Article: HOLD ON – By Tobiloba Emmanuel


Six months after my mom’s death, my dad’s office got razed down by a terrible fire nobody knows its source.

In my life, I saw my dad cried only four times: The day my mum died, the day my grandmother(his mother) died, the day he saw distinction boldly written on my certificate and the day his office got razed down.

As a young boy, I watched my dad cry helplessly. It was around 12:45pm that afternoon. At first, he was so strong not to cry until he saw me shedding tears profusely. My tears couldn’t make him resist his own tears.

It took him another six months to renovate his office. Things went tough. He was an artist( the reason he stopped me from drawing), MC, Radio Presenter(Bond FM) and a Television host (at the then NTA 2, channel 5). He was also a very good poet.

Suddenly, things changed. Things changed from worst to worse for him. He could not afford my school fees so I had to go and live with my aunt.

Life can happen to anybody. Life happened to my dad but with a very strong kòbókò he couldn’t handle. While jobs weren’t coming regularly as before, then, his health challenge started.

He had a wound on his leg that later turned a deep sore. He couldn’t move as before. The sore on his leg didn’t allow him move freely again, so he wasn’t regular on his radio show(ìdílé Aláyò). Life was cruel on him.

One afternoon, his landlord threw his loads out because he could no longer afford his rent. His belongings were scattered everywhere. There was nothing he could do.

My dad was a brave and blunt man(I learned bravery and bluntness from him.) After he had squatted with friends, he wasn’t comfortable with it, then he started sleeping in a mechanic workshop. My dad at night, would sleep in a Lagos bus popularly called Danfo. Sometimes, the sour on his leg caused him sleepless nights. No thanks to Lagos giant mosquitoes, too.

Each time I came back from school, I went to greet him. He was broke to the point that he was hungry. I weep each time I went there to give him food. Sometimes, he passes his aggression.

Inside of me, I had develop an ‘aggression absorber.’ Even as a teenager, I understood the aggression of a man who once possess a land, a car to himself now sleeping inside a danfo in a mechanic workshop. I knew. But there was nothing I could do. The life that happened to him, gave him a big punch. He was strong.

One day, I went to the workshop. I saw blood gushing out from his leg. I wept. He told me never to do that. He consoled me. It was that day he told me how he met my mum and other things he felt I should know.

He slept in the mechanic workshop for two years. Many times I got the feeling that I may get to the workshop and would be greeted with the news that my dad had committed a suicide. Yes, I had this thought for one year. But I was wrong! My dad was strong.

He would tell me, he’s leaving that place, soon. Despite his condition, he would go everywhere(most times in severe pain) sourcing for his daily bread despite the fact he wasn’t sure something tangible would go back with him. He persisted.

He met someone who would like him do some art works for him(you’re free to question God on why a client would give a man with sore on his leg a job. All I know is, God and resilience made it possible).

The client paid my dad hugely. My dad immediately moved out of the workshop. He had proper time to give a medical attention to a sour almost bringing out an offensive odour. He became better.

My dad, whose sense of taste was high, tastefully decorated his apartment in a month. He bounced back but not fully. It was better than sleeping in a mechanic workshop. One day, I engaged my dad in a conversation and he told me something that shocked me.

He said, one night, he already had a poison right beside him. He wanted to commit suicide while still staying at the workshop. He said two things stopped him: me and a strange inner voice that whispered to him “he was just passing through a test, he will pull through.” That night, he stopped and threw the poison away.

He told me he felt for me. That he couldn’t imagine me being an orphan. He stopped. My dad didn’t die in the mechanic workshop.

To many extent he died as a better man different from the version of him sleeping in the workshop. He was brave. So brave. Despite what life threw at him, he was strong but wanted giving up at time, he persisted.

His life still remain a book in my head I read to motivate and inspire myself. To you, suicide or depression might really be the only option but it is not.

Think of the consequences of things that may happen if you do this. The joy is closer than you imagine. Keep pushing. Keep dreaming. While you spend your currency, faith.

Keep pushing you might just be in the CRUSHING process of your grape dimension. When a grape is properly crushed, it turns out to be a wine on everyone’s wish list.

Respect the process, soon, you will come through. Suicide or depression is not an option. It is not! Keep fighting. All will be well.

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