As humans, we have the propensity to take some things for granted, because we see them every day. Our friends; yes, the ones we see all the time. Our families; yes, because they are often there. That is not to say that we don’t truly love or care about them. However we are locked into the ups and downs of our daily events that we take less and less time to appreciate them. This is not an indictment; it is simply an observation, one I identify with very well.
Imagine if you took time every now and again to ring up the ones you love very much and tell them “Hey, I called to let you know that you mean the world to me. You inspire me beyond words, and I am truly thankful that you are in my life. Thanks for being there for me.” Imagine what that would do to the brother’s, friend’s, parent’s, sister’s, work colleague’s, aunt’s, uncle’s, husband’s, wife’s, and neighbor’s (among others) life that day, and for a long time to come. Recently, I rang up someone who inspired me through the books he gave me and the values he helped impart on me when I was nineteen. Surprisingly, he cried to hear little words of appreciation from me for the time he took to help steer a young teenager’s life in the right direction.
There is one person I wish everyday that I could say more to. That I could spend more time with, but he is gone. Before I say more about that, I wonder if you have such people in your life. I challenge you to take some time to appreciate them. Tell them how you love them and what they mean to you. I lost my dear father almost two years ago. The remembrance of his passing is around the corner, and it got me wishing again that he were still here. If you still have your parents – both of them, especially if they are advancing in age, I enjoin you to talk and laugh more with them. It could add more years to their lives, but the memories you make with them will change yours for good.
I had a very strong relationship with my father and his passing crushed me. Some people reading this would identify with that. In trying to remember him, I decided to put together a poem to depict my journey with a man who inspired me from the moment I was born. Even after I had left home to study abroad, we would talk and laugh on the phone often. He’d remember a joke and call me up to share it with me. Like most parents, he simply epitomized love. I hope you find the poem useful. I hope it speaks to you. If you still have your parents or anyone that has or still inspires you, I hope you take time to show them without restraint, what they mean to you!
Papa, you still live in my soul
Death I curse you. I dare you. Without mercy you took away a part of me.
Without thought, you left me in the doldrums of pain.
I recall that eventful phone call. Mama said Papa was no more.
My heart bled so much so that I could see life exit my body.
I loved him so dearly. He loved me with all that he had.
Through all that life threw at him, he cared deeply for us his children.
He taught me how to love a woman. He loved and treated Mama like the gem she is.
He had so little, yet he shared every bit of it with all; strangers, friends and family alike.
He held nothing back. He lived with drive and passion.
When his face smiled, you could see his heart smile too.
He said it, he did it – he lived what he preached.
Love he preached and he hugged with his heart, as much with his hands.
When the neighbor’s house burned, he was the first to help douse it.
For 35 years, he went to the same job, hardly ever late.
Once I said to him, I cannot write my exam ‘cos I have not paid my fees.
I saw him melt with anguish. He found the money, somehow.
We had so little, but he made sure we had it all.
He was filled by watching us eat to our fill.
And he loved to laugh.
When he thought of a joke, he’d call to share it with me.
He truly made me laugh; both on the outside, and on the inside.
He did not spare the rod, and boy I am so glad he didn’t. He made a man of me.
I had been away for years, only to see his lifeless body after all that toiling.
My heart was ripped to shreds. If only I had the powers to bring him back.
I wished so badly that I could spend one more day with him.
Or even one more hour with him.
Perhaps one more minute with the most adorable man I ever met – Papa.
Death, you took him when I needed him the most; to attempt to repay some of his love.
I loved to make him proud, and boy I wish he were here today.
Here to see that the seeds he sowed did germinate.
Some said time takes care of the pains. It surely does over a long while.
But no matter how long, I still find myself going back to the days when he was here.
Death you wrecked havoc in my soul, but what remains lives on.
Like a fortress, I guard in my soul the memories I made with him.
Tears may fall, but I recall his beautiful smile.
My heart may break but I live by his values.
I cling tenaciously to the memories I made with him.
I try to take care if Mama as he would if he were still here.
Boy, how I loved him; oh! How he loved me.
It still hurts but death did not steal it all.
In my soul lies the reservoir of all he taught me.
In my soul lies a repository of my walks and talks with him.
My plays and jokes with him.
Death, you still lost, for I recall the last words he spoke, as Mama recounted it – “Jesus! Jesus!”
I wait. I patiently wait, till he and I will walk the streets of gold together in heaven.
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