File picture: Pixabay

For the month of February, IOL is inviting our readers to tell us who they love and why to stand a chance of winning amazing prizes in our #MyHeart competition.

Our next winner is Shelley Turner, who submitted the following entry:

My relationship with my father was always a strained one. 

He was an alcoholic for the better part of my childhood and as a result, I gravitated to my mom. 

As I grew older, he decided to kick the alcoholism after an early morning trip to the emergency room because he had hurt himself falling and was too drunk to realise the extent of his injury. 

He became very withdrawn and isolated himself from my mother, they lived past each other in the same home. She loved him too much to leave him; despite my desperate pleas. I could see that they were no longer happy together. 

My mom died when I was 15 years old. I had lost my mom and my best friend. He was all that I had. 

After 4 years of intensive therapy, I was finally able to forgive him for all that he had put myself and my mom through. The multiple affairs, alcoholism and mental abuse. 

We were happy together, just the 2 of us. We had such an incredible balance in our home and we took care of each other.

Neither of us could cook; so for the first few weeks, we ate lots of takeaways and microwave meals. As the years passed, he became a great guinea pig for all of the weird recopies that I would try and he would always claim that they were "absolutely delicious" or "perfect"; whilst I knew that they were horrible. He was my number 1 supporter.  

As he got older, he started becoming very ill, I was in and out of hospital with him and it tore me apart seeing him deteriorate. He was all that I had left in this world and having such an independent man rely on me to do everything for him was heartbreaking. 

Watching him fight for every breath was like a nightmare. I would often walk out of his bedroom after giving him supper and bawl my eyes out where he couldn't see me. It was just him and I at 2 am on the mornings that he was struggling to breathe. 

I lost my dad in November 2018 and I am so thankful for the time that we had together. 

I still find myself waking up in the early hours of the morning, subconsciously waiting to hear his breathing from the next room. 

He'd done the best that he could for me and made the best decisions that he could have under the circumstances. 

He wasn't perfect, but he was my dad, and I will love him forever. 

Rest peacefully dad. 

How to enter our #MyHeart competition:

Tell us who you love and why. The IOL team is passionate about news for the heart of South Africa and we want to hear about who holds your heart. Whether it's the love of your life, your BFF, your cat, your mom, your boss or your second-removed cousin on your grandmother's side, we want to know why you appreciate them so much.

If you are our pick for the best story of the day, you will win one of our amazing prizes and be entered into our grand prize draw sponsored by Protea Hotels by Marriott. 

Whether it's an urban escape, going off the beaten track or a romantic seaside soiree you’re after, Protea Hotels by Marriott has just what you're looking for. Visit  protea.marriott.com/valentines-day for some unbelievable couple's experiences and imagine the possibilities this Valentine’s month.  

So send an email to [email protected] telling us your #MyHeart story.

You can also DM us on Facebook or Twitter.

Or download our app on Android or IOS and use our MOJO feature to send us your entry.

TIP: The more words the better, and if you have pics and videos, you can send that too. 

The competition runs from February 1 to 28.

Winners will be notified by March 1.

Winners will be notified by email or phone, so please send us your contact details with your entry.

Competition Rules:

Selected story entries, pictures and videos will be published on iol.co.za and our social media pages. The winners' names will be published on our website and social media pages.

Your privacy is important to us. When you enter a competition with us, we ask for your name, email address and mobile number. We use email addresses to notify winners to let them know they have won a prize. We use the mobile numbers provided in order to contact the winner and for prize delivery.

The competition is only open to people residing in South Africa.

Employees of Independent Media, the sponsors & their agents, or any company associated with the competition & their immediate families are not eligible to enter. • Prizes are not redeemable for cash. •  The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. •  Receipt of entries will not be acknowledged. • The entrant accepts that entry to the competition does not constitute a contract or any form of legal commitment between the entrant and IOL.