Dear Kene

Dear Kene, KK, or whatever nickname you use to go by then, seriously I can't remember, you'll understand why eventually.

Dear Kene, on the first of February after asking for extra tuition fees and sharing a bottle of 7up and a few laughs with Daddy that will be the last time you will both have a conversation. He'd be gone in the morning, while you're still groggy from sleep and mother tried to tell you to be awake for morning devotion you'll hear your brother's voice rise in concern as he calls out to daddy and rushes to catch his falling body as his body shuts down in the middle of a song. You and your brother will walk twenty five minutes to his friend's house and while your brother cries as he tries to narrate what you both witnessed, your mother's frenzied screaming, the neighbors in the house carrying remedies ranging from spoons to onions and salt you will be naively calm, accept it, don't try to react any differently.

When you rush back home to hear Dad's been taken to the hospital and mother asks you to pray with her, that Daddy is not dead yet, cannot die yet, you will not wonder why they didn't take her along with them to the hospital. You will also not pray with her. I want to tell you to but I am really not sure it would change anything. In retrospect why am I telling you all this if I can't help offer perspective? I guess for you this is how you are meant to deal with the situation, you couldn't have foreseen or prevented it, and up until a few weeks after the burial you seemed to go on fine, conscious of the loss but eyes focused on living for the next day. It's the weeks after that I want to talk to you about. Those weeks when the slightest scent of him in the house makes you tear up, silent cries that you refuse to share. Bear them, you process grief differently and it is nothing to be ashamed of, although you would be doing mom a favor by not crying when she's around, or fighting your siblings.

When you wear his old trousers, and have to have the waist fitted, to your first job; when you get published and have your own column in the newspaper or win those academic contests in school you will feel a mix of emotions. You will have no one to share those joys with the way you had Dad in the years before. You will fall into that trap of 'making Dad proud in heaven’ and I wish I could tell you how to avoid it but you will need it at that point in time because between you and your other two friends who lost their dads around the same time, it's sort of the mantra to live by.

I try to think of what you'd have done differently, things you'd have experienced faster if he'd been alive, decisions he wouldn't have let you make or how he'd have helped you stick through some things you gave up on.

But then I realize that where you felt you'd have missed him there was a brother, a sister, a mentor or friend fit to help in that moment. Some of your best choices​ will not be the ones you made and in this I want you to rest knowing that, cliche as it sounds, everything will be okay.

You'll smile a lot, regardless of the circumstance, you'll discover that Providence makes a way even in your darkest times.

Live the rest of your life knowing that you'll make someone happy one way or the other because you will, I can't offer much comfort for the grief you'll soon experience, or the immediate hardship that'll follow. I can't help you forget the pain, but I can promise that it gets to a point where you can carry it with a smile and LIVE.

So LIVE already Kene, start smiling way before I did, Smile like Daddy.

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