…he was not a perfect father. He had his flaws. But he was the best I can ask for. He took me in when nobody wanted me. He fought for me and just me. I felt like an orphan then but he did not see it that way. He saw different. He did not blink when he said to me l will take care of you. He saw potential in me when there was clearly none. I mean I had nothing to begin with. I was a nobody. That can't be denied. There's nothing to argue about. I was a mess. I was hungry. I was abandoned. I was trouble. I was a wasteland. And even in that state of poverty, dereliction and uncertainty, he was not the least discouraged. I told you, he saw different.
He saw not what I was at that time but what he could make of me. He saw a story yet to be written. He saw a boulder yet to be sculpted. He saw at angle nobody bothered. So he fought over the communists for me. He said that they only have their own interests at heart. He also fought over my neighbors for me. He said that nobody understands me better. And when my English caretakers bade me farewell, he pointed at me and said resolutely, "I will treat him as my own." And he had done so ever since.
To be sure, he had his own family. He had three children to feed. And his financial resources were then stretched but thankfully for me, his emotional resolve remained intact. I can still remember the first day he brought me home. He was trembling. Amidst the joy, he was unsure of what the future holds. His composure seemed strong but his heart was racing. His wife fell in love with me the first time she met me. She told him that together they would bring me up, provide for me, and nurture me with love. It was actually the best day of my life. I felt really special. I felt hopeful.
Instead of seeing me as an added burden, they saw me as an added joy. Instead of seeing me as a broken vase, they saw me as an unearthed treasure. And instead of seeing me as a lost cause, they saw me as part of their reason for living. I couldn't have asked for better parentage, protection and care.
But let's not be deceived or naïve. It was definitely not smooth sailing along the way. The months, years and decades were tough, really tough. Although I was immediately accepted into his home and his close friends treated me with kindness, I was despised and made fun of by the world at large. I was also bullied by those who were stronger and tougher. They had weight, clout, size, resources, power, reputation and land mass. I was visibly puny, a little dot as compared to them.
But he took no notice of that. He took no notice of my apparent weaknesses and flaws. He told his wife many times that success is never giving up and never giving up is success. As best as he could, he shielded me from the raw, painful reality. At the end of a hard day, he would remind me that I was worth the fight, worth the struggle and he would stick with me to the end.
But many times, I can't really say that he was convincing to me especially during the early years. I saw how he fought for me and he was not always strong. In fact, at times, he was in tears, lost and even defeated. At other times, he was tough, too tough. He was unforgiving and uncompromising to a fault. Many feared him. I have a feeling that was what he wanted. He just needed to be in control. Most times, he appeared to me to be overprotective, even paranoid. To fight for my best interest, he had made some enemies along the way. Even after he retired, some of them could not let go of their hatred. Yet he took no notice of that too.
He was too busy bringing me up to care about himself and what others thought of him. He was too goal-driven. He was too result-oriented. He once said that when he is gone, history will judge him. And for good or bad, he has no qualms about it since he had done and given his best for me.
My relationship with him through the growing up years was as normal as any father-and-son relationship. He was a strict father no doubt who did things his way and I was put through a rigorous regime of education, ethical training, discipline in personal responsibility, and lessons in pragmatism and resilience. He never indoctrinated me. He hated dogmas. He said a clogged artery is the result of a clogged mentality. He always reminded me to flow like a river and make my own way. He told me never to be afraid to bend or meander or explore new territories to open new pathways. What was most important to him was what works. He told me that it is not the promise of success but actual success that he is pouring all his focus, resources and vision into. To be honest, sometimes, his singularity of focus, energy and stamina both scares and inspires me.
As I grow up alongside him, he never failed to celebrate all my milestones in life. He was there for all my firsts. He was there for my first Independence celebration and was there ever since that day to now. He was there the moment I came of age when I mature in knowledge, strength and influence. He was there for my regional graduation where I reached out to my neighbors and started a community for greater cooperation, security and prosperity. And he was there on that fateful day when he stood by with beaming pride to hand me over to a new generation of leadership.
Now, as I stand before him, looking at him as he lies there motionless, I am filled with a sense of loss, numbness and pain. He has definitely made a difference in my life and memories of him will stay in my heart long after he is gone. I will always remember what he has taught me and the force of his character and strength will be the source of my guide and hope, always.
Although he is not physically around to lead me by the hand anymore, his legacy will nevertheless be my city on the hill and I shall pass it on to my children and my children's children. If there is one thing about him that carried me through all these 50 years, it is his undying passion to see me through. Over the years, his passion was undiminished. It endured through the toughest of time, criticisms and doubts. It overcame all.
As I look back, I just want to say that he took me in when nobody wanted me. He brought me home and I was accepted by his family and treasured by his close friends. He nurtured and groomed me in ways he thought were best for me. He held on to me in good and bad times and sacrificed his life to bring me up. He saw in me what others did not or refuse to see. And he never gave up on me. Even to death, he was faithful, tirelessly working for my wellbeing, security and growth till he could work no more.
I will miss him dearly. Goodbye my founding father. Go to your eternal rest. Be reunited at last with your one true love. Cheerz.