Father’s Day 2020: Of Memories and Friendships…
It is Father’s Day today Sunday 21 June 2020. And like other Father’s Days before it, I find myself stranded at the altar of memory, interrogating its hues and sounds.
It is inevitable, this avid looking into the past, perhaps because the man whose life I should be celebrating today, My father Cyril, is no more. He died one rotten night same year I gained admission into the university.
I called it a rotten night because, well, that was what it was. I was with him in the back seat of the Mercedes as Brother Ben revved from one hospital to another. It was a medical emergency but no hospital would admit him that night. He died at close to 10pm.
Back home, listless and lachrymal, I got lost in the world of a kadish. I wrote a threnody for him and pasted it on the departmental notice board (Linguistics) the following day. It was a terrible period and one of the most insecure in my life.
His death was avoidable, of course, but it wasn’t just the death that made the year terrible. I had another challenge, too. It wasn’t money, for I had robust support from family members in the US. Yet details of this other challenge might provoke a pity party, which I detest. So I’ll pass…
Well, along the line, still at Uni, I encountered some people who nearly killed me with love and care and understanding. Thank you, Maureen Okebalama Anudu , Nwadiaro Obianuju, Ofodile Tochukwu, Angel Ella Aima Aikosi and Lozie Linda Isichei-Osiegbu, coursemates, sisters beyond blood, who held my hand when I wandered alone and naked, a child of the mist…
It is Father’s Day and I cannot but appreciate the cosmic threads of your friendship, spawned in part by dad’s demise and the other challenge which I am disinclined to state here but which, of course, you are all conversant with.
Dad was not just a dad but a friend, too. I recall he had bought a Christmas card addressed specifically to me when I was 5. In that card, he wished me every benediction a father’s heart can hold… I still have that card, somewhere in the attic of the other apartment.
At some point in our relationship we fought, of course: I had become obdurate and wanted to go my way as a teenager. We wouldn’t let me.
In retrospect, I can only smile, beholden as I am to vicarious knowledge. From our relationship I learned a lot, lessons singularly vital to my being today, and from which I draw immeasurable draughts…. Draughts from which my kids, if I should have them, would benefit immensely. Goodnight, Dad.