home with you. Thank you Daddy for teaching us what being family is all about, for granting us a beautiful home and a lovely childhood, to be fighters in life, to stand up for what we believe in and to pursue our dreams. We will stay close as that is how we were raised from the beginning.