Exactly 1 year ago this week, my Dad was literally holding onto dear life.
This is a post about my Dad, my Papa, my Hero.
My Papa was born in Portugal in 1948. Fending for himself from the young age of 12, my Papa learnt that the only means of survival was to stand strong and be determined to push through all the challenges he faced. Life took him from his homeland to the Angolan army which then brought him to South Africa in 1974.
Call me biased, but what a handsome man he was. It is no surprise that my Mother fell for his gentle yet strong presence and sky blue eyes in 1976. They soon married and brought into this world 2 amazing daughters, 5 years apart(that would be my sister and I :-p)
When I say my Papa worked, I mean he physically worked damn hard to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. Being a Carpenter by trade and an Entrepreneur by heart, my Papa ventured into many different businesses with zest, determination and only one goal in mind…to succeed. During the most difficult times, my Papa never gave up as in NEVER.
My Papa is a quiet man, with English being his 2nd language, and my Portuguese being limited, our conversations were always short and sweet, but when my Papa smiled, his eyes would disappear under the folds of his laugh lines and his smile would fill the air in the room.
I pray everyday that I see that smile soon again.
On the evening of the 24 February 2013, my Papa was involved in a horrific car accident, he swerved for a stationary truck on the N12 which resulted in the Mitsubishi Bakkie rolling 5 times across 3 lanes. He was rushed to the emergency room with serious neck and back injury and no feeling in his legs.
My Papa had to have an emergency operation 2 days later and soon thereafter was put on a ventilator as his lungs collapsed. He spent 4 weeks in ICU before he was stable enough to have the neck operation done, because at this point, my Papa had still not regained any feelings in his legs, his right arm was lame and had very little movement in his left arm.
My Papa was ordered to wear a spine & neck brace for 6 weeks.
The next 3 months my Papa spent in the rehab hospital where physio was done twice a day, 6 days a week. I cannot begin to comprehend the strength one has to have to lie on your back with only a white ceiling to look at and the thoughts racing through your mind 24/7. This is what my Papa did, day in and day out since the accident.
We were advised to start making changes around the house as it was unlikely my Papa would ever walk again, he was declared a Quadriplegic by the time he was released in July 2013, just in time to celebrate his 65th birthday at home.
I cannot begin to explain the mental and emotional toll it took on us as a family but this is nothing compared to what my Papa was and still is going through. I wish I could share his thoughts with you but as he was before, a man of few few words, so he is today.
His natural instinct to fight and survive and his will to regain some movement one day, drives him daily. I don’t know where he gets his strength from but what I do know is that I am in total awe of this man, this man that I love so very much and am proud to call my Dad, my Papa…MY HERO.
Fund Raising Event
We are having a fund raising event in honour of my Papa on the evening of the 15th March 2014 @ the Portuguese Club in Witbank, Mpumalanga.
Tickets include a meal as well as a live Portuguese Band to dance to late into the evening. Please join us in celebrating my Papa’s strength and determination during this trying time.
Tables of 10 seaters can be sponsored or you can purchase individual tickets! Bookings will be essential so we can cater accordingly.
Date :15 March 2014
Place : ACPW Portuguese Hall Witbank
Entrance Fee : R150 per person and children under the age of 10 do not pay!
Full Table Sponsorship is R1500
Donations to make my Papa’s daily living a little easier is also welcome, contact me to find out more about his needs as a Quadriplegic
Please note: Some of the photos in this post were not taken by me.