“Ebubechukwu get me a cup of tea”
“Okay Dad” i replied rushing off to the kitchen.
“Here it is Dad”.
“Good. Thank you”. I turned to leave when he said “Wait! Come closer”. I did just that
“Ebubechukwu never forget to serve a cup of tea with a saucer and a tea spoon no matter where you are. Okay?”
“Okay Dad. Noted. Thank you”.
I quickly walked back to the kitchen smiling, thinking of how cool my dad can be.
“Chika watch where you’re going and don’t fall”, Mum shouted behind me. “And what have you been doing?”, She asked.
“I just served dad tea”, I answered.
“Did you rinse the cup before doing that?”
“Good. Not just the cup, but rinse every dish and utensils before serving”, she said sternly.
“I hear you ma”. She walked back to be with her husband.
“Gosh cant this husband and wife stop lecturing me at every chance they’ve got”, i muttered to myself and walked straight to my room.
* * *
“Daddy where are we going to?”
“Somewhere. You’ll see when we get there”, i nodded still trying to figure out what was going on.
“Did you pack your writing materials and note pad?” He reminded.
“Yes i did”
He finally found where to pack after twenty minutes, we came down and walked to the front
“Ebubechukwu this is the place”. I looked up and found the tall building by the side of the junction. It was located properly at a very busy area.
“What I’m i supposed to do here dad? Finally speaking up after staring at the long building.
“You’re here for your first basic IT training” he said smiling at me.
“Wow!”, i exclaimed as my eyes grew wide.
“You start today. Resume every morning by ten and leave by two in the afternoon for two months”.
“Two months?” I asked obviously irritated by how long the training would take.
“Any problem?” Dad asked looking directly into my eyes.
“No” i said quickly. I cant disobey my dad and not especially when he looks at me like that. I was still scared that it was too early to do this. I was just twelve years old and as much as the training would do me good, i still wanted to play and enjoy my holidays. But its my dads wish and I’m sure its for the best.
Five hours later i stood staring at the kitchen thinking of what to eat after coming back from my training class when mummy entered the kitchen. “What are you doing?”
“Thinking of a fast food to prepare. I’m starving” i replied groaning.
“Hope you learnt something in your training today “
“Hmm” i said slowly.
“Don’t take this lightly Chika, this is a good step for you. Your dad has given you your first step towards independence. While that is good always work hard and remember there’s no short cut in life. You work hard you eat fat. Do you understand?” She asked sternly.
Must every discussion be a lecture, i thought to myself as mummy left the kitchen. Then heating the pot on the gas i smiled finally. Thinking of how different my parents were yet they were the same in many ways. Dad was always lecturing with his deep baritone voice that command a kind of authority you wouldn’t want to go against and mum was always shouting her lectures in a way that even when your ears are closed you’ll still listen and adhere to them just to get her to stop talking.
* * *
He was on the hospital bed for months been treated of diabetes and high blood pressure. Every day we were attending to his every needs and it was never easy seeing him in that ill state. I watched him closely and i was confident that he would be alright. One time i even smiled and said “Dad when you get stronger I’m sure you’ll tell us every thing we ever said or did around you”. That was my faith. I believed that he would bounce back strong and healthy. After some weeks we saw signs of recovery. We were all glad and relieved that soon it would all be over. Soon our life would be back to normal. Soon we would be home taking a breath of fresh air and not the air of sickness and drugs surrounding the hospital.
I went for my clearance for a few days knowing that by the time i come back Dad would be home. Than my phone rang a day to my clearance. “Hello, Chika”
“I’m sorry to inform you but we just lost your dad….”
Every thing stood still. Like a bolt of lightening it hit me so hard…i couldn’t move…the phone dropped from my hands…i sat staring into space. I couldn’t find any strength or light, only darkness. My eyes were burly…my hands were shaking…my legs got stuck to the ground…and i was there for what felt like an eternity.
Then suddenly i gave an earth breaking scream. I kept screaming for an hour till my voice cracked and when i had no strength left in me the tears rolled down. It just kept pouring without control. I cried till i had no tears to cry. Days past by and i was still numb; stressing my eyes to reach out to my tears but found none. I had shed them all. I couldn’t make sense of anything, one minute he was getting better and the next minute he was gone. Gone forever. I was angry at the God i had faith in, angry at the prayers i prayed and blamed myself and my so called confidence and faith in God. Even when i got home. I looked hard at my mom but there were no words to say. I left the faith, refused to hope and stayed away from friends. Of what good were all those things? I asked my self. My room was my hiding place and i lived that way for months but when i saw my mom everyday i saw something else. A new hope…
It was extremely hard for mom. He was her everything. I couldn’t fathom what she must be going through or the battles that waged in her heart. Her sisters came home to help in the beginning and they were truly helpful and supportive, and when they left, something changed. Mum started shifting chairs, rearranging the living room and the entire house and cleaning the store. It was like she woke up from a deep sleep. When i asked her later her answer was ” This is who i was when your dad married me and this is who I’ll continue to be even after he’s gone, he may be gone but I’ll continue from where he stopped. I’ll protect all that he lived for, all that he worked for and all that he longed for”. I was perplexed by her answer and i admired her zeal and strength. She drove us down for the funeral, worked so hard to put everything in order. She fought with the world to protect us. Fought with the society to keep her integrity and principles. She kept us fed and refreshed. She kept her faith alive and kept her fire burning.
I saw her tears when we failed to meet her expectation.
I saw her eyes so withdrawn when she felt lonely.
I saw how happy she sounded when she heard i and my brothers voice.
I saw how tired she was after the stress of the day.
I heard her frustration when things were not working well.
I heard her encourage her self every minute of the day.
Not once did she become weak. She remained strong and unwavering. She was the true definition of a hero. When. I saw all this i wanted to be more than what she was, so i worked hard to restore my faith, confidence and friends. This time i felt God closer. I was happy for the first time in a long time.
It was Dads death anniversary yesterday and i remembered how long it had been. What a great man he was and how mum had been a great mother and father to us in his absence. That was when i decided to do something. Mum turned fifty, five days ago and i pondered on how little we’ve done for her and how long it had been since we celebrated anything. We’ve never even gone out to a bar, or a restaurant or a cinema or even a party since dad left us because we had no zeal to celebrate anything. But with mum turning fifty i knew it was time to create a beautiful memory. A memory that would make her forget the loss of dad. A memory that would make our life filled with joy and laughter. So i organized a surprise fiftieth birthday house party for mummy. Our first party in five years.
Immediately she entered the house the shock and excitement on her face was irreplaceable. It was one in a million. I couldn’t trade it for thousands of naira. Since on the tenth, two days ago, after the party, she hasn’t stopped talking about the party. She keeps praying for her children. This is i and my brothers gift to her. A happy memory of a lifetime.
These are my brothers exact word:
My heart just turned 50 this week. I see a lot females mostly online(never in real life) talking about being feminist I get pissed off. Women like this with little or nothing grind out something for themselves while carrying the whole family in our country. Our mothers, aunties, sisters who have to work twice as hard in real life are the feminist the ones we should worship there feet. God , the universe, everything protect the two people for me. I will give anything.
Dad was the little Ebubechukwu’s hero and mom is now the Chika’s hero.
He taught me to be independent and she taught me to believe in my capabilities.
He taught me to create opportunities for myself and she taught me to work hard to keep those opportunities.
He taught me how to build my world and she taught me how to build my home.
He taught me that life is good, fun and beautiful and she taught me that there was a bad, cold and evil side of life.
They taught me every thing and more.
I struggled with publishing this post for the past two days; not because i don’t want to but because its a part of me that I’ve kept deep and hidden for a very long time for fear that if shared, those memories would no longer be mine. I wanted it to be sacred and to be untouched. But now its not all sad because I’ve got something new. Now i realize that, that pain and loss brought us a gift. A lifetime of chances. A chance to appreciate each other more.
To all parents who took good care of their kids and showered them with all the love you could ever give we celebrate you.
To all parents who survived all hardship and struggles to see their children happy but couldn’t stay alive to see them blossom. We celebrate you and we know you see us from above
To all the fathers who worked hard for their families and waited to walk their daughter to the alter but never got the chance. We celebrate and love you and you’ll forever be in our hearts.
To all women, mothers, wives, and to all women who have been termed widows, orphans, single mothers and handicapped by circumstances and yet still stood strong, fought hard and came out on top. We celebrate you and we applaud your strength, strong will and sensitivities. And we say you you are the real hero’s.
To those who have grieved the loss of a dear one. Are you still sad? Are you still in the dark like i once was? Have you found the light?
You can share them with the readers in the comment section and encourage someone. And if my experience has encouraged you drop a comment, like and follow my blog post.
You can also send me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org i wait to hear from you