Dealing with my dad’s loss
It has been 26 years and still counting, it still feels like yesterday.
I always remember the good old days when my Daddy was still alive, a bubbling young man, very energetic, in the prime of his life with a beautiful wife and 7 children. We fondly called him Daddyisky.
The Good old days
I remember coming back from boarding school to sit with him in his favorite chair and hear all the things that happened at work, in Church, and generally with neighbors. He will even table all lingering issues with my siblings and we talk through them.
My dad was hard-working, focused, caring, and a go-getter. We had a dedicated study period at home called “four to six” (studying between the hours of 4 pm and 6 pm). It was taboo in our home for you to be doing other things at this hour. He believes that nothing is impossible and that you can achieve all things with hard work. He had integrity and believed in doing the right things at the right time.
His Focus and uniqueness
Being an Anambra man where the general belief is that sons are supposed to make money by doing business at a very young age, he chose to educate his 5 sons. Similarly, daughters were believed to get married after secondary school to be able to take care of their children.
His philosophy was that the girl child must be educated. This was unpopular and his family did not stop criticizing him
No wonder my mum having married him immediately after secondary school at 17 had the opportunity of going to school from her husband’s home, this was rare during their time. She had her Teacher training education, NCE, and university degree combining education and home at the time. We were encouraged to express ourselves boldly and become whatever we wanted to be.
He was a stickler for time and is always there for his appointments on time. The virtue of uprightness and the value of Christianity he practiced, and trained us to follow in his footsteps. He was an awesome Father. My mum testifies always that he was the best of husbands. We lacked nothing.
The Black Sunday
I woke up feeling feverish and tired, the whole day was a complete failure for me. I did not understand how significant that Sunday will be. My mum told me that he was hail and hearty that day. He went to Church with his blue attractive senator. He danced in church like never before and everyone took note. It was like he was doing the last outing ceremony. He died that same night and according to the medical report, it was a heart attack. My Daddy, whom I loved so much, was everything to me, he left without fulfilling the dreams he had for us his children. As if he knew that we will not see again in this present life, he dropped a letter for me on Friday, before his death on Sunday. His death was the most painful thing I have experienced in my life. Death is so final that once you hear someone is dead, there is no going back.
It was so hard to say goodbye, as he lay in state, I could only think about his plans and dreams for us and my grief knew no bounds. As I looked on he was completely separated from his family. He was laid to rest, that day it dawned on me that he was never coming back.
Following the culture of my people, the family members of the deceased are expected to pay the last respect by putting sand on the coffin during the burial, the sound of the sand on his coffin was like stones on my chest, it was not an easy moment.
After the long stay in the village from the 5th of December till January 5th, the longest we have ever stayed in the village, we packed up leaving my dear Daddy behind in his grave and went back to our base where life continued as if a “big Iroko tree” have not fallen.
Living without Daddyisky
Living without my daddy was the hardest thing for me, I felt alone in the world, abandoned, and I grieved for years. His death anniversary every year is a time of mourning and remembering everything he did for us and everything he stood for.
My life values and all I did in life were borne from the values he taught me. I always ask myself, will daddy like this, even in deciding on whom to marry, asked the same question. Would he have said yes to this union.
I miss him every day still, rest on Daddyisky, we will meet to part no more.