My Father

My father.

Two days ago my father was ill and I was called to take him to the hospital. While waiting to see the doctor, I realized that I could not sit close to the man I called dad, close to my father. I was sitting far away.

My sister and I unconsciously looked for the furthest seat away from him. He needed help to get up, and I realized it was difficult for both of us to reach out to him and help him. I felt like I was reaching out to a stranger.

At that moment, I felt so sad that the one person I should have profound love and respect for, I could not. I love him like any other being, but nothing special. I know in my heart that I will help him in all ways to the best of my ability and do whatever feels right, but I have lost that closeness, that attachment that exists between daughters and fathers. I wonder, was it due to years of feeling angry toward him? Years that I felt he did not understand what it meant to be a father? Years of being sad and blaming him?

I have been angry with my dad for so long that I can’t even remember when the anger started. I have always seen him as selfish and not caring for anyone but himself. I was full of bitterness for the man that I should adore; I was an angry child, an angry adult because of my father for so long.

I came to the realization some years back that some of the difficulties and challenges I have in my home were due to how I see my father. He has been a shadow hanging above my happiness. I have carried my past with me like a big, ugly bag that hangs on my shoulders everywhere I go. As a young girl growing up, I made a promise to myself that I will never marry a man like my father, but it seems that I see him in all the men that I have dated, and even in the man I married.

As I sat down far away from him, looking at his fragile self, I did not feel hate nor anger for him. I felt a heart-aching pity, and I realized he can never hurt me or my siblings again. I did not realise that I have allowed something that did not exist, nor have control over, to harm and define my life.

I have allowed the anger towards my dad to rule my life for so long. I said to myself, He did it and not me; it was his choices and not mine, he is who he chooses to be and I can chose right here and now what I want to be. And I did.

I have accepted him for who he is. He can never be who I want him to be, or who I wish him to be, but he will remain the man I grew up knowing as my dad, and he will remain the person he has always been.

I have since then come to appreciate who he is, to laugh over some of the things he does. I never allow myself to feel angry or hurt toward his behavior. I have decided to look at the positive side of him.

I learned to read and write because of him. These are things that make me who I am today, things I find pleasure in. I never read with him, but he brought lots of books home and I always saw him reading and writing. Sometimes, just to be praised by him or noticed by him, I pretended to read, but he never did notice, even when I started to really read. But I learned to read and love books because of him.

He is who he is and I am his daughter. I have stop being angry. It felt sad and empty as we sat there in the hospital bench waiting to see the doctor, my dad looking old, fragile and sick and I and my sister sitting away from him. But that is who we are. I still struggle to call him my dad. I find it easier to refer to him as my father.

Rahinatu Adamu

About the Author | Rahinatu Adamu

Rahina is a dreamer and a lover of life, and she is still trying to find her way in this amazing journey of life. She loves to read and write. She is married and a mum of two adorable boys. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria, and has spent over 13 years of her life working with the most vulnerable in her community.

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1 comment to "My Father"

  • Ramatu

    This is a very touchy piece Rahina. In our lives we are confronted with different personalities, some are suppose to be so close to us while some are just affiliates passing through our lives. Its very difficult to accept the weaknesses of those we love but my question is; is it really because we love them or because we have a definition of what our loved ones should do and behave as prescribed by the society? If we really love then we accept them just the way they are like you mentioned , people choose who they want to be and you also choose how you react to their being. Thanks for such a beautiful story.