When the message came that my father was dead, I had a nervous breakdown. Just the evening before, I had spoken to him on the phone for over an hour and we had laughed together and wished each other a good evening. Now he had died from a heart attack, but I could not believe it.

I cried throughout the whole car ride and when I arrived there, they had to hold me back so that I did not throw myself over my father’s dead body, such was my sorrow. During the funeral service, I loudly accused him of having left me and I demanded that he stood up. I refused to accept that he had left us forever. My brothers and sisters were devastated as well, but it seems that I was affected most, because I’d had the deepest connection to my father. And I was the only one of his children to live abroad, so his longing and his worry about my good health, which every father feels for his child, was greatest for me.

During the funeral I felt kind of paralysed, because they had given tranquillisers to me. After the funeral feast, we drove back home, exhausted. My younger sister and I retreated and went to bed. Soon I fell asleep.

There it happened that my deceased father went into my room. It seemed as if he was completely alive again. He even looked a bit younger and totally healthy! He sat down on the edge of my bed. I lay on my side, and half of my face was hidden in the pillow. I could not move and I felt carried away. My father gently leaned his cheek against mine and I felt he was sad about my sorrow. "If you promise me not to grieve for me anymore, I will give you my word that I will not leave you and always be with you", he said softly and lovingly. Then he kissed my forehead and went away. At the doorway, he turned around again, as if he wanted to make sure that I had seen him. Then he went out.

It took a few weeks, and there even was a second encounter with him, until I realised that I was not crazy but that my father, although being dead in this world, really lived on in another world. On the second time I met him, I saw him floating to and fro in my room as if he had invisible wings. "Ah, my daughter, if you knew how good I feel now, you would not grieve for me but be happy", he said in joy and delight. From then on, I felt comforted, for I knew that my father was well and there was no reason to be in sorrow for him. Still, I suffered from the fact that he did not longer live in this world. I missed his voice, the conversations with him, and I missed his closeness. I suffered because I could not cope with his absence. But I did not grieve for his death, because I knew he lived in a better place now and was happy.

Very often, especially when I fall asleep on the couch, I can feel his gentle hand caressing my hair. "My daughter, go to bed", he says then. Sometimes I wake up from my sleep for a moment and then I can see him standing in front of me, bending over me, and looking at me lovingly. I know, he looks after me every now and then so as to know if I am well.

Since his death, we are even closer to each other than during his lifetime. And since he’s dead, I feel protected. It is as if he holds his hands over me, protecting me, and watching over my life. All my brothers and sisters speak in sorrow of him and have a picture of him on the wall. I do not have one, because I do not need a picture to remember him – he is with me.

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