Happy Fathers’ Day: Superman, Cheerleader, Confidant & Friend – “My Daddy Was My Hero”

Posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 at 3:31 PM

By Pelumi Simpson

black-father-and-daughterMy first memory of my Daddy is very clear and vivid. He was home with my older brother and I, my mother had gone to the hospital to have a baby. He made Chappy and I asaro with lots of meat. I still remember the plates we used and where I was seated. We were getting prepared to go out and were so happy we could barely sit still. We went visiting Mummy and our baby brother, Opiki, who was born the day before. My 3rd birthday came 2 days later.

My Daddy was my hero, my superman, my greatest cheerleader, my sounding board, my confidant, my friend. He was always there to help, to encourage and to reprimand. There was absolutely nothing we didn’t talk about. He was a great listener, he never judged me. Yet he was an impartial arbiter, and he was firm in resolving petty sibling quarrels which occurred often.
My love for literature and politics and hunger for learning came from my Daddy. We had and still have (to some extent, thank you Mr. Nobody for stealing our books) a large and diverse library in my house. Medical dictionaries (Opiki almost became a hypochondriac until Daddy hid those), Stephen King novels, Kama Sutra, books by Amos Tutuola. Before one session was over in university I already had my books for the next, and I’d have gone through and discussed half of my syllabus with my Daddy. This wasn’t peculiar to me, my brothers and I fought over who collected the newspapers from the vendor as that person got to read them first!

My Daddy was just one call away. Wherever I was in Lagos all I had to do was call and he will come to pick me up. Whatever the time of the day or night he will pick up the phone as soon as it rang and he listened and soothed whatever pain or worry it was away. He visited me almost every day when I was in university. Everyone in my faculty knew my Daddy and most times he didn’t have to call me for me to know he was around. In fact, I used to hang out with my lecturers even before I was admitted to the faculty. Okiki, we never quite had the chance to do our LLM together.

The day he died I lost my friend. It was a day no different from any other, it started out uneventful. Work went on as usual but I felt this heaviness in my heart, I felt bereft. I called home everyone seemed fine. “How’s Daddy?” I asked. I was told he was fine doing okay, he was sleeping. I felt uneasy, I felt terribly unhappy. I didn’t want to go home after work and I didn’t feel like speaking with anyone so I decided to go to the cinema. I saw “Silver Lining’s Playbook” and I felt I could relate to more than half of the characters. I loved the movie. I was skeptical initially as I wasn’t sure I would like it and when I realised that I did I turned my phone notifications, I didn’t want to be disturbed. I got the news that my Daddy had passed immediately the movie ended. Bad news never has good timing. Chappy called me. Be strong he said, Daddy is gone. I later saw that Opiki had been calling me during the movie; he was on his way home from work when he got a very random call from one of my Daddy’s friends. He suspected that the worst may have happened and he wanted to prepare. Of course I practiced what I learnt from the movie, it is okay to act crazy some times. I cried I screamed and brought the house down. People ran out of shops and cinema halls wondering what was going on. Yes, I am the girl who lost it at Silverbird Entertainment Centre on 20th March, 2013.

You see my Daddy had been ill for some months. We hoped, we prayed, we worried, we cried to God that he will get better. I didn’t realise how deeply affected I was until one night I woke up and realised I had been praying and crying out loud in my sleep. The worst part of it all is the hope. Rising and falling, like the tide. Seeing a loved one who was strong and healthy gradually deteriorate physically and then pass on. There were bad days and there were good days. But I thank God for every moment spent together. I have no regrets, we said everything, and nothing was left unsaid.

We didn’t know how wonderful he was until we lost him. He meant different things to different people. The pastor of a church in our neighbourhood told the crowd gathered at the Christian wake keeping in his honour that my Daddy was the major contributor to the building of the church. My Dad wasn’t a member of the church. There were testimonies from people who had known him for over 50 years, 7 years and just one month. It’s a wonder he had time for his nuclear and extended family, his friends and everyone he helped and mentored. We laid my Daddy to rest singing his favourite hymns and the CMS Grammar School song. We wept listening to the songs because we could hear him singing in our minds. He loved to sing.

He fought valiantly and, as Chappy said, he bore it all with equanimity and with the knowledge that Jesus was waiting to receive him on the other side. We did our best and I am indeed grateful that he could see how well loved he was. He demanded to go to home and he had his family and friends around him until the very end.

I miss my friend. I see his passing as a denouement. I find myself wondering, “Where do I go from here?” Sometimes I am overwhelmed with emotion. I feel lost and unable to muster up the zeal or interest to do anything. I wish I could fall asleep and wake up in 5 years. I look around and I am genuinely amazed to see people happy. However, most of the time I rise above the dark clouds and pick myself up. I hear his voice, I hear him laughing, he tells me he is in a much better place, he is happy and without pain. He is with the Lord.

I have to move ahead. He asked me to remember the good times, to hold on to those memories. I will hold on to them, I will keep them dear. I will preserve the good name, the legacy he left behind.

Happy fathers day!

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  • 42 Comments on “Happy Fathers’ Day: Superman, Cheerleader, Confidant & Friend – “My Daddy Was My Hero””

    Comments
    • joy June 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      I’m in tears I wonder what I would do if I loose my Dad

    • paul June 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      so touching, be strong my dear. God is your strength.

    • OK June 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Lucky u…

    • Uche June 16, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Hmmmmm I feel your pain my dear. My dad’s death was extremely shattering to my life. It was really sudden as he was not sick. To this day my boss thinks I am psychic or something because the whole day I kept talking about how much I loved my dad and mum because I was feeling death around me. It was really eerie. When I got the call that my dad had died, I really lost it at work. The healing process takes time. I remember someone saying to me that don’t worry, your dad is in heaven with the angels resting and I got so upset. I said in return, since heaven is a 5 star hotel why didn’t your dad go first?? It is hard to think rationally. May your dad’s soul rest in peace and may God envelope you and your family with so much love and bring you peace.

      • Mz Socially Awkward... June 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        Your story is almost my story, except in my case it was my sister. No illness to prepare us, I was in court on a Monday and got a completely unexpected call with the news – “your sister has just died”. I remember screaming like a mad woman and being driven by another lawyer to see her body in the morgue.

        As I said below, God takes the beautiful ones first and gives us lessons to learn. I don’t know if this will be any reassurance to you but I had a really hard time grieving (used to go and lie in her bed, wouldn’t give out her clothes, etc.) until I had a dream about her dancing in heaven with angels on each side. As in, dancing, ehn! My healing became easier after that and I gradually learnt how to remember her with joy that she repped God in every respect while she was alive.

    • Mrs. B June 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      That brought tears to my eyes!!!

    • *big hug* June 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      God will comfort you dear.

    • xoxo June 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      May the God of all comfort continue to comfort you and yours. May he grant you strength for the journey called life. Be confident of whatever lies ahead as your Dad led an exemplary life for you to follow. All the best

    • Comfort June 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      This is such a beautiful write-up :) WOW! May he rest in peace, and may the good Lord continue to grant you fortitude :)

    • Myne Whitman June 16, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      This is absolutely amazing, sad and uplifting at the same time. Thanks for sharing, and happy father’s day to you too.

    • mlgn June 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      I pray you find solace Pelumi. What a sad article. This statement quite broke my heart:”I wish I could fall asleep and wake up in 5 years. I look around and I am genuinely amazed to see people happy.” God’s blessings to you and your brothers.

    • estee June 16, 2013 at 9:09 PM

      We didn’t know how wounderful he was until we lost him.Rip

    • bamidele June 16, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      Sad and loving story..am crying cos am torched…happy fathers day

      • Tiki June 17, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        *hands you fire extinguisher*

        • vickky June 17, 2013 at 1:54 PM

          Tiki!!!!!!!! (LOL) Be serious!

    • FAR June 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      This reminds me of my relationship with and loss of my mum. 18 years ago but the pain cuts deep like it was yesterday. Rip to all our parents!

    • susu June 17, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      So teach us 2 number our days, that we may apply our hearts 2 wisdom. Psalm 90 v 12………..may his soul continue 2 rest in peace

    • Finz June 17, 2013 at 12:34 AM

      Beautiful write-up, Pels! Uncle will forever be in our hearts, never forgotten.

    • Sylvia June 17, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      I understand every word ,i went crazy wen my dad passed on after months of suffering.We went from hospital to hospital for treatment,my mum & i were sleeping in d car all dat time bcos we had to go out of Lagos bcos of d Doctors’ strike.imagine how i felt wen i noticed he wasn’t breathing,i felt cheated.All i was thinking was ‘who will protect us now’.Happy Fathers Day Daddy.

    • Titi June 17, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      I cried..may hs soil rest in peace

    • AW June 17, 2013 at 6:46 AM

      My dear, in time you will feel better, you won’t forget but you will be able to deal with the pain better. There will be days when you feel as if it just happened yesterday and tears would flow but you will get to a point when those tears would be of laughter with happy memories you made together. You dad lives in you through those memories and death can’t steal that from you.

    • Pamz June 17, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      This write-up just made me sad, plus “Sylvia’s” comment brought tears to my eyes. I can totally relate with everything, the always trying to keep ur hopes high, the not sleeping well, and almost praying out in ur sleep, I had dreams, we’d be attending a funeral, without seeing whose it was. Losing a parent is one of the saddest experiences in life. Me, I usually want to go 5 years backward, to when we were all happy and I still had my Dad. Apparently you lost your dad a little just before 3 months ago. You will get better as the days go by. My dad has been gone for 1 year and 2 months now, it still hurts every single day. This is my 2nd father’s day without him. Not a day has gone by without me thinking about my dad. My dad was, and is still my first love and my hero.

    • Bola June 17, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      It is well my dear. There is a time to be be born and a time to die. This is that time for you. This is the cycle of life.The best thing you can do for your father is to live on in his legacy, by passing down, what he has taught you…. to your children and a few promising ones that come your way. You will grieve. You will hurt, but truly time is a healer. It will get better with time. I wish you the best. Most never had the opportunity to have experienced the direct, human love of a father. Consider yourself blessed that you did; that for the present number of years that you experienced a father’s love. It is well. This too shall pass…

    • eniola June 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      I was touched, May God keep granting you the fortitude to bear the loss. Can’t imagine loosing my dad – my twinnie. God bless you, keep you, cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.

    • whales June 17, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      If all Fathers would step up to their responsibilities and be like this, the world would truly be a better place!

    • Bee June 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Pels, this is awesome. Your Dad was a great man. We can all testify.

    • JJ June 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Pels,
      Excellent piece, very well written, Uncle Kenny was different, I admired and respected him. Wish I was able to pay my last respect to him. He was full of life and he lived it to the fullest. Most of all he was a good father to you guys. Happy Father’s day to him a good example of how father’s should be.

    • Rynyx June 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      take heart huney. you never really get over the loss of a parent. my father passed on 10 years ago and i am not used to it yet. i missed him like mad on my wedding day wen someone else held my hand and gave me away. my son will not know what an amazing granddad he had or my husband will never understand why i am always on about this man that he doesnt know. its hard to forget and let go. you can get used to the pain and it becomes bearable but the place of a father, no one else can take. its been 10 years of wishing my Mother Happy Fathers day cos she became the Father i knew and leaned until my Hubby came around. its well.

    • Gemstots June 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Big Hug Pels, this was simply a heart touching piece. Daddy must be proud…

    • Mz Socially Awkward... June 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Chick, I pray for you that your healing will happen. It will get better and for some reason, the scripture I’m repeating mentally is “oh death where is thy sting?”. Your dad sounds like a wonderful human being to have known and been related to, my goodness the man truly lived and gave the very best of himself to everyone around him (imagine donating money for that church around the corner? I’m not even sure I’m christian enough to have done that…).

      Sigh…. God takes the beautiful ones first and I think he does that so we can learn from them to correct our lives and live as those who have to account for every minute we spend on earth. Your dad lives in your heart, please do him proud and continue on in his path as much as you can.

    • Cherrywine June 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Pels, this is hauntingly beautiful and a fitting tribute. I pray you continue to find comfort in what and who he was to you and may his soul continue to find rest knowing his legacy would live on through you and your brothers.

    • Dupe L June 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Pels, this is such a beautiful tribute to your dad. He will be truly missed. He made us all feel so special, even the little tots. May God continue to bless and keep you all. XOXO

    • Joshua June 17, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      I’m even more encouraged to be a good Dad. I love the little details Pelumi’s dad had, and i can honestly relate to it…deep sighs, my dad is still around and i just discovered one of my fears (The death of a great Dad)…He means so much to me…. Happy Fathers’ Day…and thanks Pelu for this real piece…hugs

    • alzee June 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      had a short tym with my dad since i never met him until 2002 when i was 19, he passed on 2012 and for 10 years that i knew him, he prooved to be a gud man, gave me d love he cld not give to me as a child. didnt have much tym wit him bt d little one i had i will forever cherish. Happy fathers day.

    • Bobby Taylor June 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      I lost my mum 10 years ago and my dad has been there for me and my siblings all through this years. he has been more than a father. Playing the role of mother as well in our lives. I remember when i was entering secondary school for the first time, it was my dad that carried me to school even when i got admission to the university. Now am done and working i owe him alot, same with my sisters. My Father and sibings are one pipo i can never hurt in this life( if tha english is right) loll. Happy fathers day.

    • EMI June 17, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      You’re so blessed and fortunate to have had a father like this even for a short while. Please take heart and thank Go

    • EMI June 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      You’re so blessed and fortunate to have had a father like this even for a short while. Please take heart and thank God for this wonderful gift of a father that you had. I cried as i read this this is something a lot of us can only view through the stories of other. You are very lucky.

    • Abla June 17, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      Very lovely tribute. I’m always movved to tears when I read or hear about #Okikioflife. He’s truly amazing. God bless u always.

    • The Mask June 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Lost my dad when i was just 11 (13 years ago) and it still feels like yesterday especially because none of us got the chance to say goodbye. He was poisoned by business associates, by the time we got to the hospital he was B.I.D ( Brought in Dead) I still miss him a lot, he was fun and would have us bring out our drum kits whenever Mum was upset with him, he would sing while we drummed and she would still be forming vex , LOL. There was never a dull moment in the house with my parents playing Romeo and Juliet. he was just 39 and she was 38 when he passed, She never remarried and has been more than a father to us. I love You Dad for choosing an Amazing woman. Forever in our hearts.

    • Ymc June 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Pels, such a lovely piece and it came straight from your heart! May his soul rest in peace. #teamproudofokiki#

    • alex July 4, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      reading your piece just reminded me of the day i lost my dad, he was my everything that i couldn’t believe he was gone. everyone kept it away from me cos no one knew how to tell me considering the way we were both close, but i knew something was wrong, its one year now but its still feels like yesterday. take heart my dear for i believe he is in a better place.

    • rozay July 9, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      oh my darling, look forward and trust God