On the 7th of May, my darling Dad went on ahead. You see, I was the last child for about 20 years and I absolutely loved my Daddy. We sometimes went for ages without speaking and then will speak regularly. It all happened so quickly as Dad gave us 7 days to bury him so I had to go to Nigeria in a mad hurry.
A few months ago, Dad phoned and said his favourite slippers were on their way out. I had bought him 2 pairs as he liked them and wore them everyday and both pairs lasted about 7 years. So I began my search for another pair and could not find them anywhere. I sent a replacement and he said they were a bit tight and I said they would stretch as they were leather. He also wanted some underwear and I got him 6 sets. When we went to pick Dad up on the morning of the wake keeping, they dressed him and put him in one of the underwear sets I sent home. I wish I had dropped a note in the coffin, though I am not sure what I would have written on it.
On top of my freezer, I think I have a pack of Clan tobacco. Dad used to smoke a pipe and that smell in an air conditioned room transports me back. I forgot to send them home in the last parcel and was going to send them with the next person going home. One day when I am strong enough, I will burn a bit of the tobacco just to smell my dad.
I spoke to him the day before he died, and I knew he could hear me but I could not really hear him. My last words were, ,"I will call you in the morning. I love you Daddy" We always ended our phone calls with me saying "I love you Daddy" and my Dad will say "Thank you". You see, he was old school and would never say I love you. Instead he showed it. I remember my love of reading started because my Dad always made me read and bought me loads of books. He used to get me the encyclopedia for my age set and I am still looking for the set I had when I was about 7. He used to read to me and our favourite shared book was King Solomons mines. I read the book every couple of years and I am due another read but I cannot bring myself to read it. One day, I might.
Dad was always huge on education and effort. Apparently, I have his hands and look the most like him. Can't really see it myself but I find myself looking in the mirror now trying to spot all the similarities. For now, I have good days where I function well enough and then desperately bad days, where waking up is such a chore. It hurts so violently and I find myself wishing I could just hide away for a while. But life must go on and the children need me.
My overriding fear is that I will forget the sound of his voice and all his little quirks. He had a habit of fiddling with his ring and tapping it whenever he was bored. He always walked very fast and I remember running after him, trying to keep up with his strides when he was going to the office. I used to go along to read and drink tea and biscuits with the secretary. He had an expressive smile and deep belly laugh and he used to eat pounded yam with a fork and knife. For an Ondo man, he never ate with his hands :)
I wish I did not believe in God so much as I desperately want to consult a psychic. I just want to say hello and have Dad say hello back. Is that too much to ask?