I Am Not Sure I Will Cry If My Father Dies, The Reason Will Shock You – Legitpost.com.ng
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I Am Not Sure I Will Cry If My Father Dies, The Reason Will Shock You

When I was a child, my cousins and I used to gather and brag about things we felt proud of. Sometimes we bragged about our fathers. “My father works with the electricity company,” Aseye would say. “My father buys me Fanta and ice cream whenever he visits me,” Kormi would say. “As for me, my father is very strong. He is called Rock. Everybody is afraid of him,” I would say. And my cousins would agree with me, “Yes your father is always smoking so his head is hard like a rock. That is why we are all afraid of him.” That was the thing about my father, you could never mention him and not mention his smoking habit.

He used to smoke cigarettes publicly but smoked herbs and other things secretly, or every time he went to hang out with his friends in the ghetto. Everyone in the family knew about his love for drugs. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to get money for his drugs. He squandered his inheritance because of drugs. When he finished with that he sold family lands that were not his to sell, to fund his wild lifestyle. Needless to say that he was the black sheep of the family. His siblings and cousins were so wary of him that they warned their children about him too.

While everyone referred to my father as the scary man they should stay away from, he was my favorite parent. I was proud of his reputation. I liked seeing him puff out smoke from his mouth and nostrils. I thought it was cool when he did that. It didn’t matter to me that he couldn’t keep a job. It didn’t matter to me that he cheated on my hardworking mother who was the breadwinner of our family. Sometimes he even took me with him to go see his mistress. I was not only his daughter but I was sometimes his accomplice in his crimes.

There were times he took me to the ghetto with him and I would watch him share a joint with his friends. Oh, and they did cocaine and heroin too. I used to watch them do whatever they did with their needles. There were times my dad would lie in bed shivering. “Are you sick?” I would ask him. He would answer, “Yes, but I will be fine as soon as I get my medicine.” Then he would put money in my pocket and send me on an errand to the ghetto. His instructions were always simple, “Give the money to Fo Kofi and tell him to give you the medicine. When he gives it to you put it in your pocket. Don’t show it to anyone. Just run home straight.” And I would gallop, run, hop, do anything but walk, just to go and get my father his next fix. I was barely six years old at the time.

I spent a lot of time with him because my mum had to work and feed the family. She would wake up at dawn and leave the house and return late in the night. On days she did not go to work, she would stay home and fight with my father. I don’t remember a time when things were ever peaceful with both of them present. My dad was usually calm and laid back while my mum was always angry. So I didn’t like my mum very much.

When I was six, my mum had a baby. The arrival of my little brother changed things for my family. I think it made my mum realize she deserved better in life than a man who didn’t work but spent every money he came across on drugs. So one dawn she woke me up, took my baby brother and just a few of our belongings and we set out into the world. She told me we were going somewhere better. And we did. We went to her hometown where we were surrounded by a loving family.

After we left my dad, we never looked back. My mum sold anything she could get her hands on to feed us. When things got a little better for us, we moved to Accra and started a new life here. By some coincidence, we ended up living in a neighbourhood where people did drugs and sold drugs. I was around eight years then so I understood life a little better.

The men who engaged in this drug trade were scary people. They robbed and hurt people just to get money for their next fix. That was when I understood that doing drugs was not cool but rather a very bad thing. It reminded me of my dad. He wouldn’t rob anyone violently for money though. His way of taking money was to sweet-talk his victims. He would tell my uncles to give him money to pay for his children’s school fees, then use the money for drugs. Or he would tell my grandfather to give him land to farm so that he can take care of his family. Then he would sell the land and use the money for his drugs. That was his style but it hurt a lot of people all the same.

As we got older, he was in and out of our lives. He knew where we lived yet he never visited us unless he was broke. He would show up and make promises, “Dzidzor, give me a list of things you need for school. The next time I visit, I will bring them to you.” I would excitedly take pen and paper and write him a long list. After taking the list he would say, “I am hungry. Is there no food in this house?” We would feed him, after which he would ask for transportation to return to wherever it is he crawled out of. Sometimes my mum would get angry and refuse to give him money. And I would feel bad for him and give him my susu savings. “I will come back next week with the items on your school list,” he would promise.

This man would leave and never return until the next year. Then he would ask for another list, and promise to come back. I got my heart broken so many times because I hoped that he would stick to his promises just once but he never did. It got to a point where I learned to stop believing him. I indulged him and gave him the lists but I knew he would never give me anything I needed. I on the other kept saving money to give him every time he came around. And he always asked for money when he showed up.

By the time I got to JHS, my mother and I got tired of him showing up with empty promises only to take the little we had. It was also at that time I understood why my mother was always angry at him when I was a child. The man never gave, he only took. So I started resenting him. Every time I needed something and couldn’t get it from my mum I would get so angry at my father. I promised myself, “If I grow up and start making money, I will never take care of this man. Whenever I feel the urge to give him money, I will donate it to an orphanage.” Life was not easy for us but my mum never gave up.

When I was in my early twenties, I noticed that I haboured a certain hatred toward men that affected all my relationships. I could be with a good guy but constantly be on the lookout for him to mess up so I would leave. I saw relationships as a competition I must win. At any sign of trouble, I would walk away. I believed if I didn’t leave first, I would get left. And I was determined never to get married, so if I am dating someone and they start talking about marriage, I would walk away.

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I also noticed that I was immensely unhappy because of my anger toward my father. I wanted to forgive him but I couldn’t. So I started praying to God to give me the heart to forgive him. It wasn’t easy but I kept trying. By the time I finally forgave him, I was in my mid-twenties. I didn’t know there was a heaviness in my soul until it was gone. Forgiving him set me free from a cage I did not even know I was trapped in.

I wish I could say that my relationship with men has gotten better after I forgave my father, but it hasn’t. I only fall in love with men who are unavailable or broken. And when I am with a guy who actually wants to be with me, I would torment him until he leaves. The thought of marriage still terrifies me. I have even gotten to a stage where I don’t like men anymore. I am in my early thirties, and most of my friends are married yet I don’t even have a boyfriend. There are times when I get so lonely that I wish had someone in my life. But when I think about having to be with a man I shake my head and say, “I would rather spend the rest of my days single.”

While I struggle to cope with building a career and balancing it with my non-existent love life, my father is sick. He has been sick for a while and he is currently in his hometown. His relatives are taking care of him but they are complaining that they are tired. All his organs are messed up because of all the drugs he did. I haven’t gone to see him but my brother did. He said things are very bad. He can’t walk. He is not able to use his hands either. Someone has to undress him before he goes to the bathroom. And if there is no one around to help him, he goes on himself. He has refused to wear adult diapers too, so now no one wants to look after him anymore.

My uncles are saying that either I or my brother should come and stay with him and take care of him. We told them we can’t do that. So they are going about saying we have abandoned our father. They expect us to send them money for his upkeep but we don’t do that either. My brother is married with a child so he has a lot of responsibilities. As for me, I only earn enough money to survive and help my mother with her hospital bills. I don’t have anything against my father but I also don’t feel bad for his situation. I believe he brought it on himself so he should face the consequences of the life he lived. I am not even sure I will cry if he dies. Am I a bad person for thinking this way?


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