“We have not been okay since papa was murdered” – daughters of slain E/bo vendor

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1st Father’s Day without dad…

Sham Munilall, his wife Rita, and two daughters Kaysheena and Vydia in happier times

What could one possibly say to help someone else who is missing their father not just on Father’s Day, but every day? Mere words can be just a rattling wind for daughters whose wounds are still fresh, and whose minds are yet to wrap themselves around the reality of their loss.

Many of us have the opportunity to throw parties, go on dinner dates, buy luxurious gifts, or even send a card to our fathers on Father’s Day, but this can never happen for the daughters of Sham Munilall.

Munilall, called “Chunnilall” or “Paperman” of Queenstown, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), was murdered by bandits.

His daughters Kaysheena and Vidya Munilall had great hopes of one day seeing their father grow old, or walk them down the aisles, but on January 10, 2020, those hopes were crushed to pieces. It has been misery for his daughters after their father’s life was snatched from him by the cold-hearted bandits who invaded the place, they called home.

Munilall was having a “bar-b-que day” with his family when three armed bandits scaled his fence and attacked his wife, who was at the front door of their home. Upon seeing his wife captured by the bandits, who were trying to gain entry into his home, Munilall attacked the perpetrators in an effort to save her.

In retaliation, the gunmen opened fire at the father of two, shooting him four times about his body before making their escape. The newspaper vendor, who was the sole breadwinner for his family, later succumbed to his injuries.

Three persons have since been charged for Munilall’s murder and are currently before the court.

Since then, however, his family especially his daughters have been living in shock.

Munilall’s two children have expressed sadness at not being able to spend this Father’s Day with him.

They said as June 21 approaches, they have been questioning themselves about how to deal with the day that is set aside to honour fathers.

“Am I going to be ok? The answer is, I don’t know, I am depressed. I have not been OK since Papa was murdered – (by) multiple gunshots – on January 10, 2020; on that dreadful night we watched him die, we could not do anything to save him. I looked up to my dad because of the amazing man he was, he always had a smile on his face, looking at the bright side of life, even in his hardest battle, he fought to the very last,” his daughter, Kaysheena said.

Vidya, Munilall’s second daughter, said things were never the same after her father’s death. She explained that their lives took a different turn the night her father was killed.

“So many things were taken away from my mom, sister, and me because of my father’s passing. Father’s Day is forever changed, I love you daddy and I will always miss you! Emotionally, I am not ready to face Sunday, June 21, or any … Father’s Day after this one. I am dreading all the gift advertisements on the radio and television, the posts on Instagram and WhatsApp, the collages on Facebook. The date on the calendar stares at me mockingly, which makes me feel extremely isolated. There are no words to describe the heartache I’m feeling and how much I miss my father,” she said.

Vidya added: “This year, I won’t be able to question mom or sis, ‘what do we buy for Father’s Day’, but instead question, ‘when will we meet again?’ When? Am I going to be OK? This year, I won’t be able to be the first to wake up, rushing in his bed, disturbing his early-morning rest with my loud singing, ‘Happy Father’s Day, Papa. Happy Father’s Day, Papa,’ but instead wake up looking at your pictures, reflecting on the good memories shared, hug my pillow, and let the tears flow.”

When Kaysheena was asked what she would miss most about her father at this time of year, she said: “This year, I won’t be able to question Mom, ‘Where’s the underwear? Where’s the socks? Where’s the pants? Where’s the shirt?’ Yes! Those are the things we bought for Father’s Day! The little things matter! Materialistic? No! Time matters – family moments!”

“Also, this year, I won’t be able to make random calls to know his location just to average the time he’ll be home. Yes! The time I’ll wait to make him cry? Cry tears of sadness? Oh no! Tears of joy; yes, tears of joy with surprises! Just when we’ll lay the table with his favourite food, snacks, cake, drinks, and wine. As the regular trend of father’s princesses, we’ll always see the best outfit, the outfit we’ll wait to see him in,” she added.

The sisters expressed that they never needed a special day to bring their father to mind, but the days that they don’t think of him are very few. They say each morning they wake up, the reality of not having their father there brings them nothing but heartache.

“As we try to carry on, our heart still aches with sadness and secret tears still flow. What is meant to lose our father, no one will ever know, our thoughts are always with him, his place no one can fill. Father’s Day is not the same without our father; he was so special and left memories that could never be erased,” they said.

Munilall’s daughters said their father was a remarkable man in so many ways. They described him as “precious and dear”, and underscored that as fathers were being appreciated worldwide, they were disappointed that their father was no longer here.

“Memories of past Father’s Day and how things used to be painfully remind us of what is now missing. Sometimes, we quietly reminisce about our father’s memories. The injustice of the situation makes it even more difficult. We don’t know what we are going to do on this day,” Munilall’s daughters said.

The girls revealed that on Father’s Day they might shed tears, they might write angry entries into their journals, or they might “zone out” on Netflix just to wait for the day to become night.

“We wish with all of our hearts that we could turn off our feelings and become numb for this one day. The pain we feel is devastating; the hole in our hearts is palpable; the loneliness is crushing. With all of our hearts, we want to tell our dad it will be OK, but I know he heard that plenty of times, we are confident that he heard our voices,” they explained.

Munilall’s daughters said they believe the pain of their father’s death will lessen, but it would never go away. They explained they were OK with the feeling of missing their Papa, since they never want to be comfortable with how it feels to be without him. (LaWanda McAllister)