I lost my father this year and I do not know how to feel. I had lost people in the past and I was full of grief. I cried because I wish they did not leave. The news of my father’s demise left me numb, I did not know how to feel.
All my life, I have met my father a few times. I remember my father as a child dragging myself and my mother to court on who to take custody. I did not know what was going on but I was always happy to see him. I finally spent two weeks with him and I was badly maltreated by my stepmother. When I was in primary school, he used to sneak to visit me because my mother authorized the school authority to never allow him visit me as he never paid for my school fees. He always said my mother was wasting money for sending me to a girl child to school.
When my sister was about to start secondary school, my grandma took my sister to my father on the request for school fees but they were turned back by his new wife. My grandma left there in tears and told my mother to brace up.
As I was leaving primary school, he was asked by my mum once again to pay my first year school fees and he said ‘Where am I supposed to get such money’. I remember my mum saying “taking care of us was fully her cross”.
I did not see him for years. I lived most of my life without him. The men in my mother’s family were my fathers and they were there all through emotionally, physically, and financially. When I was in my third year as an undergraduate, my sister came home and said the boy she was dating had said that she should reconnect with her father. He said ‘The role of a father is important in a child’s life’
My mother and grandma went in search of him for days before they located him. Myself, my sister, my mum and my grandmother went on the journey to his place. His new wife was present and kept on interfering our conversations. He was saying we were only there to look for him for my sister’s wedding. We left there but I still kept in touch with him. My sister asked him for his account number and he said he does not deserve our money. He said our money should be spent on my mother and my grandmother.
We mostly talk on Sundays but those absent years were not recovered. It felt I was talking to a stranger. As time went by we drifted away and stopped communicating.
I always wondered why my mother kept him away. She told me a story about how my father wanted to use her for rituals and that was why she fled. The herbalist had sneaked to tell her and she fled with myself and my sister in the middle of the night. I understood what my mother was saying when I started speaking with him. He always brought up discussions centered around the occult and how he plans on visiting one baba in his village.
I was living my life and my uncles were my fathers. I could call them for fatherly advice. I sincerely forgot my biological father was not present.
I eventually got into a relationship but experienced this issue of being estranged from my father. My boyfriend’s parents had concerns of me being from a broken home.
I started talking to my father to build that parent-child relationship that was estranged. We would talk for only a minute, I would bring up conversations but it was not flowing. I lost my grandmother that same year. This time around, I really wanted to build that relationship. I would call alternate days, visit and I felt I was not welcome. I moved on with my life and concentrated on my uncles.
My sister got married and he was not even told. In the past, he had talked about taking her to the occult to get a husband. She was scared of him being diabolical and did not want him present. In the past, when she talks to him, he would say “Awon Iya mi Osoronga’ meaning ‘My mothers who are witches of the highest coven’. She also had a boyfriend who left her because my father was telling him to join his cult. The man ran!!!
The wedding went smoothly and my uncle represented as her father. After putting to bed, she wanted to go visit him, everything had been planned but unfortunately that was when my father died.
When I was told the news, I was numb. My mouth was opened for a while and I did not know what to say.
It has been three months I lost my father and I still do not know how to feel. I called Arogi to speak to a therapist and one of the counsellors attended to me. I feel better, I feel lighter, and I am still in therapy session. I have been made to understand that ‘Fatherhood is not by blood but by responsibility’
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