Originally written December 1, 2013. 

Hello Daddy.

At 7.24pm EST on 12/01/2013, Gbenga told me you were gone. When mummy called at 5:25pm and told me to pray for you, something in me said there was no point, but I still did. Even when my meeting started, my mind kept going back to you. So when I saw Gbenga’s message that I should pick up my phone, I knew. It’s 10:17pm now and I still don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. My body knew, because those spasms and shivers I developed after I returned to my meeting were proof that even if mentally I hadn’t accepted the fact that I would no longer see you again, my members understood that the source from which I came is now gone from me.

This was not the plan Daddy. I had just begun this new phase of my life. And while your years of training and discipline are enough to guide me down my path, you should be there to see me when the milestones begin to come. This was not the plan.

This was not the plan Daddy. You were supposed to grow old with Mummy. The pain I heard in her voice when she was crying for you shouldn’t be. She loves you. This was not the plan.

This was not the plan Daddy. You who taught people how to live healthy lifestyles shouldn’t have gone in this manner. Of all the times I wished you weren’t so intelligent and stubborn and proud, this ranks the highest, because something tells me if only you had gone to the doctors to do a check-up, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. This was not the plan.

This was not the plan Daddy. How can none of my kids get to meet The Major? Your father did that to us, you were supposed to be different. Why should none of my kids ever get the opportunity to play with that moustache of yours? This was not the plan.

I am sad that you’re gone Daddy; sad that you’ve left Mummy alone. You were always the stronger one, if anybody should have gone first it should have been her, not you; and most of all NOT NOW! I was still reeling over Paul Walker’s death; some Hollywood actor like this that I don’t think you know. You probably have watched a couple of the Fast and Furious movies. Anyways, he died yesterday and it was pretty sad. This shouldn’t have happened with my defences being lower than normal. How am I supposed to get all the A+’s I’m supposed to get in my exams that are two weeks away?

Death is not a respecter of persons.

For it is given to man once to die and after death, judgment.

I’ve known these sayings all my life, and I’ve also always known this day would eventually come, but not at 66 Daddy. That you wouldn’t get to see the big 70? Come on. You didn’t even wait and allow us spend money on you. Is it fair?

I know I’m being selfish with this, but this is how I feel right now. I’m questioning you, not because you can answer me, but because I refuse to question God; at least not directly. Maybe He will answer these questions for me, seeing as He’s my Father now.

I told Mummy to be strong. That she shouldn’t mourn like someone without hope. That she should be thankful for all the things there are to be thankful for; and truly there are so many. For the years you both spent together; for the love you shared; for the wonderful children you birthed and bred; for your faith – ESPECIALLY for this, because you confessed Christ as your Lord and Saviour even if you weren’t a church goer; basically Daddy, there are A LOT of things that we all can be thankful for. You can rest assured that we will.

I have told you what wasn’t the plan I guess now I will tell you what the plan is now, and God is my witness. You set me on this path, albeit unknowingly. I will walk down it excellently. I will become someone who will make Nigeria something you would have been proud of. You will look down from Heaven and be proud of not just me, but also of Sister Tope, Gbenga and Busayo. Mummy is in safe hands. Don’t worry about her. God is her new Husband now; and Gbenga and I are man enough to do what we need to do.

I may not have said it out loud (but that’s also your fault too, because that wasn’t how we related), but I love you Daddy. And I am grateful for all the time we spent together and for all the things I learnt from you. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today but for your wisdom and your moulding. I thank you. I miss you. I don’t know if the tears will ever come, but I do know that right now, there is a gap in my heart, and only time will tell whether or not it will eventually be filled.

Bye bye, Daddy.

This is one of many.

To my father,

Chief Tunde Kunama Sawyerr, Major (Rtd.)