A Letter To My Pops

Dear Papa,

They came out in large numbers to our small family home.

The numbers were larger than any I had seen since we moved to that home. The minute word was out that you were no more, they came. Bearing their hymnals and the Good book of life ready to pour out words of encouragement. Others carried the bottle, not for me, but for my brother, who like you is a fan of the bottle. They also carried with them bread and Milk – a standard procedure in any funeral because what is a funeral without tea.

They came for us Papa because truth be told, they really didn’t know you. They were mostly church folk and the truth is, you had not fellowshipped with any congregation in about eight years, and even before then, going to church was never in your weekly things to do. So they came into our home, sang a hymn or two, and shared encouragement from the good book. 

Papa, they told us to look forward to the soon return of the Lord – when we shall be reunited with you in eternal glory. But Papa, what they should have told us is how long eternity really is, because the real eternity would be the days after your death. The moments after your death would seem to have more nights than days. That in those nights, we would look for sleep but sleep would be so elusive. That even when we would eventually manage to catch some winks, our dreams would feature you so heavily. Particularly your last moments on earth. And we would replay those moments and wonder what we could have done differently to add you more time with us.

Papa, they kept on saying you are now in a better place.  But Papa, who really knows where good men go when they die? Papa, who can tell us of that land yonder and if it really is a better place. And further to that Papa, I know the illness took a lot from you and the last days you had were not so easy, but Papa, isn’t a better place, a place where you would have us with you. Even if not the whole gang, at least me – Who walked with you to hospital on many occasions and sat through appointments with you. Papa isn’t a better place the place where we would sit and laugh at the jokes of many things about life. 

Papa, they said it would get better with time. But papa what is time? Papa, who really knows if time is a healer. Papa, do they really know how that you can look at the clock but you would not be able to tell time. Do they understand that time is just but fleeting moments? Papa do they know that while time is supposedly a healer it is instead a prison where thoughts are repressed and every single moment – awake or asleep will be spent thinking of you and no outlets for the thoughts will make much sense.

They said that we should mourn as people with hope. But what hope can you have if the person you love is lowered six feet under? What kind of hope is this that ends with your loved one returning to dust? What is hopeful about knowing that you will never see papa again and talk and laugh with him as much as you want to. Papa, where is the hope if I will only see you in my dreams and even then you will disappear as soon as I set my eyes on you.

I really wish things were different Papa. I wish, like the celebrated blues singer, I had another chance, another walk and another dance with you. If I did papa, I would play a never-ending song – A song Titled Life. In this Life, I would resent less, I would visit you more, I would cherish the walk to the hospital with you. Papa, in this life, I would not fight your drinking habit – though it eventually led you to the grave. I would cherish every moment Papa. I would take time to just enjoy the blessing it was to have you in my life.

But because I don’t get another chance, I will try and listen to their advice. Try to hope that it will get better with time as I look forward to the Lord’s return. Try to grieve with hope because maybe, just maybe, you truly are in a better place. And who knows, maybe when we finally see each other – You will tell me more.

Till then…. Rest easy pops.

Love always,

B.

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