You know I never really accepted my dad’s death; he died seven years ago after some ‘squabble’ with some dudes.. Long story short he got shot thrice and succumbed to the gunshot wounds 5 days later. I remember I didn’t even want to go for the funeral; someone dies, we move on. I ended up going eventually, even if it meant missing my high school exams that term, albeit reluctantly. I must say I was pretty bummed though, that I wasn’t given a chance to speak at the service; I know I’m not the best at speaking (takes tremendous effort) but I had a nice story for everyone to hear. I guess I’ll keep it for myself. I would have rocked people’s worlds though. Anyway that aside, I was there when his body lowered into the ground; I even did that pour-a-little-soil thing guys do… But somehow I never ‘fully’ accepted his passing on.
From when I was young I had always put my dad with the likes of Superman. Someone that could make anything happen. There was a parents race one time during a sports day when I was around 8 years; he emerged second to last. The parents were supposed to touch a certain wall and run back. He had removed his shoes prior to running, so as they turned after touching the wall, he had a horrible slip. He wasn’t going to win but he crossed the finish line laughing very loudly. See it’s funny because earlier in the day I had emerged last in a 3 legged race. But we went home saying we are all winners and joked about it for sometime.
My dad had a weird way of effortlessly pulling people around him; he would just appear and make one statement, and people are already removing business cards, contacts and organizing how they can meet him again. He used to do shows, African percussion shows particularly for the Japanese; and he rocked. I mean switching between African, then in a second start singing Enka or some other Japanese jingle from the early 90’s, who does that? I remember asking him how he did it; why his shows were so unique and involving… I can’t remember the full way he explained it; but it was something about being true to yourself and just let it happen. I tried it last year when I went to Japan and it worked!
And among all those good qualities, I think what I inherited the most was integrity. Standing up for what you believe in. I remember I had accompanied him to a boxing match (he was the chairman of the board that governs boxing in the country, meaning, you know, free tickets and what not) and the promoter refused to pay the boxers. So, being a hardhead, took the promoter’s car keys and refused to hand them back until the boxers were paid. So yeah, of course that didn’t rub off well with others, and in the long run the death threats materialized.
I don’t know why I’ve never accepted that he’s gone; this is a different ‘denial’ from the 5 stages one. I know he’s dead but I still feel his presence Maybe it’s one of those psychological things; I because I had to revive him in my mind because of the tough times I had to endure after his demise. Oh, no one at home, none of my family got me. Only my friends did; I had actually planned to run away for a while… I always pictured he was on a long business trip and that he’ll be back, so until then I had to remain strong.
But I don’t need that anymore, I’m all grown up now (lol) and I have people that get me. I’ve understood my personality more and learnt to know when I’m over reacting and stuff… So I think I’m finally ready to let go, to say the words I’ve never really said.
Farewell, Dad. Until we meet again, I’ll walk my own path, just like you did.
*’Kakkoi no Otou-chan’ is a Japanese translation of ‘Cool Dad’
*Disclaimer: The story may be 85% correct coz its what I heard and intel in Ngummo is somewhat trustworthy
It shouldn’t surprise you I remember my [late] father by his birthday (2nd May) rather than his day of demise. Let’s just say that’s me and that’s a topic for another day. And yep! Unlike most of you (:p) I had a cool dad. You know, the type that didn’t wear suits much, could hang out with your friends, anawagotea*, loved fun stuff and loved people. He had the nickname ‘Boxer’ ; ok, he was a boxer and did very well I must say; and he loved mock fights with me and my pals. I could say he was ‘burning with the flame of youth.’ He also had a habit of giving me unprecedented nicknames then strech my cheeks to make me smile when I started frowning. He had one lame joke, hmm…I think it was about a mosquito in France with a wooden leg…something something..we always put him off before he could finish so I still don’t know the answer, sadly. *Sigh* and he also had the habit of starting stories halfway…”And the elephant came!” ???
Particularly I remember one funny incident that happened quite sometime back. The details are a little bit sketchy so I’ll tell them to the best of my knowledge. One Sunday afternoon, my dad and my sister were coming home when apparently one of the estate boys lets out a comment that no one in their right mind would, especially if you were not strong and can’t run away from danger. Seriously, how do you call a woman’ fat’ in front of her own father?! Deathwish, perhaps? Anyway, so the guy manages to let out the word ‘fat’ accompanied by a small giggle. My sister glances back and then ignores the comment, like nothing happened. Strong lady Anne Orwa is, but that didn’t matter. I think I could say ‘the lion in my dad awoke’ and he turned to the retard. Silence. And to everyone’s surprise, the old man starts chasing this 21 year old.
Chasing! Believe it! He ran towards him and they went for a lap round the estate. A fifty something year old man against a 21 year old. That I can confirm because from the house you could hear his wailings and pleas of forgiveness. And they were loud and babyish so I came out to have a look. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to have pity but the estate was at a standstill as my dad caught up with the young lad and pinned him to the ground. “Sorry! Sorry!” I could hear the boy cry as my dad hit him with [dreaded] punches. After he had satisfied his boiling blood, he let him go and told him to run. He ‘happily agreed’ and sped by me and my other two bros, Ken and Josh, still wailing like a mad man. Then my dad just strolled home (my sis was long in the house) as if nothing happened.
Well, that was Peter Orwa for you. Just another day in the Orwa Household!