A tribute to my Late father, Olatubosun Iyiola Theophilus Onigbinde
“Your father is dead”
”Your father is dead” my mother emphasized in a certain random discussion.
Not because she thinks I have forgotten with the pace that I carried on with life but she says this to punctuate my thinking restating that the exit of our patriarch is forever.
If only we take time to really think through the cycle of life, how we enter and exit, how we span this surface and how everything is finally retold in history, maybe we would tread carefully and carry an humane spirit on the glaring vanity of life. When the spirit soars into other realm, what’s truly left is the bony skeleton, the type I peered at in the Kigali Memorial yesterday.
I dreaded those moments when death knocks around. When it takes no bribe nor seeks patience to put all in order. When it did on May 14, 2014, it was grief, it was open memory and it was pain. I remember how hard I tried not to cry but still grieve in my reality that we once fathered, are now “fatherless”.
When he bought his mobile phone, we marveled at pie family prize. So proud of it, we crammed the numbers – 0-8-0-3-3-7-7-1-4-9-1. If you called him, it was a sure bet, he would call back. Thats why till his death he was not on my “friends and family” list, because there was no need to call him. All he needed is a ‘flash”. This is memory that makes one grieve more. That number has ceased to call me and I dont even ‘flash’ it. He cared less when I was leaving the bank, truly believing I will be fine. He knew the pains of being a banker, so much gloss, less substance. He believed in God’s working in me.
He was put in the box. His body in a box. My own father, clad in white and looked he was having a nap. This was an eternal sleep with the breath gone and we witnessed the frame fed to the dust.
My father taught me two quick things ( I will figure out the rest later) – Responsibility and Sacrifice. To what one expected him to do as a father, he did not stumble nor give excuses. He stood when he was supposed to stand and gave his best to me and his family with all life offered him.
My life, those of my siblings and everyone he met on the stairs of life is a testimony. This takes his lessons to me into context. This is of giving his life, space, time and resources to whoever met him on the stairs of life. How do I dare to be different when I am cut from his cut, sired from his seed? I am trying my best to live in that span of sacrifice.
I know today runs emotions in the spine again. I know how it feels like every marriage anniversary, every birthday of his (November 4) and every day he will be expected to grace and fulfil his role as a father. I know how he tells of S. L Akintola and many stories of his time. It is life with its basket of lessons and if we truly punctuate enough, we will live a more glorious one.
Here is a tribute to the man I respected despite his failings but left no one in doubt of his humane spirit. My soul and spirit will forever miss him. With God’s help, I will do my best to care for those he loved and tried his best to live for – his wife and his children.
God rest his soul and grant him bliss on the glorious side. I have to call my Mum because I know she takes another day to grieve.
Such is life – C’est la vie.