Whenever I am reminded of my father, I automatically stop and think about where I am currently and if my father would be proud of the man I have become. Would my dad look at me now and be proud? Would he approve? Would he say, you did alright for yourself or would he be disappointed with the choices I have made? It’s funny how one memorable day can make you stop and think about your entire life.
What is somewhat remarkable to me is that when my dad was alive I wasn’t really concerned with this concept of pleasing him. Our early years weren’t your typical father & son relationship, albeit I loved my dad and he loved me, I still felt so distant from him. A majority of older Nigerian fathers tend to take this iron fist approach when it comes parenthood, and although my dad’s disciplinary methods were ‘light work’ when compared to what my older siblings received, I never felt as close as I would have liked with my father.
What may be surprising to hear is my Dad’s shortcomings were one of the reasons I loved him very much. Yes, he certainly made mistakes, but this simply showed the humanity that is a part of every single one of us. He did all he could to recompense even in his fragility, and it’s a lesson I could never forget nor dismiss. Furthermore, the fact my father would slave away at his job to provide for his eight children; and several ‘outsiders’ on countless occasions, had a huge impact on how I provide for my own family.
The stark reality is that the pain of losing a loved one is a devastating emotion regardless of the past. People find different ways of dealing with it, either letting it consume them or over time finding healing in the process.
This emotional rollercoaster simply brought me to a very simply realisation. I’m a son in desperate need of my father.
I know he had to go, I completely understand it was his time but that still doesn’t change the fact that right now, I need my dad more than ever before. I just need to hear him say everything is going to be alright, you are going to make it and I’m with you every step of the way. I would give anything and everything to hear his voice again, just to hear him tell me I’m on the right track, that yes, it is hard and you will face some incredible struggles but somehow you are going to overcome.
Even after death and separation it doesn’t change the fact that a son will always need the embrace of a loving father.
I can’t change my past, but I can certainly impact my future with the decisions I make in the present. It’s clear I need to allow my pain to make me a better person, not letting my regrets taint the moments I cherished with my father and I must refuse to let my so-called disappointments hinder me from achieving my goals and making those around me proud.
R.I.P Joel Adewole Oluwatobi
05.03.44 – 17.09.11
Words by, Daniel (db Captures)