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A Guiding Hand

By Vanessa Ip
March 2007, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

"This little boy grew up to be my dad. For 24 years, he watched and helped me, his little girl, grow up.

My dad taught me many things. He taught me how to calculate percentages, how to cook chicken, how to laugh and be kind to others. When I was seven, he taught me how to ride the pink bicycle he bought me.

One day, we agreed that I was ready to part with my training wheels. Cigarette in one had, my bicycle seat in his other, dad stood behind me and held me steady as I gave it my first shot. I remember not wanting to pedal too fast because I didn't want to make him run. He wasn't the fittest nor was he the most graceful runner. Little did I know, he had let go, and I was riding my bicycle completely on my own. I looked back at him for encouragement. When I realized that I had been tricked, I immediately fell off. I was so mad at him, but it wasn't long before I forgave him. Within a few days, I was an official two-wheeler, bandaged arms, bruised knees and all.

I learned the most from my dad when he became ill. When he was too sick to speak, he communicated by writing his thoughts down in a notepad. He told me to be brave. He showed me how to stay positive in times of sadness, how to love unconditionally and from him, I learned the true meaning of family.

My dad is my guiding hand. He was always behind me and at times, I didn't even know it. Today, he is above me in Heaven, probably with a cigarette in one hand, his other, leading me in every step that I take, but this time, I know it."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. When my dad passed away last year, my first instinct was to get away, to start over new. That's how I ended up here, at Cardiff University, where I am completeing my masters in International Journalism. It has been one of the worst, but best years of my life.

What's your story about?
My story is a tribute to my dad and our twenty-four years together. It is about everything he taught me in life and how I feel he is still with me today.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
This was another way for me to remember my dad, to keep his memory alive. I wanted to create something for my family that would help them remember him as well.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
It was a really cathartic experience. I was a bit uncomfortable, sharing something so personal with others, but I'm glad I did. The BBC team were incredible and I am very thankful to them. It was so satisfying to see the project, which has become so important to me, come together in only five days.

Your comments

"Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my dad as well and I know how you feel. I feel that he is watching over me especially at times when I am going through deep waters. Thank you for sharing your story as it caused me to think about my dad today." Brenda Lariviere, Sept 2008.

"An astounding, most riveting and an extremely touching and moving story of a father's love for his daughter.It tells us the importance of true parental love and it has not been in vain kind of love that leaves an indelable imprint on her life giving her encouragement, support and positive attitude to face her future with his inspiration. It also allows the family to realise more of his love for his daughter to enable her to become more successful in life with his guideing force behind her. A lovely memorial message!" Anon, Sept 2007.

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