Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Day I cried .....(4)

The funeral went well and some people said we should have had a thanksgiving service. For what? That my daddy died or that we successfully put him in the ground in the company of worms and all manner of creepy crawlies? Well it wasn’t my call, but if it was, there’d be no such thing as a thanksgiving service! There!

I’d become cold and unfeeling. I got angry easily and snapped at people a lot. If I ever caught my self laughing, I would chide myself. The worst part was that I lied to myself everyday. I lied that I didn’t need God. I could make it the rest of the way without His help. I lied that I didn’t miss our times of sweet fellowship, me and the Holy Spirit or the reassurance of knowing that I was loved by the Almighty. I lied that there was no longer anything to laugh about or any much of a reason to live. I lied that I enjoyed being hard and cold, that I didn’t miss the warmth of a joy-filled heart. I lied that I didn’t miss the celebrations of the triumph of faith; that God probably no longer care about me, so what’s the use? I lied to myself but secretly, I desperately hoped for a change.
There was a time I felt I’d gone too far and may never be able to return to the Saviour of my soul. I was afraid. The future looked dark. There was no hope. No light at the end of the tunnel. I mean I had actually accused God, the Almighty God, of killing my father! Who was I to accuse God of murder? I had definitely taken it too far!

6months later, I got the call-up letter for my NYSC posting to Sokoto. Sokoto was just perfect as it was as far away as I wanted to be from all that was familiar. Camp was great as I immersed myself into most of the activities. I met corpers who would do anything to get posted to the city and I wondered what the hassle was all about. I didn’t care where I was posted to. I was even ready to go the villages that shared boundaries with Niger Republic.

I guess God was being nice to me. I was sent to the state polytechnic where I was to lecture a few basic courses in Engineering. I was assigned to a room at the staff quarters and my room mate turned out to be a colleague from school. She was a batch ahead of me so the place was already set up nicely. I guess you could say I had it all easy – everything was in place to make my service year relatively comfortable. Could God have been working in the background? But I didn’t want Him to be nice to me! I needed a reason to stay angry with Him!

For the first few weeks, our room housed about 8 other corpers who were still either looking for proper placement or simply a place to sleep. The room was really large so it didn’t seem too crowded. One by one, our guests left as they got themselves settled. One evening, I returned to find our room empty. The last guest had left that morning. My original room mate was out of town and so for the first time since I moved in, I had the room all to myself. Not good.

Suddenly, a picture came to me as I sat in the quietness of the room.

I had just received a letter from a multinational oil servicing company congratulating me on my success in the first stage of their recruitment process and inviting me for an interview. Excitedly I ran to show it to daddy as he sat watching TV in the living room. His face lit up with a wide smile as he finished reading it and he promptly pulled me down onto his lap and gave me a huge hug! “That’s my Engineer! You haven’t even served yet and already they are calling for you!” I could see the pride on his face and my heart swelled with joy that I was the source of my father’s pride.

That was the first picture. Many others came to me in quick succession. Pictures of my father as he gave me a thumbs-up sign; taught me to change a flat tire; placed his hand on my forehead to pray for me when I was ill; drove me to campus on my first day and even hung around while I tried to be a ‘big girl’ and handle my registration myself…….on and on they came.

I tried real hard to stop them – the tears. But they wouldn’t be stopped. They gathered and blurred my vision. I refused to blink so as to prevent them from sliding down my cheeks but they didn’t need my help, they came pouring.

It was a quiet sob at first, even respectable. Just tears pouring from my eyes. I barely made a sound. But as I thought of the enormity of my loss those past 6months, I could no longer hold it in. I bawled unashamedly, like a lost child crying for his mommy. I slid to the floor from the chair I’d been sitting on. I wailed and rolled all over the floor. Secretly glad that no one was there to try to make me stop. I bawled. I wailed. I sobbed. I wept. I cried. I didn’t want to be comforted. I wanted to keep crying for ever and never stop.

I was never going to see my daddy again. He didn’t live to see me truly become the engineer he’d dreamed about. You see, I was the only daughter to follow in his professional footsteps. He was my hero. My mentor. My Pastor. My teacher. Never has a father had so great an influence on his child. I always wanted to be like daddy when I grew up. He was confident, fearless. I wanted to be like that too. He loved God with a passion. You could see it in his eyes, his lifestyle. He didn’t have the philosophy that older children would in turn help to raise their younger ones. He told us every day how all nine of us were his celebration and pride; It was a privilege to raise us and he was personally responsible for every one of us till we’d come of age. Because of him, I saw first hand how a man should treat his wife – with respect and honour. He showed us that as far as family hierarchy goes, mommy comes first and thereafter, the kids. That was never compromised for any child. I don’t know how they did it but even amongst us all, you couldn’t point at any one child and say that’s mommy’s favorite or daddy’s favorite. We were all treated equally and if anyone got any special treatment for any reason, then an explanation was given.

I have no idea how much time passed and much as I hated it, I couldn’t cry anymore. My head throbbed and I could feel that my entire face was swollen – as though it belonged to someone else. The room was dark. Night had fallen. I didn’t bother to get up. I just lay there and then I had the strangest sensation come over me. It was as though someone else was in the room with me but I was sure I was by myself. I felt warm inside, like someone had covered me with an invisible blanket. I quickly scrambled up to my feet and felt my way to the bed, flopped down on it and wrapped my arms around myself as though to ward off some chill. And there was that sensation again but this time, in addition to the feeling of having an invisible blanket wrapped around me, I felt there was another set of arms wrapped around mine.

I’m not one to often have ethereal experiences but if anything counted for one, this was definitely it! I could and still can not explain the feeling; it was both unsettling and comforting all at once. After a while, I stopped fighting it and lay on the bed curled up in a fetal position. As I slowly fell asleep, whether in my dream or in real life, I thought I heard the sound of some sweet melody.

I woke up the next day feeling very thirsty. I guess my throat was parched from all the howling the day before. Strangely too, I felt rather light. I sat up and scooted backwards till I was leaning against the wall. I raised my legs till I could place my chin on my knees while wrapping my arms around them. The tears came again but these weren’t borne of grief but of repentance. I was awash with God’s love for me afresh. He was telling me he still loved me; he never stopped even for one day. For the first time in 6months I prayed. I asked God to heal my heart and to help me make sense of it all. And he did. No, I did not have an epiphany that explained why my daddy had to die. I still don’t have those answers but God healed my heart and brought me back home again. I learned to trust Him again. I learned to build my faith again. I opened my heart again to the gift of life and found again that there was so much to live for. Daddy lived a good life and left a legacy now it’s left to us who are still here to make even much more of a difference in our world.

It’s been six years now and God has been faithful. Six years since “The day I cried” and I know I will never again cry like that.

A few months after, I ran into this poem that ‘ministered’ to me

I am standing upon the sea shore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
And starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and and strength.
I stand and watch until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud
Just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says “There, she’s gone!”
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
As she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight
to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says
“There, she is gone!”
There are other eyes watching her coming,
And other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here she comes!”
And that is dying.


I dedicate these series to all who have ever lost anyone dear to them. The light of our loved ones lost will ever keep burning in our hearts!


Jarrai said...

oh my goodness...i am welling up :(. I lost my dad too..it was heartbreaking to say the least and i refused to accept the fact that he was gone for a long time..went through the same process..blamed him, blamed god.. and hid from everyone. Now when i think about it i realise how lucky i am to have such good memories of him. I thank god for that. And i realised god looked after me even more and continues to listen and hold my hand through crises.

really touching stuff

Olapeju said...

Wow!!! words straight from the heart. There are some questions that we can never find the right answers to. Very inspiring and reassuring words that there is indeed a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Can't wait to read more blogs...

Beulah! said...

Ohhh Enkay!!!...this so so touching. Didnt know you went through all of this that period. I remember you always looked radiant and happy. Wao!, God sure has a way of healing wounds. I felt same way too when i lost my mum 16 years ago...i still miss her but God has proved himself strong in our lives

And so will affliction never arise again in ur home, u will never cry again in Jesus name , Amen!

aloted said...

wow very deep post...short of words. thanks for sharing a part of u with us.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yes please feel free to join the thankful series. The originator of the idea is here and these are her guidelines-http://xboxwife.blogspot.com/2007/04/ten-things-tuesday-guidelines.html

God bless

moses said...

Thanks for this post and for the contents that really touches my heart.
I lost my sister too few years ago and i there was something behind her death. she was so dearing to me that I decided to take a revenge, Glory to God for changing my plans and giving me His own.
He told me in His word that "revenge is mine."

Enkay said...

@ Jarrai - Thanks for your comment! Went to your blog to reply but since I couldn't, I'll do so here.

It really is a blessing to have great memories of our loved ones. Somehow, they keep us going even as God helps us too.

@Peju - Thanks again dearie.I've had to remind myself again and again that even though I don't have all the answers now, I can still go on trusting Him.

@Beulah! - You know me now, ever smiling. Some things are too deep to show on our faces. Best of all is that He's given me reason again and again to smile.

Amen to that prayer sistah!

@aloted - Thanks a lot. It took me a little while but I got that "Ten things tuesday" theme all sorted out [see the button proudly sitting on my side bar!] and I can't wait till tomorrow to start!

@Moses - Thanks. The truth is that revenge only hurts the one who seeks it. Thank God that He showed you a better way.

Olufunke said...

Well...........What can I say?
Very touching story.
I am grateful to God for bringing you through all of those times and for where He has brought you to....and where HE is taking you and your family to!
You know....eyes have not seen, ears have not heard and it has not been brought to the heart of any man.......

I can only say thank God for your life!
Looking forward to more of your posts!

Olufunke said...

waiting for more intersting posts from you o!

You have been tagged on the 2 truths, 1 lie meme

Charity Otojare said...

This is very touching and inspiring. It brings tears to my eyes. But I love the honesty and sincerity in your writing. Love this piece your daddy was indeed a great man, and a wonderful role model.

NoLimit said...

Thanks for sharing this...I lost mine when I was barely 6...I still remember me lying on him on Saturday mornings..."sighing" those were the days...thank God for a life well lived...

Anonymous said...

...to them we love, we forget not. But, for Him who loves us, He never forgets us; not even a moment passes by without us being in His thots.

Enkay said...

@ Olufunke - Yes dear, God has brought us very far indeed!

@ Charity - Thanks. Daddy was all that and more.

@ NoLimit - Knowing that they lived their lives well is truly comforting

@ rethots - God's love is deeply profound. I am grateful for it.

Adaeze said...

Finally I got the chance to read this last post in the series. You almost got me crying myself. This was so touching. I've bawled like that so many times myself. Enkay, you are a very talented writer. I know you are an engineer (too) but you should write a book!
Your story was educational to me in regards of learning how to deal with loss. It's hard. May your father rest in peace and thank you so much for sharing this personal story.

Ngozi Oguguah said...

Touching. I lost my parents in the same week. I had the privilege to be there praying for them as they passed on. I actually prayed to be strong and not to cry as I was the first child and knew I had to be strong. I eventually cried about six months later in church when a thanksgiving was being held for a baby that lost the mum at childbirth.

Dr Utane said...

Oh Enkay��
I know this feeling...We bless God still, he is in a better place.