*Orhan Ülgen*

A week ago, I had a dream. It was reminiscent of a distant childhood memory - I was in the bedroom of the apartment where I grew up in Turkey when suddenly, my parents appeared hand-in-hand. Except, these were not the aging, mature version of themselves that I know of today. In this dream, they were the same age as me. Two twenty something young bloods, in love, under the same roof as the child they produced with one and other. Hopes are fresh, and dreams are still young - with only the future to look forward to - for all of us. I look at them, and they look back at me. And for the first time in my life, I see them as peers and not as parents. Like comrades bonded together by a special form of union, that’s beyond blood, or family - or anything I can relay in words. In that moment, I was them. And they were me. The same way you, the listener, are me, and I am you. This is our time. Our time to live. Our time to aspire and taste life to it’s fullest. While our hearts are still beating loud. While our flesh still glistens. 

Even our parents, were once us.

I found out yesterday that my father passed away. I wish I could have gotten the chance to relay this dream to him before he departed. In this moment, it’s still uncertain as to what happened. The moment my cousin called me up on the telephone, I knew in my heart-of-hearts that it was suicide. Even the local newspapers from his little town in Turkey made it out as such. “Doctor dies surrounded by pills - alone in his house”. 

But now, the current toxicology report indicates to a sudden heart-attack, or a brain aneurysm. So, I’m not even sure what’s going on anymore. All I know is that, I’m so lucky to have known a person like him in my life. What an honor. How grateful I am for having known him for 29 years. That’s an opportunity most people don’t get. Some people don’t even know who their true father is. I not only had the best one the world can give, but also, one who I got to know for nearly 3 decades. From infancy, all the way up to adulthood.

My father was a giant in my eyes. My king. A mountain I could never climb. My reverence, love, and devotion for him as a young boy was almost suffocating. I loved him more than myself. I’ll never forget all of the memories I spent sitting on his lap as we played computer games - namely, the first Warcraft. Those memories have been such an integral part of who I later ended up in life. All those Ingmar Bergman films we used to sit through from dusk til dawn - and have discussions about afterwards. All the sushi we ate in Fenerbahce. 

In all honesty. I could go on, and on about memories. But I’ll refrain.

Strangely, I haven’t cried much. Had this happened two months ago, I am unsure whether I would have been able to handle it. Somehow, in a very bizarre way, the steady stream of heart ache that I’ve endured in this past year, now - feel like a preparation for what was to come my way today. Had this happened any time earlier. I wouldn’t have been ready. But today, I just smile. I feel more closer to my dad now, than I was a week ago when we last talked.  

“Mission Accomplished”. That’s the line that keeps going through my head. Just like in the computer games we used to play after beating a hard level. Good on you dad. You’ve lived a life that bore the way to a son who will now go on to change the world - on your behalf. Every breathe I take, is in your honor - for the love you’ve given me, has enabled me to become the person I love today. I love myself, because you were my dad. 

Mission accomplished. Wherever you are. And because you now reside within me - I am not mourning your loss. I’m celebrating it - just as you would have wanted me to.

For you are now me, just the same way I am you. Just like in the dream. 

I love you. You are my favorite person in the world. Babacim.

(Originally Published June 7th, 2018)