How I miss you! How I rue the time wasted! How I wish you were still here. How I feel whenever I think of you.
No day goes by without thoughts of you popping in my head.
I recall the prayers you prayed for me, the comforts you sacrificed for me. The things you denied yourself for me to be among the best.
The values you painstakingly instilled in me. Now I can’t live without them and my gratitude for having you in my life, the privilege of carrying your blood in my veins knows no bounds.
The lessons you thought me. The things we shared. The things you bought me. Your constant discipline.
I wouldn’t be half the man I am if not for you.
I recall too vividly how you would carry me on your shoulders and we would take long walks together. I can’t remember any of the things you said then although your voice was the most comforting sound to my ears.
You would smile at me with pride and admiration. I was just an infant. But the love in your eyes was so vivid that till date I cannot forget the look.
When I was ill you would not rest till I got better. You would treat me like I was your only child.
You taught me to never take what did not belong to me.
You taught me not to accept gifts from strangers and would discipline me whenever I disobeyed.
You taught me to be very careful about food, that once something went into the stomach it did not come out.
You taught me about bad friends. You never wanted me to have them. You scolded me. You prayed for me. You spoke to me with respect.
As I grew you became stricter. You would punish or beat me. And always, within the same day you would gently explain why you beat me to make me understand that what I did was wrong and should not be repeated. You were so gentle then!
You wanted me to be strong. To not cower before anyone.
You taught me to not beg. That if I asked for something and wasn’t given I should work for it and if it was to be mine I would get it.
You taught me that there was no substitute for hard work. You taught me that if I tackled my challenges I would always overcome. All I had to do was get up and tackle them.
You taught me to take care of others, to put others first. You taught me to take care of mum and my little sister. You hated it whenever I fought with her. You were always so disgusted with that and kept teaching me that she was mine to take care of and stand up for.
You sent me off to boarding school to learn to be independent. You would have me kneel in front of you and you would place your hands on my head and pray for me. You would read Joshua 1:8-9 to me and tell me to fear nothing. You would remind me of how you had raised me and the values you had instilled in me. You would encourage me not to get involved in anything bad.
You would give me your last dime. You denied yourself so much just so I could go to the schools you preferred for me. You just wanted me to be fine even if you were not.
You would share your life experiences with me. Oh you told me such rich stories. Your regrets and disappointments. And I could see in your eyes that it would kill you if I repeated the mistakes that you made in life.
You taught me to be an avid reader. I read as many of the books in your library as I had interest in. I read on subjects ranging from history to sociology to psychology to sex to law to war. I even read on surgery.
You would tell me how you grew up. The struggles you faced. The reasons you denied yourself so much, all because you wanted my life to be easier than yours.
You would brag about me in the presence of your friends. You would tell them how well I did in school. How I was a good boy. How that made me feel proud!
We had a lot of disagreements. I thought you were too hard on me. I thought you did not understand me.
Yet you insisted that you knew all your children very well. You said I was unpredictable. You said I had to be careful.
How it breaks my heart when I recall the day I made you weep! I was so thoughtless in my action that weekend and it absolutely broke your heart. I was so sorry to see how much pain I caused you that day.
The look of pride you had whenever I presented my school leaving certificates to you!
At those moments I wanted to do anything for you! You were so proud of me.
The day I finished my tertiary education…I will never forget the admiration you showed me!
You addressed me like a man. You rubbed minds with me.
You taught me how to drive.
You taught me how to take care of a lady.
You taught me that it was ok to be different from everyone else.
You taught me to have a mind of my own.
You told me why you were strict with me growing up and why you relaxed as I grew older.
Now you are not here anymore. The tears I shed that day, no one really knew why. But I did.
I think about you everyday.
I know you would be proud of the man I’ve become. I know the conversations we would have had and I’ve missed every single one.
The things I wish I had told you….the things I wish I had asked you….the things I wish I had shared with you…
The void you left in my heart has not been filled. No one but you can fill it.
My acts of stupidity that I would regret if not that I know that you will insist that I should appreciate mum now rather than regret what is past….
I was not the best child. Yet you loved me and prayed for me.
The thought of you motivates me everyday.
I try to live in a way that will make you so proud.
You would be glad to know that God has answered the little and the big prayers you made for me. Those little good things you said about me, they are manifesting today. They have been manifesting over time.
My memories of you and mum together will serve so well in my taking care of my wife. You showed me how to love a wife. By example.
I never heard a word of insult from you to her. Not less a harsh glare. The word “violence” never came up in your home.
You were a man indeed.
A real and true father.
I still drive how you taught me. I never really feel like you are not watching and scolding me.
Because of you I will speak good words into my children’s lives.
I will adopt your model on family life.
I will continue to have the finest taste.
I will achieve my dreams and visions.
I will do you proud I promise.
I will be the man you raised.
I will be the king you groomed and nothing less.
I am honoured to have been born into your home, to have been born your son.
I am grateful to God for counting me worthy to be the son of John Michael Oseghale Okoedion.
What a father you were!
If I can be half the man you were, I would be good enough. But I promise to do you one better; I will be ten times or more the man you were. That would make you proud indeed.
You live on forever in my heart. Till we meet again.
Rest well sir.
Your son, Ehi.
It is my prayer that those who are still privileged to have their fathers alive should resolve whatever differences they may have now and enjoy what time is left. We take so many things for granted.
My big sister saw this back then and told me how privileged I was to still have my dad but I didn’t see it. It was only when I matured some and wanted to discuss man issues with him that I realised it was too late. He was gone.
Till today I still wish I matured more quickly and spent quality time with him and learnt real life lessons at his feet. He was so versed in knowledge and wisdom.
As much as he loved me I know God loves me far much more and this gives me the greatest comfort. He loves you just as much. He has His arms open to you and me always. All we have to do is accept His love and live for Him. I have. Will you?
It is my earnest prayer that you will.
God bless you.