The image broke down the same evening. That evening everything broke down into little pieces. That evening, when you were given six more months to live.
I remember that last phone call like it was yesterday. That moment, when the movie was left unwatched. Those words that I never wanted to hear. It was time.
That moment, when I was standing next to your bed, watching if you were still breathing. Hoping that some kind of miracle could still heal you.
There was no miracle. That moment lasted forever, and yet it was over in one brief second. And that’s why my Independence Day is different.
I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already.
And no day has passed by without thinking of you. No day has passed by without guessing, would you be proud of me, if you knew me today.
Every year, on the 6th of December, when all homes in Finland raise the flag to celebrate the Finnish Independence Day, I light a candle and remember how you were sent away way too early. My Independence Day is different like that.
Dad, thank you, that I was able to walk this journey by your side. Dad, thank you, that you forced me on the front seat of your truck and made me join you on your trips around this beautiful country, even if I was scared. Dad, thank you for holding my hand and sleeping next to me when I was little.
Dad, thank you, that I was able to stay by your side from the very beginning until the very last moment.
Remember to tell your loved ones how much you love them. Even if they already know it. Because one day it might be too late. And that day you will regret if you didn’t remember to tell them how much they mean to you.
Even if my Independence Day is different, I still do something that every Finn does. Except for this Independence Day, I won’t light one candle. Today, when the sun goes down, I will light 10 candles on my porch, one for each year you have been gone. Even if you should still be here with us.
Peaceful Independence Day, Finland. Take care of each other. Gather together. Hold hands. Say how much you mean to each other.
That way the Independence Day should be similar in each family.