Originally written December 23, 2013
They say it’s not about how long a man lives, but how well. Your life wasn’t very long, but no one will argue with the fact that you lived well. Certainly, your accomplishments are worth several lifetimes and it is these things that you did and the man that you were that will continue to live on even as your physical presence in our lives has metamorphosed to another plane.
Firstly, I am grateful to God for the years we spent together. Not many sons have the opportunity to know their fathers in different capacities. You were my father, my mentor, my boss. You were old school; the classic patriarch. Strong, opinionated, possessing extensive knowledge, wise, disciplined to a fault, and loving; even if you never said “I love you”, that you loved each of us was never in question. You weren’t perfect, but I would be lying if I didn’t say you were a really awesome person in spite of your flaws.
In the last few years I began to marvel at how much I was becoming like you, not just in my looks. There were times I would be upset with myself when I saw some of your weaknesses manifest in me; especially the attributes I particularly didn’t like. But now, I think of your strengths, and I pray to God I can come close to your level of achievements and excellence. Regardless of how great a person you were, you encouraged each of us to discover ourselves; encouraged us not to live in your shadow, to find our own paths. You taught us to be principled. You taught us to stand for truth, honesty and integrity. You taught us the power of a good name and to always be proud of our heritage. You were a shining example of what an enlightened man should be; a student of myriad cultures, but confident in your identity as a Nigerian in general and particularly as a Yoruba man.
Daddy, I also pay tribute to the fighter that you were. It is said that the soldier may retire, but he is never tired. The army blood flowed through you till the very end, which is why your fight against the adversary which finally took you is one of the reasons I can smile when I think about your passing. I marvel at the transformation you underwent when faced with the reality of the state of your health after Granny Ibadan’s death. I am in awe of how incredibly knowledgeable you became on the wonders of a healthy lifestyle and natural healing. Most importantly, I’m impressed with how you stayed disciplined by that lifestyle throughout.
Finally, and most importantly Daddy, I am grateful to God for your faith in Jesus the Christ. This is the main reason that I won’t mourn you, rather I celebrate you. Your memory lives on in me; in each of us. And we will do you proud.
Rest in peace Chief Major (Rtd.) Tunde Kunama Sawyerr.