Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Picture With My Father

If there is one thing I really regret about losing my Dad last year, it is the fact that we never had any group photographs we all took together as a family. The closest thing to a group photograph was the one my parents took on their wedding day while my mother was already pregnant with me.  I had hoped that one day there would be an occasion that would have made that possible but it never happened. It didn’t happen for many reasons and the main reason was that my parents although still legally married, were separated for over 30 years.

In spite of separation, my parents still spoke regularly and were best friends even still in love with each other. Most of the time they discussed the most important achievements in their lives which were "their children". They discussed their hopes, their plans and their fears. They learned how to leverage on each other’s strengths with each child to pass their messages across. 

The respect and love they had for each other had grown over time as they both realized that they had to continue working together as a team for our sake. We were their most important accomplishment together. Our lives were made better by this team and sometimes I feel that they actually accomplished more for us when separated than when they were together.

I was having a discussion with my wife earlier about what sustains love in the long term and after our discussion I realized that it is not really about what we do for each other but what we do together that matters the most. Fathers cannot be fathers without mothers and vice versa. Husbands can also not become husbands without their wives. Children can also not "be" without parents, siblings also. 

What we do together as a family matters more than anything else we do for each other. They are what memories are made of and memories are the building blocks of love. What a father does "with a child" may be remembered more than what a father did "for a child", same with mothers as well. Blood or marriage is just the beginning; acts of love and kindness together with memories make up the rest of our lives together.

Human memory is a funny thing, sometimes you don't remember much until something triggers your memory. Pictures are snapshots of our memories and they serve as reminders when we have long forgotten why we love those who are dear and close to us. They remind us of what we did together more than what we did for each other. We make memories together daily and some moments are worth remembering forever. 

Do something special today with your loved ones and remember to take a picture of it because long after both of you are gone they will serve as memories for the unborn about what you did together before they existed. To show that they are a continuation of a family bound by love and to remind them to keep that love alive.

Once in a while remember one or two things I did with my father but the only picture I remember that I ever took alone with him was on my graduation day…. 

…..a picture is worth a million memories.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One Year After

This same morning one year ago, I woke up and felt the world was mine to conquer (it still is) but I did not know that my life was going to change forever that evening.

One year ago this morning the last thing on my mind was planning a funeral, all I was thinking of was where to do a wedding.

One year ago my father passed away and things have not been the same.

Michael Nosa Asemota 
2/3/1942 - 25/5/2011

Miss you Dad

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Letter to my father on his 70th birthday

Friday 2nd march 2012
Paris, France.

Letter to my father on his 70th birthday.

Domo Sir,

I had planned to write this to you today and deliver it to you in person but on the morning of 26th May last year my mother told me that you had left us all behind the night before on a journey. A journey you told me (3 years before) was closer to you than the journey you had already made.

I remember 20 years ago on this same day when you turned 50 and I was overjoyed. I shared the news with the wife of a relative with whom I was living with in Lagos at that time. Her response changed my life because she asked what you had achieved at 50? Broken home, no grandchildren … She asked what was there to celebrate?

I decided on that day never to have a broken home and also never to allow any of my children live with relatives and suffer humiliation. I did not realize at that time that she was wrong, that you had achieved much more than anyone at that age and did not have to prove anything to anyone. You were only going through one of the phases in life where God provides a valuable lesson and a better outcome.

You lived life by your own rules and many men we think are great were not half the man you were. There are things I discovered after you passed that made me realize how far ahead you had planned for those you love while depriving yourself of luxury.

You fought for what was right and never wavered even when the benefits of some of those fights were not going to change you and only came after you had passed on. I will always learn from the life you lived never to give up fighting for what is right even when everyone else says “give up”.

You passed away at 69 and lived a full life. You already had everything that those who mocked you did not believe you would have and more but did not believe in making a spectacle for the public. Your life changed and you were blessed beyond measure after you came back to find God and worshipped him like no man I have ever known. You always made me remember that and I also changed my ways and saw the result.

I still remember our conversations and how you would end it always in prayer, deep and fervent prayer of a man who loved his creator deeply and beyond the ordinary. There is no doubt in my mind now that you are at peace with the creator and we will all unite at the appointed time but it still hurts not to have you here today to celebrate the full life you have lived.

In a few months I will follow the steps you encouraged me regularly to and will go on a journey that would have made you proud. As I go on this journey, I will not only learn from the mistakes you made but will always have God as my partner and counsel as you had instructed.

It was fitting that today was a Friday and we had planned to have a big party for you. Same party we planned when you turned 60 but you were in hospital at that time and now at 70 you have left us for the bigger party in heaven.

I will always remember our last conversation and how it ended on a happy note and will forever remember you happy. I will continue to live everyday as a celebration of your life.

I miss you Sir.