I literary don’t understand how time flies sometimes. Yesterday, marked 17 years since we buried my dad and it feels like just yesterday. I was so little when I experienced my father’s death but I remember everything that happened on that day. I will always praise God for his life and for giving me the best dad every child can dream of having.
I can talk about my dad the whole day and tell you stories especially the moments we shared. One thing I will never forget about my father, was the strong friendship I had with him. I was the only daughter in the family and was so close to my dad. I remember when I was at nursery school, my dad used to escort me on his bicycle and every lunch hour, he would come and get me. I remember that he was never late: because when I was done with classes, I would find him outside, on his bicycle, waiting for me.
There was a day, when we spent time at his shop and he told me that if we manage to make more money, we will be able to purchase a doll for me to play with. After the sales of that day, my dad bought me a big doll. I was so excited that I ran to my mother at home, and showed her what my father had done. I explained to my mother that we made more sales that day, and consequently, dad bought me a big doll.
My mother was so happy when she looked at me and said; “Wow! You have got what you have been looking for.”
Afterwards she went straight to my father and she told him it was not right to spend money on things like dolls. The conversation went on but I was busy with my new doll. Every time I think of this story, I shed tears sometimes but at the same, I smile. The smile comes as I feel the love my father had for me. Let me take this time to tell you that you have to show respect to your father, whether you’re close to him or not.
Let’s fast-forward to when I started my primary school. I was so excited to start school because it meant I could wear the cool, green Jim dress and white blouse. I remember on the first day, I went to school with my mother and father. That day my dad told me that he would not come to get me after knocking off.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you are now 5 years of old and you will find new friends who will be coming home with you,” he said.
I opposed and told him to give me some time and to my surprise, my dad accepted. However gave me a condition that the deal would work if I scooped the first position in my class.
Everyday my dad picked me from school and we went straight to his shop. So he would work on his shop while I would be busy solving mathematics and practicing my spellings. I got used to the routine and this made me do very well in my class. This went on for more than a month; I guess we surpassed our deal. However, at some point, he stopped coming to pick me up and I started going home with my friends.
At the end of the first term, I was in the top ten and my dad told me he appreciated my effort. He also reminded me to keep my promise and strive for position one in the second term. So I worked hard and I maintained the first position to Standard 3.
There came a time when the teacher would ask; “Who is number 1?”
“Faith Kaunde,” all pupils would answer.
My dad would shower me with presents and my mother would boast about me among her friends. As I said, I have so many moments I can share with you even though I was so young the time when I lost him.
There was this other day after school as usual, I went to my father’s shop. He told me that he would be happy if I would become a journalist when I grow up. He said he would be glad if I spoke on the radio like; Alice Khoza, Eunice Chipangula and Eliza Kachali. I never understood him but I started loving the radio and it became part of me. This is why I didn’t struggle to choose what I wanted to study at the university but went straight to study Journalism. Every time I’m on the radio, it is a dream come true for me because I know my father is smiling and I will forever be grateful for that.
The pain never goes away but with time, I learnt to accept that my father, who was always on my side, is gone but he lives in my memories. What hurts the most, is knowing that he was around when I him on the photos. All in all, my father lived and I am part of his legacy. Sometimes, I wish I can just say hello and tell him how I am. I wish to tell him that my mother also died eight months after he died: but I know that is not possible.
As a seven-year-old I was so confused but I was lucky that I was surrounded with a strong woman, my mother, who could always tell me that we are going to be okay.
One thing I know is, death is real and people are dying each and every day. I made a choice to celebrate the life of my father and told myself to cry no more. I chose to call him my hero. At the age of 33, my father had his own business and had a house of his own. This makes me to work extra hard every day as he did, and I will always be grateful to God, for giving me a daddy who was my best friend and my guardian angel.
I know it’s not easy to let go of the pain that comes from the loss of a loved one but you need to pray for God to strengthen you. You may have many questions but my God is always there to comfort you when you are in pain. Sometimes you can feel like crying but always ask God to be your shoulder because he is the best comforter.
Today, I am happy that I can celebrate the life of my father after 17 years. If I had a chance to tell him, I would say; “I love you and thanks for the good memories. It’s a reflection that you once lived on this earth and you left a mark in my heart that keeps me going.”
I would not forget to repeat these words to him; “I adore you.”