This post is not late, because it was not meant to be posted on Father’s Day. One, because I wanted to spend the day observing what people say of their dad on this day, and two, because I didn’t want to rain on y’alls fathers’ parade with my musings.
Alas, this year’s Father’s Day was no different, social media was awash with a mixture of emotions. Almost a perfect balance of the positive and negative. Interesting because on Mother’s Day, we see very minimal posts castigating the moms. Is it because our moms are generally better humans? Is it because most often than not the parent that stayed was the mother? Is it that the parent who listened, who cared, who advised and held us in their arms is our mum? Is it because the parent who did the actual parenting is our mother? You tell me.
I did a post on my father on Father’s Day. My Dad is a man I really love and admire, but at the same time have questions for. My father rested by the way; in case I speak of him as if he is here with us. My post attracted comments in my inbox, of people who also battle with a multitude of conflicting emotions towards their fathers. People like me wo have questions, who need closure. People who want to forgive and move on but how do you forgive when the questions have not been answered? Do you forgive anyway?
I have very fond memories of my dad. The Sunday brunches, which we almost never missed throughout our childhood. After church we knew we’d go for nyama choma and chips. Sometimes he would also take us swimming. I loved Sundays. I loved hanging out with him and his friends at grown up places (read places with smells of beer and nyama choma🤣), something I think influenced the types of places I like hanging out in my adulthood, and the type of men I have dated.
I remember him taking us to work with him on Saturdays, which I loved because I got to drive some tu-small machines around the compound (he was an engineer). I didn’t particularly like eating chapo madondo at the vibandas near his office (he accepted me as I am though, and would try get the food delivered to his office instead so I don’t sulk the entire afternoon).
I remember ice cream Sundays, and especially the times he was not able to buy each of us their own cone. He would get one and ask us to share, with him as well. We would have a swipe at the ice cream in turns, the three of us. I really love this memory in particular.
I love my father. I really do. I miss him dearly, and every Father’s Day I wish he was here so we could get an ice cream cone and have a go at it in turns. That we would go to his office and I would ride those tu-machines even at my big age. That he would take me to Nyama Villa for choma, and now beer, since I am of legal age to indulge. I go back to all the beautiful memories and hope one day we meet again and reminisce together.
I love and miss my father, but I also feel angry and sad at the same time. The memories of him are not all rosy, when I think of my mother. When I think of her pain, her tears, her experiences at his hands, up until the time she died. This pain washes away the fond memories I have of dad and leaves me all angry and resentful. And I hate it. I hate the constant battle between loving my parent for who they were to me, and hating them for who they were to my other parent. I hate this conflict.
Someone sent me a message on forgiveness. It made sense. I mean, I cannot live the rest of my life seeking answers from a man who is no longer alive. I cannot live life yearning for conversations with a mother who is only a memory in my heart. I am only hurting myself. The only one at an eternal loss here is me. And I want it to stop. I want to be at a point where I can think of both fondly, without getting angry and resentful at one. I want to carry both of them in my hearts. Peacefully.
I know I am not alone. On Father’s Day, a multitude of us will type out wonderful words for our fathers. Then we will think of our mothers, and delete every good thing we wrote.
Someone please help us.