Ahead of Father's Day next Sunday, I thought of my late father who died on 5th April 1998 at the age of 73. People said behind every successful man stands a supportive wife. I wish to add that, before that same man has stood his own father. During my formative years I had watched how my father toiled to provide for not just my 4 siblings and I but also his own siblings as well as those from his second mother (my grandfather married two wives), for he was the first born of his family and had to fulfill his filial duties. Together with my grandfather they worked to look after an extended family of 20 members.
My father was a meek man. I never saw him lose his temper for once, an admirable trait in a man under pressure. He found comfort and release in liquor and cigarettes. He drank Carlsberg and smoked Lucky Strike and was a very loyal customer of these brands. I believe his indulgence spoilt his health for his often drank through his lunch. In his 60s he toned down his drinking spree and gave up smoking entirely on medical advice. He died of heart enlargement and failure that led to toxemia.
I had great memories of my father, which I've documented in earlier posts. But my greatest memory shall be his bravery as he battled his failing health, sleeping on raised bed and watching helplessly what he can no longer do - eat and drink what he used to love, and no longer able to travel to places he dreamed of. He lost weight and was a scrawny self like when he was a young man. I watched him age helplessly fighting a disease that ate into his life and sapping his body. But my father didn't complain to me. He was meek and soft-spoken to the very end. In fact I cannot even recall if I saw him cry during his life. What I shall always recall is his smile and laughter.
Father, I miss you and wish you are alive today. You would have been 86, a possible age to be around. But father, before you left us in 1998 I had driven you to my factory and assured you that my business is alright. Yes, father, today it is more than alright and from Heaven you can see that I've not lied to you.
I visited my father's tomb once a year to speak to him as a son would to a living father, and 'update' him (as if he doesn't know) and wiped clean his tomb and headstone with love and reverence.
My father is physically no more but in my mind he will forever be my good and loving father who provided for me and made me the first graduate of our extended family. Thank you father and I bless you this coming and every Father's Day until we meet again.