I can go an entire week, maybe even weeks and not think of my Dad, as I was quite young when he passed away, and prior to that, he travelled a lot due to the nature of his work. So my memories of him are limited yet vivid and significant.
One of my favourite memories of my Dad was dancing with him at the celebration of life (funeral) party for my Grandad. My papa was the eldest of 9 children and had come home to give his Dad, my grandad, a befitting send-off.
I remember that after the party was over, a couple of my dad’s friends and his brothers stayed back. I don’t recall any of my siblings being around but I was with my Dad, listening in on his banter with his friends, watching as he played a local game (Ayo) with them whilst drinking. Then the village drummers came by to serenade him with some music. He got up and so did I, naturally, as I was sitting on his lap.
We began dancing together, moving to the rhythm of the beats…we were being cheered on by his friends and I danced with so much energy like I didn’t care that people were watching; I had absolutely no inhibitions. The louder they cheered, the more erratic my moves. It was the best feeling in the whole wide world. I don’t think I’ve danced like that since then. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was drunk and intoxicated with the local wine, but of course not, I hadn’t even had a drop of the wine, I was only 6 years old. I was drunk in love, in love with my Daddy. The one who named me ‘Eyimatofopeoluwa’ (this is enough to thank God for); he was so thankful to God for my safe arrival after a difficult birth, I was his last child – the child of his middle age.
My siblings jest that I wasn’t planned but I know God had it all planned out. Anyway back to this party, I was happy to have all of my Daddy’s attention on me. As I mentioned earlier, he often travelled, so I cherished every moment I could spend with him. So you can imagine my grief, the brokenness of my fragile heart, when I was called to the headmaster’s office barely weeks after I had been summoned to the same office to be told of my grandad’s death, except this time it was Daddy. I thought noooo, noo way. This has got to be a joke, but it wasn’t.
I haven’t danced like that since my grandad’s party. I’d love to dance with my Daddy again, to run into his arms and give him a big hug. To sit with him and tell him all I have achieved, the struggles I have overcome, the challenges I still face. How I’d love him to meet my nephews, nieces and my own son.
It has been 28 years, my grief hasn’t completely gone away, BUT my pain eases with time or so I think, until a major event happens in my life and then the tears stream down my face usually unexpectedly…because I long for my daddy, to be kissed on the forehead, patted on the back, maybe even scolded for my mischievousness.
I am sharing this part of my story, my pain, to let you know – I’m willing to be your friend and share my bereavement journey with you. I’m willing to walk with you as you face your own challenges. Yes, grief is unique to each individual but they say talking helps, so why don’t you drop me an email when you’re ready to talk – email@example.com and if you’re not ready just yet, you can get a copy of my book ‘Letters of Hope’ from www.lettersofhope.org.uk
I share some practical tips on dealing with grief in my book. I hope you find it helpful.
“Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”
– Bill Withers, Lean On Me
Happy Anniversary Daddy – I miss you!