I should blame you for many things, I should blame you for not being there for me and not being the father you were supposed to but am all over that.
I did not know much about you expect the fact that you loved liquor. I remember the first time I saw, I was in class five. I saw you from afar and I saw myself in you. I saw my skin color, my ears and my nose.
It was weird how you embraced me, how you never needed further proof that I was your son. Inasmuch as I detested the breath of liquor from your mouth, I just enjoyed how proud you were to meet me.
I remember how in that bar you kept touching my ears and kept saying, ‘My son, oooh my son.’ I vividly remember my thoughts, ‘This is indeed my father, he will come along ultimately.’
I grew up and we had minimal interactions but sadly in all these occasions, you were drunk. I grew knowing that I had a drunk for a father who cared less about my whereabouts.
Growing up, I wondered why you chose that path. I wondered what disappointments you had that you decided to waste away. I tried to decipher your pain, your despair, and discouragement.
I remember how you used to say you loved music, how you would sing those hymns as you read their music sheets in your head. I remember you singing the Swahili hymn, ‘Maelfu na Maelfu’ as you talked about the time signature, crotchets, quavers and semi-quavers.
I remember you saying that you know I also played the piano in church and I should continue doing so. I vividly remember you saying that am your son and am like you, no wonder my love for music.
Mum told me that you were in the choir, and like your mum, you served in the church. It is funny that I also do the same, am in ministry but this time round, I am writing.
My thirst for music is unquenchable, I have in the past played in bands, spent very long hours on the piano and ran through my music books.
I always have this deep feeling whenever I listen to good piano pieces especially Jazz and Classical music. Maybe that was the only way we could connect, maybe that was how our souls soared to bliss.
I am a thinker, I think vast and wide. I am not so much disciplined in what I do but I do my best, not because I have someone I want to please but because I feel I have to.
I also think that you were the same, or better. You never looked ordinary, you looked smart and intelligent only that something went a miss.
In my campus years, when life showed me its brutal side, I thought of you. I thought of a man to share my pain and agony with.
I thought of a father, one who would hold firm my hand and assure me that it will be okay, one who would look at me into the eye and tell me, ‘It’s okay son after all life is not a bed of roses.’
As many had conversations about their daddies, I shyed off from them and left with my face downcast. It hit me bad when they joked, ‘No wonder you have woman attributes.’
I asked, what is life if it gives you love in halves? And what is a father if he only plants a seed and drinks his wealth off?
In my brutal years of dust, I brushed my shoulders off and picked myself up. I found strength in art, in poetry and music.
Over the years I tried contemplating on life. I thought much about you and why you chose your path. I feared that disappointments will wear me down and I will choose the same path as you.
I yearned to talk to you, to have those father-son moments. I tried to reach out hoping maybe some hope, from your only son will bring you back on track.
I remember how you got saved and quit on alcohol. I remember how we planned to meet but only to find you drunk again.
Then came the final blow, you struggled with hypertension to your deathbed.
I stood outside the tent in your burial. Under the scorching heat, I read the pamphlet that read you had no kids. In despair, I thought, ‘What will I tell my kids about their grandfather?
Am a bold one, I am the strongest person I know. In bravery, I paid my last respects and left. Yes, I mourned you. I mourned the father I never knew and every time a tear fell I remembered that day, the day you kept touching my ears and said, ‘ooh my son.’
Sometimes I think I should have pushed harder, sometimes I think I should have been a bolder son and faced you. Sometimes I think should I have fought enough, you could have chosen a different path, this time doing it for your son.
Here I am all grown up now, still bracing challenges. Here I am today, bombarded by the talk of many others who speak highly of their dads and strive to make them proud.
All is not sad though, I have trust in my Heavenly dad. I will not console myself that God will replace you as that will render the worldly dad useless. Though I never had the dad who would come home in the evening with gifts. Though I never had a dad whose veins I would play with, I had a strong mum who played both roles.
I have learnt a lot, I have been a better man and am proud of how life has refined me. Though all is not bread and butter, I find strength in my ugali days. There’s always a way, somehow. As I only have a mum to make proud, I also strive to make you proud.
Though many saw you a failure, though many, including me gave up on you, am on a mission not to give up on others. Many lack a listening ear and understanding, many like you are just judged and classified as losers.
I loved you dad, even though I can count the number of times I have seen you, even though we never had sober moments together.
I give this story a lot, I don’t know why. I give the story of, “A very drunk father had two sons, the first son was very drunk and someone asked him, ‘Why do you drink too much?’ He replied, ‘I saw my father.’ The second son was very sober and someone asked him, ‘Why don’t you drink?’ He replied, ‘I saw my father.'”
I think am that second son who chose to see the positive. Though I imagine a lot about how amazing you must have been, all this means that I saw something positive in you.
You did not live so see your grandchildren and neither will they hear much of you but I know somewhere deep inside them they will have your DNA, they will be little geniuses like you.
With little sis we still trudging the winding hillocks of life giving each other hope and strength. We will be remembering you next month. You may not be part of our lives but we made you part of ours.
I am making you proud dad, even in the smallest way possible.
This post is dedicated to all the men out there raised who lost their dads or never knew their dads.
P.S Guys, I am now back to my Monday articles in full throttle. Been working on a project called the #M3Movement. You can check our work on our Website (http://mindmymind.co.ke) be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.