We had not had a ladies hangout in months and somehow we agreed to have one on the 26th of March 2022. I picked the date, chose to host, even if only five of use would be available. A few days before, only a handful of ladies had committed to coming but I chose not to cancel. I honestly had second thoughts the night before but still did not cancel.
As I sat to do quiet time on the morning of the 26th, I wondered why I had picked that date as it was a dear friend’s birthday. I would normally spend time with her if it was not a busy day. It was too late to cancel, so I prepped to host the ladies.
Our hangouts are always fun, we play games, overeat and gist about life…. Everything was going well, we had a new member who had us hooked on her gist, haha. Early evening, my phone rings, it was my older sister. I mute the call but then she calls back almost immediately. I pick up to tell her I had company and would call back but she breaks the news to me, daddy passed on not long ago. I put the phone down gently, but the pain was in my eyes. I started crying, i was probably a bit hysterical then I heard Adetoun’s voice on the phone. She told me to calm down. I asked how mum was doing and we spoke about Deke, knowing she would be the worst hit. Our conversation ended.
In that moment, I understood why the hangout was meant to be that day, God knew I needed the company. It seemed like my plan, but He orchestrated it all. For what would I have done if I was all alone at home? I am unsure of this. The ladies comforted me and we somehow carried on chatting as if nothing happened. I think back and I truly appreciate the company or is it distraction? My children saw mummy cry for the first time, their strong mum. My son wondered what was wrong.
I sent a message to a dear friend notifying her of dad’s death. She immediately called and could hear the chatter in the background. She thought I had lost it as she couldn’t understand how I was hosting a hangout with what had just happened. I am grateful that the ladies were with me, truly grateful.
It’s been a year and I still miss my dad. Still can’t believe that saying goodbye to him as he left for the airport on the 4th of March was it. That was the last time I was next to him. I am glad that we FaceTimed on the 25th of March, that was the last goodbye.
The hardest thing I had done in years was to write my dad’s tribute.
I cannot believe I am writing this tribute to you daddy. It’s so hard to process the fact that you are gone. I choose to hold on to the good stuff, memories I will cherish forever. You were very principled, had excessive OCD – you knew when people moved your things, even if it was just a slight move.
You’re gone daddy, you have gone to rest. My handsome and dapper dad, the dancer, the lover of food and entertainment, the chef.
Visiting you in Port-Harcourt was always something to look forward to. You took us for meals at Hotel Presidential. I remember how you would send your driver to come pick us up for lunch with you when we were in primary school. We looked forward to lunch at ‘P’ at Eko Hotel. This was such a treat. You taught us the art of fine dining and introduced us to a variety of food.
You were the ever ready entertainer, always hosting little get togethers. You always found a reason to celebrate. You simply loved life and good food.
You made me breakfast every morning while I was at hospital recovering from chicken pox, the whole hospital knew I was special as you dropped it off yourself. Going to ikoyi club with you on Sundays was special, even though you made us write out each thing we spent money on. We thought this was such a chore then, but I appreciate it as it has helped me stay accountable.
Safety was such a big deal to you and you made sure we sat at the back while you were driving with our seatbelts fastened. I now do this with my children and still have the seatbelt on when seating at the back of the car.
I remember the early morning rides to school from Festac, you threatened to leave us behind if we were not ready on time. You were the over efficient time keeper. Everyone knew my dad dropped me off early, even when I was in Unilag. Lateness was not allowed. We were almost an hour early for my wedding, thanks to you. I am convinced you were more anxious than I was that day.
You were so excited to be a grandfather and you spoiled your grandchildren rotten – lots of chocolates, ice cream and gummy bears. They love you so much. Oseremen saw you ill and he was worried, really worried. He didn’t take the news of your passing well. Eni says you’re in heaven with God, where the streets are lined with gold. She says you’re watching over us all.
I cherish the weekends spent at yours with the children, such precious moments. I will miss cooking for you, you loved my cooking. I get my cooking skills from you and mum. We won’t see you when the kids have swim lessons again, o daddy….
No more watching you light up when you hear a great beat with your famous leg movement. I cannot pick up the phone to call you anymore. I am so grateful for that last call. I saw you in your red shirt, it was nice to see you dressed up. You did not say much, but you said thank you, you waved goodbye, the last goodbye. I replay this in my head, that last goodbye. Goodbye daddy, goodbye, I miss you. I love you.
Lola, your number 2
Grief is tough, no one can prepare you for it. Going back to work after the funeral was difficult as I would normally FacTime my dad first thing when I got to work. At the flat, ,it initially felt like daddy had travelled, but gradually, the reality of him not coming back sank in. I cried when I heard songs he liked, certain hymns triggered me. Coming up to his one year remembrance saddened me, the reality of it all was a lot.
The year has gone so quickly but the pain is still there. I miss our chats, disagreements, prayers on my birthday and my gifts :). If you ever met my dad, you would say he was full of life.
My father has not left us, he lives on in our hearts.
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Keep staying strong dear. God knows the best for us all
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Thank you Jennifer ❤️