I believe it’s so important that we share our stories with each other to draw comfort, inspiration, and wisdom from them and to help us better navigate life.
I always knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when. Death, that is. It’s rudely brushed past me before, but it’s easy to distance yourself when it’s someone else’s loved one. When it’s your loved one, when someone from your inner circle exits, death is no longer a curiosity and an occasion to show empathy, but a piercing of the heart. I had no idea that I would be consumed by it, that my dad’s face would take up residence in my mind, and that his departure would so ravage my thinking that keeping track of anything would become a considerable challenge.
Death isn’t pretty. My dads death was wholly unexpected. Growing up as a kid, I was my dads favorite daughter. Being the last born and the child from his old age, I guess he loved me even more. I grew up having a rosy life, my dad was doing all he could to give his children the very best. My dad was my number 1 supporter, my number 1 fan, always sided me, would pick up a fight with anyone who literally wants to ride me. Lol. He was the best father anyone could ever wish for. He wasn’t biased or judgmental, even dealing with other people. I was daddy’s little girl. Everything my dad, my dad this, my dad that. I loved my dad that much that I could tell him everything. He was an easy person, anyone could easily have a conversation with him without being scared. Lol. My dad pampered me, gave me everything I ever needed, he made life comfortable for me. He made sure I had everything a little girl should have.
I would gist and laugh with my dad. I remember growing up, whenever I offended him, I would write a letter to him in a paper, telling him how nice he is, how good of a father he is, telling him he loves me and I am sorry, asking for forgiveness. He would read my letter and call me then give me a hug and ask me not to do it again. He kept those letters for a while probably discarded them later. He was my gossip partner, I can remember how I was bullied in my secondary school by a guy, very old lol. My dad got mad when I told him and showed up at my school the following day, threatening the guy, I mean he wouldn’t even dare come close to me. My dad showed up at all my inter-house sport. He would come cheering me up, shouting my name from the midst of crowd, applauding me, he would wait and then take me back home. He was invested in everything I did as a kid.
I can’t count how many surprise visit I received from my dad at school. He would buy my favorite snacks and bring it to my school. Lol. I was really really pampered by my dad. He would help me memorize bible verses and when it’s time to recite, the sight of him made me do better with his thumbs up 👍, and his incredible smile 😊. I grew older and so did he, I remember my dad buying me my first set of bras cause I requested for them even when I didn’t even have enough breast to carry it 😃. I could remember when my mum had to travel out and I was with my dad, oh yes, he cooked for us. My dad was taking good care of me that I didn’t even miss my mum. We would sing together, praise God together, stroll down our street together. Of course, everyone had to notice I and my dad, they would call me in my native language daddy’s wife (iyawo daddy) lol. Everywhere you see my dad, most likely I am beside him. I was his PA. Lol. I would pray for my dad and then he would buy me whatever I wanted. I had the best childhood with my dad. I have so many good memories about my dad.
And then I clocked 13, became a teenager and death just had to take him away from me. I never knew that was the last birthday we’d ever celebrate together. In may 2009, he felt sick briefly and was rushed to the hospital the following day, I could remember that morning, I was going to school and the school bus was outside waiting for me. I asked him, daddy will I see you when I come back? He said he was going to the hospital. Oh my dad was sick, I was too little to really know how badly he was. On getting to the hospital, we were told that he suffered from a severe heart attack, that made almost 90% of his heart stop functioning. We heard different stories from the hospital which till date I don’t know if it was true. From his heart being clothed to the part where 90% wasn’t functioning. How he had to be on oxygen to breath. I remember vividly the first and last time I saw him was on children’s day. I was only 13 years old. The child I was, innocently was playing with him cracking all sort of Jokes. He reassured me that by Gods grace he would be back home to me the day after or two days after cause he was feeling better.
I never knew that was the last time I would ever see him, his beautiful smile, the way he looked so young and handsome. I never got the chance to be by his side while he went through all the struggle he went through. I mean, he always felt that his faith was strong enough, he believed so much in God and faith that he would get better. I keep being puzzled as to why God allowed someone he loved so much die that way. I had a lot of questions to ask. Why did God take him? This wasn’t Gods plan for him, God knows it all, he knew a day like this will come. What happened to all the promises God made to him? These are questions I might never have the answer to. I watched my mum become a shadow of herself, I saw the look on my mums face each time she came back home, sorrow was always written all over her face, she would be unhappy, but I was a child and didn’t know how to help her or support her. She kept hoping the sickness would be over and he could come back home to his family. But that never happened. A week after he was hospitalized he kept telling my mum how he wanted to see his baby girl, I could see the excitement and joy in her eyes that he wanted to see me and had constantly being asking after me. He was desperate to see me, he said he had missed me. At this point I guess he knew he was going to die. Only God knows what he wanted to tell me. Being his last born, last child, I was super excited that I was going to see my dad.
I was jumping up and down, I would see my best friend, the only one I trusted to tell anything and everything to. My dad would never judge a soul, he was the kindest of all, the best father to all his children, a man of principle, very compassionate, generous, brave, supportive, tender hearted, a man of integrity, very attentive, very hopeful, very forgiving, very reliable, a man full of love for his children and family, a man with a baby heart, a man who cared so much about others, he tried in his little way to assist those he could assist. He was the best husband to my mother, I saw how my dad loved my mum unconditionally, she was indeed his better half , his missing rip, he was a man loved by many, he was a man who would go to any length to make anyone happy.
But sadly as I got into the car, I got the call I never imagined, that he was dead. Oh! I cried my life out, I cried because I knew I would never see him again. But little did I know what that pain felt like to my mother, my mum felt her world had come to an end. She felt there wasn’t any point living life again. She felt all hope was lost. It was really hard for my mum, from being a house wife with 3 kids. It was hard. It was really hard.
As time passed, she knew she had to pick up the pieces together, she had to be strong for we her kids, my mum made sure I and my siblings didn’t lack anything. From being a full time house wife to being an entrepreneur. My mum had to start a little business at least to feed her family, but I guess God has a way of compensating his own. I grew up faster than I should have, I had to become my mums pillar, I had to always help my mum, talk to her, be with her, comfort her, I had to put my pain aside to help my mum. I was the only one most times in the house with my mum, so you can imagine what I went through. How I had to constantly be strong for my mum, how I had to constantly make my mum happy, how I had to be her adviser, how I had to be her confidant, how I had to be a shoulder to lean on.
I became my mums best friend , she had no one to talk to or share her pains with, I became that person, I had to constantly help my mum fill in the gap of her late husband , so yes it was tough on me. I couldn’t show my emotions out to anyone because I never wanted to see my mum break down. I had to constantly battle with my feelings to help my mother. I remember my elder brother, he came home every weekend to be with my mum and myself to assist her in every possible way. He’d go back to his hostel every Sunday and return back home every Friday. This happened till he graduated from school. He’d follow my mum to the market to assist her in buying her goods. He was always ready to give any support he could to her.
This is the 11th year since I lost my dad and guess what, I and my siblings are doing great, my mum is an entrepreneur who has staffs working for her, from being a full time house wife. Oh the last 8 years was hard for her, sending all her kids to school, no support from anyone, she single handedly raised 3 beautiful kids who are all doing fine. I still deal with the pain, I am trying to find a way of letting out all the emotions I had in me for these good 11years, not being able to express how my dads death affected me, it was hard for me but here I am, never taught I would ever have the courage to tell people I don’t have a dad. This was something I constantly kept denying cause I didn’t want anyone looking at me pitifully. But I had good memories with my dad and honestly that has been keeping I and my siblings going. The life we lived with my dad taught us a great lesson. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you have a near-death experience. I would say this happens at the death of a loved one, too.
I don’t think I’ll ever be done grieving the loss of my dad. I share his DNA and we did life together. He shaped who I am like few others. His absence is incomprehensible. He’s part of me and not even death can diminish this. I’ll long to see him again for as long as I live. It’s a good thing God has a reunion planned. I hear it’s gonna be out of this world!
Don’t ever let any circumstance weigh you down, the death of losing a loved one, is unimaginable but I can assure you there’s nothing you can’t conquer. If I and my family can overcome this then I believe anyone can. For those of you who haven’t been able to open up and speak about the death of your loved one because of the hurt, I understand you, it is okay to take your time. Heal at your pace, don’t forget, there’s nothing that is happening to you that hasn’t happened to Someone else. I can assure you, you will overcome too. And you will come out stronger. You can feel free to reach me if you ever want to talk to someone, or need a friend who’s going to listen to you, someone who has been through the same issues with you, I am always available, ready to listen and help as much as possible. I am rooting for those who have lost someone dear to them, our only assurance is that their legacy lives on and they are in a better place. I love you all 🖤. Reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need me.