He was a world famous professor, personally taught and supervised half of all people working in the Australian banking industry including our first lady, Lucy Turnbull, he received an order of Australia for his lifelong contribution to research.
He was my light at the end of the tunnel when everything else was dark, and he was there for me when my own father packed up and left.
He was my honours supervisor, Professor S.
Prof. S used to drive his little black dog Ottie to the hospital and my house every single weekend like clockwork from the first day I came back to Sydney. He did it for years and years until I was firmly back on my feet.
It was never about my work or my study, and unlike my own father, he never reminded me of how different I became, what I have lost, nor did he ever give me any pressure to get back to 'normal'. In fact he never spoke of the obvious.
He would come, and we would just talk about everyday things like Ottie, friends, people and things we knew.
Week after week, he would add my visits to his already busy schedule of being the head of a university faculty and a father of 2, grandfather of 3.
Like a little girl wanting her parents' love, I loved his visits, needed his visits, and desperately craved for the next one.
It was times like that you learn to appreciate the power of simple love and normal life. Just spending time with family doing nothing. Prof. S and Ottie were my family, or, the closest thing I had.
I wanted to go back and finish my studies, he was supportive of that.
I didn't do it for a long time, he was supportive of that too. To him, I was me, and I was never any different.
Prof. S never said he would look after me, yet I always trusted that he would. Finishing an honours degree at UNSW was known to be a gruesome experience for anyone, let alone someone without the use of 90% of her body.
Prof. S’ presence alone in my life made it infinitely easier for me to get back to university at a time when I was both physically and emotionally fragile, when I was too terrified to face the world otherwise.
Without him holding my hands taking my first step towards getting my life back, none of what it is today would be possible.
I owe you for all that I have. I respect you for all that you've done. And most importantly- I love you for the human in you that I no longer see very often in my world.
Have I ever told you Professor S, you are like a father to me? And I will love you until my last breath.