I had a father who was tough, dogged, firm, determined, hardly intimidated but kind hearted and fair in dealings with people. There were a number of times when some people wanted him to get something done for them and they try to appeal to his emotions while making him think about what people will say instead of the benefits of what is to be done or the legal and moral standing of what is to be done. In all of these situations I realized that my father would never let anyone intimidate him by making him look like a wicked person who does not just want to yield to what other people want. I know it’s a tough thing to be tough considering the immediate benefits that you lose when you choose this path for yourself.
I remember seeing him in some situations where he had to say no to some people without thinking about the emotional feelings of those people that could have entangled him if he said yes. From some of those conversations, I learnt to look at situations critically and to say no to people instead of looking at their feelings. There are times when you would learn to say no to people if only you have mustered enough strength to face them and say it because if you don’t you will get into trouble.
There was a day I walked into my pastor’s office and after a few minutes he just said, ‘you just like your father. You would keep quiet at a point when everyone is talking but you already know what you are going to do and no one will make you change your mind.’ I have seen him in several situations where he could have been intimidated by other people but I realize that he would stand his ground rather than being intimidated. He would hold his head high and walk confidently on the street without fear for anyone but with a lot of love for children around him. At the time my father died there were a number of parents who probably did not have another way of describing the dead man other than saying, ‘that man who used to buy your biscuit.’
All through the three years that he spent in and out of the hospital before he finally died in December 2007, you could easily sense and feel the toughness in him. There were a number of people who called him severally to discuss business and a few other things but they never for once got the impression that he was sick because his voice was clear and sharp even on the sick bed.
I don’t know exactly how many times he went in and out of the operation room but I remember so well that he never talked about dying for once regardless of the pains that he had to endure except for when he wanted to assure his wife, my mother, that everything would be fine. At that time what he even said was, ‘I am not going to die.’
I watched him closely in different situations and I could see clearly that he was not just talking tough but it was the way he lived yet he knew when to bend and when not to bend in order to keep moving in life. I have learnt you cannot walk through life as a weakling!