Thursday, 01 December, 2022

thenewnigerian

Letter To My Hero – On Father’s Day


A letter to my hero on fathers day. Enjoy the interesting write up

Dear Dad,

You told me I was the one you waited for before you took a flight into destiny. You told me stories of your care for me. You were filled with so much joy at my birth. You carried me every chance you could get and never stopped staring into my innocent eyes. You took time off work sometimes, so you could nurse me. I was your little angel and you proudly showed me off to everyone you knew.

Mum told me of how you were not ashamed to carry me around in the baby pouch anytime you both went out. It is a common sight to see mothers with the baby pouch carrying babies around. A father doing the same is a rare sight. But you did it proudly. You loved your little boy and took care of him every way you could.

As I grew older, I preferred to stay by your side. I wanted you to feed me all the time. I cried whenever you were not around to do so. My appetite returned as soon as you took the spoon to feed me. I played games with you. I asked you all sorts of questions which you always answered. You never shut me up. You taught me to be confident, to believe in myself, to be curious and dare the impossible.

Dad, you were my hero.

You could do no wrong in my eyes. Mum often got jealous at the strong bond that existed between us. We could communicate without saying a word to each other. I could tell you anything. You never judged me. You tolerated all my inadequacies and you taught me to pick myself up when I fell, to try again, to keep trying, to reach for the stars and to excel.

I was not your only child but I was your first born, the beginning of your strength. You waited five years before I was born and I was like a king-child. My siblings often felt left out because they said you concentrated too much on me. I was always pushed forward to appeal to you whenever anyone erred because they believed you would listen to me. Mum’s regular statement of. ‘Charles, go and talk to your hero,’ still rings in my head.

I told everyone I knew what an amazing dad I had. I exaggerated your good points and was blind to your shortcomings, if you had any. You were my dad, my first friend, my caregiver, football partner, counsellor and coach.

You were all this to me and more.

That was the story of yesterday. I look to today, the present reality and I wonder if I can use the present tense to describe you. Can I dare to say, ‘Dad, you are my hero?’ Can I still say, ‘I look up to you, Dad?’ Can I tell people, ‘My dad is the most amazing man I ever met?’

I shudder as I continue to write this letter. I shudder at the new reality that confronts and confounds me. It is like a script written by a most depraved soul. One that gives me the creeps as I read. This script cannot be written of my father.

Not the man who cradled me in his arms. Not the one who took such good care of my siblings and me. Not the one who showered my mum with so much love and gave his family the best that life had to offer. Not the man whose advice was to me almost as valuable as godly advice.

Not the man I now see in handcuffs.

My eyes are full of unshed emotions as I look at that image. The image mocks my childhood fantasies, destroys my hopes and freezes my smiles. It has become the song of the drunkards, the amusement of journalists, the rave of the moment and the top gist for rumour mongers.

I wish I can see you to ask you why. To hear from you why this had to happen. I have tried to deny what they have served as truth. It is too devastating to contemplate. Every time I turn to the news media, I see them mount up. The evidence grows, your voice of protest is lower and my devastation piles up like the discussions that fly around.

How could you, Dad?

That is the question I ask and I am struggling to keep my spirit in one piece. Mum is almost a wreck, my siblings are too stunned to speak. We talk in whispers and cry as we huddle together in our shared misery.

I know you never judged any of my past errors. I have seen you make slips that are common with humans. We have laughed and cried over our shared crimes. But this scenario is more than I can bear.

I wish it were something much milder. Maybe a marital indiscretion or a little pilfering of a trusted friend’s funds. Not that I consider these permissible but I still think they are forgivable. But to find you at the centre of a syndicate that brings torment to families is more than I can swallow. While you preserved your family unit, you were the ringleader of a group that destroyed other families. I shudder to think of what else you might have done. How much blood you may have spilled, to cover your tracks.

I wish I could cover your sins and try to make mild your guilt but my best friend, Luther was kidnapped and killed. The pain from that still lingers and I wonder if your gang had a hand in that!

I am so disillusioned and I don’t know what I will say when I meet you. I had so much faith in you and you brought it all crushing, like a building driven by a fierce storm. Maybe there remains a shred of love for you in my heart but the wounds your act have inflicted on me are still bleeding.

Maybe when the bleeding stops and the scars have faded, I may see you again as my hero. For now, I am too wounded to focus. I hope you feel enough remorse to truly explain why you had to do this to those families and to your family that loved and trusted you so completely. 

You remain my dad, for the force of nature has willed it so, But I, Charles, I can only sign out as 

Your devastated son.

***

A thought-provoking and deeply emotional letter, you would say. 

This is the letter I imagined that Evan’s son wrote to him. Evans is the billionaire kidnapper kingpin who terrorised many families in Nigeria before he was apprehended. There were rumours that his son burst into tears when he was apprehended. He was crushed by what his father had done.

There are many fathers like Evans. 

Men who do not think of the devastating effects of the actions they are involved in. Men who rape other people’s daughters and keep their daughters under lock and key. Men who have affairs with married women and expect their wives to remain marital virgins. Men who kill other people’s children and do all they can to protect their children from harm. 

Osama Bin laden had a family, didn’t he? 

Many of these men have no idea that their children are looking up to them. Their children see them as heroes. I know many ladies who wish to marry men like their fathers; many men who vow that they will treat their wives with as much tenderness as their fathers treated their mothers. Children who decide to emulate the principles of godliness, faithfulness and dedication to duty that are legacies from their fathers.

I am loaded with virtues that I learnt from my father. I am writing this piece because of one of the things he taught me. My father taught me to love books and that has made my writing career blossom. 

I think of tormenting scenarios like the one faced by Charles and his siblings. Of men who have abused the privilege of fatherhood and plead for a rethink. A return to the era where fatherhood is synonymous with accountability. 

I say to the heads of families, to fathers, ‘Please be good examples to your children. They are watching you and trying to follow your footsteps, whether they are good or evil. Fatherhood goes beyond acting as ‘oga at the top’ and getting a woman pregnant. It is responsibility, nurture and dedication to a duty given to you by God.’

Today is Father’s Day and we celebrate you fathers. We admire you for all the sacrifices you make to keep your homes ablaze with resources, love and other virtues and we ask for divine grace for you to be the best that your children want you to be.

Happy Father’s Day.

Ify Omeni – The Tale Weaver

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