Alina and her dad. Photo - Private.

In this letter Alina Shibanova writes about her relationship with her father.


Når jeg har det vondt,

synes jeg det er godt

å gi meg selv lov til

å ha det vondt.


– Åsmund Seip


When I was 6, my favorite childhood game was playing a detective. Every day I carried a cute purse with a lipstick, a toy gun and a magnifying glass to the kindergarten. One day I told my dad that I dreamed of a real ID like the agents from the X-files had, because then my friends would definitely have no doubt who the real detective in our group was. I got up one morning and I couldn’t trust my eyes – a real super agent’s ID, with my photo and my first and last name written in Dad’s beautiful handwriting and a stamp with a Bambi. Dad often surprised and supported me in all my endeavors, which is why I always considered him my best friend and the coolest person in the world.

The era of Harry Potter replaced the X-files, and I became a real fan who wanted to admire the face of the actor playing Harry all day and reread books and rewatched films a hundred times. My dad has always been a fan of mine and of course bought me dozens of things related to my favorite magical world. I remember how at a family dinner, when I was 12 years old, I suddenly burst into tears and confessed that I loved Daniel Radcliffe, and dad treated this with understanding. He did not laugh (although, it’s funny) and talked with me about my feelings. We talked all the time. I could ask him about anything, I knew that I wouldn’t be judged and my feelings wouldn’t be devalued. He taught me how to listen to other people. I have always wondered how a boy who has never had a warm and close relationship with his father grew up, created a family and was able to build such a trusting and warm relationship with his child. He became a wonderful father and friend to his daughter. For me.

Photo : Private

When my father was 12 years old, he became a music fan and did not stop being one for the rest of his life. It seems that it all started when he first came across a Pink Floyd album, the one with the prism on a black background. One day he played it for me for the first time and explained why it was a masterpiece. He could talk about music for hours. He could always easily say which song would become a hit and laughed that he could become a good music producer. I can’t imagine dad without music. It was everywhere where he was. In a quiet room he always looked for a stereo or radio to fill the space with sound. He was a true music lover and passed on his love of music to me. I am writing this and listening to The Dark Side of the Moon and the guitar riffs make me smile through my tears. I clearly see him in his favorite armchair in his apartment, legs crossed. He smiles slightly, looks at me and starts waving his hand to the beat of the melody. His love of music changed his plans once and this is how he met my mother.

I’m 35 now. I take my phone, open WhatsApp, press the contact daddy. The last message I received was on December 11th in 2023. This is an emoji with a heart coming out of its mouth. That’s how dad used to say good night. I press the three dots in the upper right corner, click on the word search, enter the word “love” and the messenger becomes a time machine. Now I can scroll through our texting and read how we told each other that we loved each other. Here, congratulations on getting the grade for my bachelor thesis from last year “you are cool, congratulations, I love my daughter”. Then, the last birthday wishes or just “I love you” for no reason on some usual day. I scroll further through the messages, a funny video with a raccoon, a link to the music track he liked, “hearts” and the standard question “how are you?”. Previously, we couldn’t contact each other for a maximum of one day, and it already seemed like forever. We used to count the days until we met, but now I’m counting how much time I spent without my dad. Three days after the last message in WhatsApp, I heard his last words to me…

“I love you. I’m proud of you. Life goes on.”

I repeat this to myself like a mantra, at times when I feel especially sad without him.

As a Harry Potter fan (after all these years? Always!) I truly believe that all the love my father gave me, all his care, attention and support created a very powerful Patronus. It protects me from Dementors of the Muggle world, that is, negative thoughts, self-doubt, bad news or anxiety.

Yes, love is the most beautiful thing that we humans have. It is the reason for happy and strong families and happy lives we live. And the happier you were with the one you love, the more painful it is to lose them. It hurts so much but you just have to live. Yes, with pain. Yes, with a sadness bigger than the universe. Yes, with tears. You have to live.

I still don’t believe dad is gone. I talk to him every day and sometimes I know for sure what he would say to me. This fills my heart with warmth. For a moment it feels like he is still alive and just forgets to contact me. I know that he is here with me. He is in my heart that will never stop loving him. And I will always consider him my best friend and the coolest person in the world.

Thanks for everything, daddy. I love you.


In loving memory of Nikolai.


, ,
Latest Posts from Unikum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.