A Father’s Day Story: When Ligament Injury Helped Me Bond With Dad

Who knew a ligament tear could help heal a relationship?

3 min read
My father and I. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

There are a number of moments that cement the bond between a father daughter duo, (like her birth, her first step, her first car and so on); But I am pretty sure a ligament tear isn’t one of them. And yet, as strange as it may sound, my recent injury helped strengthen the bond between my father and I.

In the past, the two of us have had our share of agreements. My mum is on my speed dial, but my father and I seldom spoke on the phone. But as it turns out, years of communication gaps and disagreements were soothed significantly within a week of him tending to my torn ligament.

My Tears Brought Him to Delhi

Seventeen days of strict bed rest, my doctor warned. I was thankful that my fall down the stairs had not resulted in a fracture, but as the doctor put my leg in plaster, he told me that a ligament tear is, in many ways worse than a fracture.

It takes longer to heal and I would suffer from recurring pain, I was told.

The sight of the plaster on my leg overwhelmed me with feelings of shock, disbelief, pain, and extreme helplessness. I think it was the suddenness of it all that caught me off guard.

Work is a big part of my identity, and the fact that I was barred from stepping out of home, let alone attend office, added to my misery.

It was in one of those moments of despair when I received a phonecall from my father. “You told your mother about the injury... why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. “I thought you were busy, dad,” I replied.

“I can’t ever be busy for my kids,” he said. Hearing his voice, I think I let out a tear or two. Then I found myself uttering the words: “Dad, I think I'm getting depressed.”

To be sure, I didn’t mean it in the clinical sense, but that was enough to get him worried. Three hours later, he called to inform me that he had booked his tickets for Delhi to come and meet me.

The Role Reversal

During his stay with me, he made me tea, held my hand when I was limping, cooked me chicken curry to cheer me up, and he brought me ice cream to pamper me.

As I was asked not to walk too much, I was forced to ask him to fetch me things from around the house. I was hesitant to seek his help for those chores, but he did all that and more. He fetched me water and medicines and made sure I had my dosage on time. When it was time to sleep, he would cover me with a blanket and go to sleep in the other room.

He accompanied me on my next visit to the doctor. We were told that the healing would take a few more days. Ten more days of limping around with that annoying plaster sounded horrible. But Dad held my hand and told me the ten days would be over sooner than I would realise. His care made me realise that a true patriarch was one who would go out of his way in order to take care of his family.

Care Means a Lot

We tend to ignore the beauty of our relationships when we are confronted with feelings of anger and disappointment. I did too.

We all have issues, but let me tell you one thing: Human care is a wonderful thing. I don’t think we can remain angry at people who care for us. Care makes you look past one another’s shortcomings and lay down a foundation for an affectionate bond.

My time with my Dad taught me that good parenting isn’t about how much you can provide for your child. It is simply about being there, because your child feels it, as intensely as she feels your absence.

Silence is a good breeding ground for conversations. With no place to go, and no work to tend to, you are forced to communicate. And so, Dad and I found our conversation about medicines progress into one about the issues our family was facing. He treated me like an adult, and for the first time in many years, we had a heart-to-heart conversation. And to think all of this was set against the backdrop of a boring ligament tear.

It is almost impossible to appreciate an illness, but if some relationship repair is what I walked away with, then I’m not that mad about my ligament tear anymore.

PS: Now Dad calls me like 10 times a day (And I don’t know how to deal with it)

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