This would be one of my most vulnerable stories ever shared.
It is about me and my Dad. For many reasons, I hated my dad growing up as a child. I spent most of the time with my mum(Of blessed memory). I knew when she was happy and when she was sad. Most of the time she had gone sad, my dad caused it.
My mum was hardworking but my dad didn’t t see that side. My dad was more interested in looking nice, hanging out with friends and drinking alcohol to stupor. My dad had enough money to cater for me, then because he was a printer, a poet and a radio presenter. I know he was making money. He didn’t pay my school fees. And on occasions he did, it came with force. Most times, intervention from his own mum.
The more reason I struggled to pay my school fees when my mum died. On many occasions, I caught my dad slapping my mum over trivial issues. As a child, to me, that was crazy and unfair! I told my mummy often that I hate my dad and I am not going to ever forgive him! My mum would shut me up and warn me never to say the kind of nonsense again. I would grumble.
My dad really cared less about me and my mum. It was what I saw every day. He came home during wee hours and most times, drunk. He caused a lot of havoc for my mum. I remember a Christmas season he said my mum wasn’t going to go to church. He was a churchgoer himself but didn’t really know the person of Jesus.
When my mum died, I left his place because I could not cope as a 10-year old boy staying with someone I hated so much. Many times, I force myself to yield to his commands. Many things were wrong between me and him.
Even the day I graduated with a distinction, I wanted to keep to myself, my uncles(who were extremely supportive) and my grandmother. My grand mum told me to tell him so I had no choice than to tell him. It was the third time I saw him cry in my entire life.
He was already getting remorseful for his actions but I cared less. I remember going with my friend one day and saw him afar, I changed my position so he would not see me. I walked past him even, hissing. That showed how much hatred I had for him.
When I was told he was sick, I didn’t take it seriously. I was told he had a deep sore on his leg. Then, I was in school. When I returned, I didn’t check on him. It was my cousin that told me he came to look for me that he was angry that I didn’t check up on him. She told me that when he was leaving that he hit his leg on a stick that made blood gush out of the leg. I didn’t even do like I heard her. I remember muttering this line of words, “Sey na em dey invest for my life?”
When his sickness got worse, I had to locate him just to check up on me. It took me years to know where he was staying.
I got to his house that afternoon, I found him helpless. He stared at me countless times and watch me talk nonchalantly. He was trying to pose a threat that day, but I told him if he says anything further I was going to step out of the house. I was arrogant because I carried his hatred in my heart. He didn’t say anything. I look towards his direction, I saw tears well down his eyes.
For the first time, I felt remorseful but not totally. He asked me to come closer, I reluctantly did. He said, “I know I offended you and your mother. I didn’t value her until her death but please can you just forgive me” I felt like crying but I held myself because I didn’t want to show him I was vulnerable to those words. I nodded. He embraced me but I still carried the burden in my heart.
One day, I read the testimony of Joyce Mayer of how she was raped almost 200 times by her own father. She was still able to forgive, knowing the person of Jesus. Her testimony moved me to tears. I remembered my father and told myself he only abandoned me and treated my mum badly, I will forgive him.
When I returned from NYSC, I headed to his place. I prostrated and told him I was sorry for what I had done. I cried on his shoulder. But he was strong enough to fight back his tears. That day, we talked more like a friend. I told him my moves and he blessed me from his heart.
My father died some months(I think 9months) after our reconciliation. He died the day I left his sickbed. Prior to that time, he was reintroduced to the person of Christ. He died with the apple I bought for him in his pocket.
Forgiveness itself is a form of freedom. I know many have hurt you in the past, it is hard to forgive but it is possible to forgive.
Why don’t you just find a place in your heart to forgive that person that has hurt you terribly? Forgiveness is not a form of weakness, it is proof we’ve grown past our past.
I pray you to find succor reading this and strength to forgive.
I am Emmanuel Tobiloba.
A teacher, a trainer in a STEM Hub and also I teach Retention Strategies.
Facebook: Emmanuel Tobiloba