Losing a father
I was all jolly and playing with my toys as Semajimbi, dad’s dog barked endlessly- he knew better. I stroked him and patted him on the back but he kept backing as people I hardly knew filled our tiny living room where dad lay. To me, gramps, granny, and mum had organised a party, we were destined to dance and drink soda and in my head, I had my outfit all laid out.
I was only 3, with a little brother that could hardly speak. I was shy, reserved, observant but also very playful, Semajimbi was my mate, he was disciplined and playful.
Dad was just resting, that’s all I was told even after I had witnessed over 30 people crying, screaming and cleaning their eyes as they stared at me dangerously. “He is the first born,” they loudly whispered as words of pity and jeers followed.
Dad was the man of the village, loved, liked, favored, and craved for. On the day of burial, hundreds of people crowded our tiny home, all sad and mum, mum had red eyes and she looked like she had lost a little weight. I have never seen mum cry, she has always been strong for us- Only her cry could break me in ways unfathomable.
Semajimbi also died a few months after dad, my brother could hardly speak and so did my toys. Mum was overly silent, in shock. Everyone else was in denial, it was written all over their faces. A strong family, strong for us, strong for dad but also worried.
Growing up without a dad is probably one of the hardest things I have had to endure. Not having a father figure to always run too when girls curved me, not having someone to read a bed story for me, not having someone to slope to the well with. Gramps was always there, but he was tough yet simple- I simply feared him. We all did.
I have nothing of dad but just a few old black and white photos and a few art pieces he had crafted. It’s sad that I don’t remember his smile or laugh but more sad that I don’t remember his face clearly. I love that he appears in one of my most memorable dreams but more happy that he left me with a loving family- most grateful to granny and mum.
It really didn’t hurt when dad died, but that was because I was a little boy who knew nothing of death, I was happy and I bet that’s all he wanted to see. Seeing his little boys happy.
Every time a friend loses a dad, it hurts me quite as much as it should have hurt many years ago. It’s saddening most of the time, tears roll down my skinny cheeks like streams of the Nile- uncontrollably.
P.S. Most of what I have written are excerpts from the many stories people older than me have narrated many times.