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.