On the 31st day of October 1945, a great man was born and a selfless, hardworking, ambitious and a very intelligent and resourceful individual he was because he no longer lives with us, death had to take him away from us on the 21st day of May, 1995 when I was just a young lad trying to know the amazing man that brought me to life. I remember vividly well that very day in my dormitory when I got a call from my house captain informing me that I had a visitor waiting for me outside and with so much joy filled in my heart, I raced out in anxiety wondering who it was and the second I approached the gate, I saw my dad’s car and immediately the distance between the car and the gate where I was seemed too far and wished I had wings and could fly.
But then, of course, I couldn’t and was only able to make it there with my foot as fast as I could and got my first surprise when I eventually did and realized my dad wasn’t there and it was my brother and the driver who had darkened my doorstep. However, I wasn’t totally disappointed as I was told they had come to take me home because my dad was launching his new house and a newly acquired automobile which of course wasn’t so much of a surprise to me because at the time I left home, he was actually preparing for his 50th birthday and had series of plans in motion so I thought what a great way it was to surprise me but little did I know I was headed for a shocker.
By this time, I was still ignorant of what’s really happening and hurriedly ran back into my hostel to pick up a couple things I would need for the weekend and dashed right back, waving my friends goodbye as we drove off.
Getting home, I saw a white paper posted on my gate with my dad’s picture smiling back at me and I wondered why anyone would decide to make such am an awful looking poster of him, with crosses sticking all around and announcing the date of his birth to the entire world. You know, at the time, I didn’t really understand what obituary meant, I thought it was just my dad as usual in a hot romance with one of his big vocabularies. I mean, my dad could speak well and words literally took turns at his feet.
Well, let me get back to my story before I get distracted because over and over I had wished he willed them over to me with a couple textbooks to brush myself up with and by now I’ll probably have been a professor of English Language and those same words taking turns at my feet, only that this time, I would have them rocking Adidas because I’m a huge fan of great shoes. Anyway, I stepped out of the car and walked right in and saw my mum rocking some black attire and was amazed at when she became a model because my mum hasn’t really been a fan of the color black but when I looked at her closely, I realized she had been crying, as she had a swollen face and so I thought I had concluded too soon and on the contrary, she had actually become an actor and I had met them shooting a movie scene but looked around and there were no cameras beeping and for the first time I pondered for a bit, puzzling what was really happening and it was then I was told my dad was gone and to be seen no more.
It’s been 22 years but still fresh in my memory is the sound of my mother’s voice as she broke the unpleasant news to me. I cried my heart out and for days I couldn’t come in terms with the fact that my hero was gone and I was never going to see him again and that left a permanent hole in my heart and even till this day, I still feel a void in me and only hope the ink pouring out from my pen as I write this piece fills it out and these tears wetting my pages comforts me.
Joshua Akintunde Falaiye, you were a great man alive and yet a great man in death. It’s true what they say that the dead still lives because I carry you along with me everywhere I go. You were the father of five amazing children who you loved so much and never hesitated to trash their butts whenever the boundary was crossed. And because I was the naughty type, your cane could make its way to my room even in the dark.
Daddy, for years I lived with hatred and anger because it’s been pretty tough since you left. Your family practically abandoned us because mum refused to marry your brother and at some point in my life, I decided to denounce that name but then I thought about it again because going ahead to do that will be me denouncing you and denying myself my blessings and everything you lived and died for. Besides, it’s possible to disown the name but I can’t disown the blood flowing in me. I miss you so much and I know you’re in heaven smiling down at the man your little boy is fast becoming and you can be rest-assured you didn’t die in vain because through me your legacy lives on.
And no doubt, your son has been a very naughty child, I smoked, drank, womanized and reaped your wife off her hard earned money to hit the clubs and pop some champagne but today I know better and thankful to our creator for calling me back to order and helping me to retrace back my steps before I ruined myself. Today I’m living right but still waiting for that big break and although I might still be single but be rest assured that someday, I would find that special woman to spend the rest of my life with and together we would have a son that would be named after you.
God has been very faithful, your other sons are married and doing well and so are your daughters and beautiful wife. She didn’t remarry by the way but stayed married to making sure that we all succeed and may the good Lord keep her alive to be able to enjoy the fruit of her labor because she’s been great and remains the best mum in the world and wouldn’t trade her for anything, not even the finest gold. Thank you for all the times I was stranded and you came to my rescue even though at the time I didn’t know it was you but you never really left, did you. Like so many people, I didn’t use to believe in life after death but now I know for a fact that the spirit of the dead are here with us and their memory lives on.
(DEDICATED TO J.A FALAIYE)
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