This date. 2 seconds.
My dad and me — When distance brings you closer to a person
Today is a special day. It will forever be a special day. On this day one year ago, my father almost died.
But fortunately, he didn’t. Fortunately, he took up his phone at the right time. A few seconds more waiting to call the emergency services, and this day would be the day of my father’s death, and not the day of my father’s rebirth, neither the rebirth of our strong relationship. A few seconds more and my father would have left me fatherless. This day, I assume you understand, means a lot me and is filled with so many emotions. But let’s step back a bit, and start with…
My dad and me. My dad and me, we did a lot together, he did a lot for me.
During the nights of my childhood, I listened to bedtime stories he invented, in which his hippo plushy experienced crazy stories and adventures. He even recorded them, so that I could listen to them during the day — I really believed that a hippo plushy was riding on a horse through the Wild West. When my father came back from work, he played football with me and my older brother in the backyard of the block where we first lived in, clothing poles were the goalposts for our games. At 3 and a half years old the clothes poles turned into real poles, when I followed my brother and signed up for a football club. Since then and the following 16 years, my dad supported me without exception during my football career, attending three training sessions a week, driving me to games and/or tournaments on the weekends. For a few years, he even coached me. Apart from football we spend hours watching films together. I watched nearly every classic film of the 60s and 70s, and every good Western film. We played video games, went on vacations together and watched the football games of my siblings together — all in all we had a good relationship. One day changed that.
The evening when my parents told my siblings and me that they will separate, the relationship to your mother and to your father changes after that. Change is not the right word though, the relationship dies.
Between me and my father it was the same. However, we quickly got back on track, me trying to support him, helping him to get through his hardest time.
2013 we spend our vacation together. During the two weeks in Corsica we talked for the first time about the past relationship between him and my mom. I listened to stories, that I before not even could have imagined. My view on my parents changed. My view on my life and my childhood was turned upside down. In a way, I felt robbed. Pictures and experiences of my childhood were now messed up and felt false. However, it felt good to talk to my dad about all that was happening in our relationship was quite good during this time. After the vacations, I started studying and I stopped playing football. Taking away one of our connections, losing the time he used to watch me play. In general I got way more occupied, I started working out in the gym alongside studying, and my visits got less and less. Even 9 months ago, when I moved to Spain we had not a very good relationship. But sometimes contrary things happen. You move to another country and the distance between you and somebody else is physically way bigger, but psychologically and emotionally you get closer. You feel closer living 1400 kilometers away than you felt when you lived a 10-minute walk near to each other. This is true for my dad and me. Through the distance between Bochum and Barcelona we got closer, and our relationship became strong again.
Even though one year ago, when my dad was seconds away from death, our relationship was not as it´s best, although not at it´s worst. It was not very much consisting. Fortunately, we got another chance and he got another chance. He took that chance, he made changes and he grew. Right now, I am with my father. I promised him that I would be there for him during this day, on this special date. This day is even more special and emotional to him. One can only imagine what thoughts are going through his mind right now. I just want to let you know:
Words can’t express how happy I am that you are alive. Words can’t express how proud I am of you and the changes you made. If you get to know my father today, and if you got to know him 366 days earlier, you would speak with two different people. Mainly because of two big changes, quitting smoking and (re)beginning to do sports. I saw my father smoking all my life and being close to death nearer than is almost possible, it gave him the urgency to act and to quit smoking. In the last months he went by bicycle over 3000 kilometers. Last year he made a bicycle tour through Germany, covering up 500 kilometers in 7 days. He has now planned this years´ summer tour which he will add another 1000 kilometers. 366 days ago, he could not even imagine himself doing that or being able to do it, and neither could I. But when you realize that 2 seconds can be the difference between death and life, you concentrate more on doing things than just watching. Every day 2 seconds pass without us even noticing. But one year ago today, 2 seconds passed and determined my fathers´ future. And I am very, very proud that my dad took his chance, changed his life, and that he got stronger every day! My dad and me got an opportunity to change our relationship for the better. For that I am grateful every day. I love you! Thanks for reading!
Originally published at Jan Stetzka.