Having a loving and caring father is a blessing that should be cherished. I was fortunate to have a father who sacrificed everything to keep my dreams alive. For those who do not appreciate their fathers, my story is a reminder of the sacrifices and love they give every day of our lives.
Growing up, I had a different upbringing from most young ladies. I never knew my mother as she died during childbirth. My father became everything to me. He plaited my hair, taught me about boys, helped me through painful period pains, and the awkward puppy love stages. We were not wealthy, but we were comfortable. My father and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment, and he had a nice car. He would wake me up every morning, ask me to have my bath, and have my uniform, undies, socks, and shoes ready for me along with breakfast. He would take me to school and pick me up and take me to his office when school ended. I would sit with his secretary for an hour until 5 pm when he closed. On the way home, he encouraged me and told me I could become everything I desired to be if I put my mind to it. He taught me how to pray and put God first in everything I did.
One day, I asked my father if it was true that we all turn out like our parents, and if our parents are determined and strong people, they will make it, and so will we if we do what they did. I said I wanted to be successful like him. He held me and looked straight into my eyes and said, “You want to be better than me, and you will be my Angel. That’s my prayer for you, and every good parent prays for that.” He would come home with little gifts for me, which he would present to me once I told him how my day went. This continued until I was 20 and graduated from university.
On my graduation day, my father did not show up. I called and called his number, but he did not pick up. The ceremony started, and I looked up when I received my certificate, and I saw my uncle and aunt waving at me in the crowd. I was relieved and guessed my father was there somewhere. I collected my certificate and ran back to meet them. As we approached their car, I saw my cousin and grand uncle, but I did not see my father anywhere. I kept asking for him, and my aunt said he had a bit of a fall, and we would go see him now.
Instead of driving home, we were driven to the hospital. I ran to the ward area and found my father connected to tubes and in a coma. I was told he was working at a construction site, fell, and hit his head. “Construction site?” I asked. “My father is a manager in a company. What’s he doing at a construction site? Why would he be there?” I was hysterical. The doctor felt it was better to sedate me so I wouldn’t go out of my mind.
The next morning, I woke up and asked where my father was. My aunt held my hand and said, “My darling, it’s time. You are old enough to know the truth. This is the story of your father.” My brother, your father, lost his job when you were 11. He was let go due to the company downsizing, and there was nowhere to absorb him into. The owner asked him to ask for anything he wanted. He said he wanted the use of the company car for one hour in the morning and evening and also the use of an office for the same one hour in the evening. They obliged him because he had worked there for so long and was a good worker.
My father sacrificed everything to ensure that I had a good life and education. He went without food to save money for my college fund and never wanted me to know about his struggles, for fear of discouraging me. His selflessness and love have shaped me into the person I am today, and I will always be grateful for him. To those who have fathers like mine, cherish them with all your heart, and to those who don’t, reflect on the sacrifices your father has made for you and show him the love he deserves.
Image from Freepik.