Tonight is my first night without my father in his house, a house that I love so much. I walked into the house, but as I did so, out of habit, my eyes were looking for him through the window. Whenever I was late, he would be there waiting for me, looking out of the window. Once he saw me, he would feel relieved. Other times, I would walk in through the door and some odd station would be on the television, with him doing a crossword puzzle in front of it. On seeing me, he’d jump up from his seat and say, “Oh, welcome.”  I’d kiss his hand, and we would hug. He would then put on his gigantic spectacles. They were so big because he’d had hearing aids attached to them to compensate for his poor hearing. He’d take me to the refrigerator, open it, and say, “Look what I got for you.” This was his way of showing his love, by feeding his child, because that’s what being a father meant for him: Feeding your children and protecting, nurturing, and supporting them. He was an amazing father, and this has been his greatest legacy for me. He showed me what it means to be a father. They say a boy never really becomes a man until his father passes away. This is how I have felt the past few days, more of an adult…

My dear dad was such a truehearted soul. He saw I was ready to become a proper grown up, and he knew he had completed his guidance. He knew I was completely prepared—his soul was sure of that, too. There were just a few things left to do, namely clear up his debts and any misunderstandings and say his goodbyes.

Last Friday, before I left, I said, “You are an amazing father. I hope you are happy with me in every possible way. I am so completely happy with you.” He gave me his farewell as well, and we hugged and kissed. He asked me, “Hasan, is my money honestly earned?” Someone told him that it wasn’t because he had worked in a bank, and he was upset about it. I said, “You don’t have a single dishonestly acquired cent—that’s how honest your earnings are. It’s all from the sweat of your brow. It’s all beautiful and abundant.”

How could it not have been? We always received brand new banknotes from my father, all fresh from the press. The honesty and spotlessness of it evidently reflected the generation of it. He relaxed on hearing this. That night, I kissed his hand and hit the road. I would be coming back in April.

And his soul apparently said, “It’s time now. What do you think?” I’m sure that if he believed I wasn’t ready, he would have waited for another ten years. That’s how loyal he was. Last week, he told me, “I’m only here to support you and your brother.” He didn’t have much left to do, and his body was pushing his limits. He’d had three heart surgeries. This heart of his stopped at a place he loved the most, his sister’s house. He sat on the couch and said, “My children are ready. I feel at ease. We can complete this nicely now…” And then he suddenly concluded his good life…

Every morning, he sent me a heart over Instagram, and I’d send one back. There will be no more of that now. I turn on his phone and send myself a heart, to pretend it’s from him. I just went into his house, and it’s so quiet, so I turn on that odd TV station just to hear some sound, just to feel like he’s still here. But he is no more.

Although I have the comfort in my heart of knowing that we told each other how much we loved each other many times, and that we have said our goodbyes, that odd TV station will always be turned on in this house, as if he’s still there. Maybe I’ll get used to his absence, but a part of me will always carry this longing for the rest of my life…

You will always live on in us, and you will never be forgotten by the souls you left a mark on, dear Mahmut Çeliktaş. We will always remember you with a smile on our faces, you dear man, and cherish your memory with hearty laughs, saying, “Well if he was here, he’d say…”

I Love You,

Your son