When my father died many years ago, I didn’t inherit any properties from him. One, he died hurriedly. It is what one might describe as an untimely death. Two, from where I come from, women are not allowed to inherit tangible properties. Even if his death was well timed, I would have not been expecting anything. 

Although, there were a few things I would have liked to have, and others I wish were kept.

  1. His Igbo bible. The pictures in them, the markings he made, his calligraphy, were a portrait.
  2. His sleep gown. Embroidered in deep hues of red, black and grey.
  3. His random scribblings. Notes he kept, reminders he wrote, and business agreements.
  4. His music record collections. 

I didn’t get to keep any of these. Nobody did.

However, I did get to keep my memories, my feelings, and the secondhand joy of watching him immerse himself in life.

I got to keep his sense of wonder and how music made him feel. We are always trying to build connections to our people, history and definement. What makes me me, and what makes you you.

I kept his looks, like a reflection. He was a really fine man, assured in his steps. I kept his sense of privacy, a need for aloneness. Never needing voices to remind us of our own.

He was cool. My template.

I kept some awkwardness too. A fine balance of caregiver sharply contrasted by an inability to make friendship connections. 

I keep trying to define and redefine what I am. 

What are my core emotions, and how do I process my sense of self? 

Music is my extension. 

When familiar people meet me, and inadvertently speak of my father pestered with lingering memories of him, I go to my music, I think of him in chords and symphonies. In folklore and chorus. Witty lines and enchanting tunes.

I think of him in many words, followed by fast drum beats and rhythmic claps. I think of him in ballads, in long journeys home, and descriptive letters.

I see him with the light on, set stage and sound check. I see him in light brown apparel, gold embroidery and leather shoes.

I see him majestically bent, swaying, moving, gyrating, synchronising, choreographing, then alone, fading away slowly but surely. Smiling, laughing, carefree for the last time.

Nothing left to give, nothing more to earn.



What is the place of a father’s love when he is no longer here?

I try not to love too many things. 

Why? When I love, it is with a sense of urgency, vibrancy, and a need to feel and fulfill. I let myself feel all of my emotions, even those that threaten to consume me, and especially those that can break me.

I love my father. But I am conflicted in that love. He left when he shouldn’t, he left without a warning, he left failing to teach me how to have a relationship with him without him in my life. 

I try not to think of my father because he left a gaping hole in the place where he should have been. Unfortunately, all of these are the casualty of death, the associated risk of living, and the hidden terms and conditions behind falling, in love.

I try to think of him in Acts and Scenes-


Act One

Rather than hold on to a lifetime, I try to break them into memories defined by moments. 

My father loved his music. 

I close my eyes and try to see him, I can. As clearly as day, as clearly as the days I go running towards him with the assurance that he will catch me.

I try to feel him, I can’t. He is elusive as the wind. A distant memory, slowly fading away, flowing like a stream, away from me, rather than towards me.

All over again, I mourn the love I once had, and I am raging with fury.

I try not to think of my father.

Scene One

My father loved his alone time, the stolen moments that are frozen between time and space, between people and the chatter of daily living. 

I wonder what dreams he had unfulfilled. I wonder what he would have chased if he had more time, and he wasn’t born with the responsibilities tossed on him.

I try not to, but I fail, miserably.

I think of my father a lot. A lot more than I care count. I see him in my face, I see him in my choices, I hear him in my sighs, I trace the lines of his face on mine.

 I am my father’s daughter.


Act Two

I judge him by his words, harshly and assuredly. I judge him even more by his actions. Maybe it is the curse of cracks, we try to fill them in.

 I play a game of “Guess the answer”

I set the scene, I provide the clues, and I decide the answer.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.

Scene Two

 I sometimes forget, my father was first human and then, my father. He was first son, then brother, husband… so many faces to put on, so many characters to play out and finally, my father.

I miss him, I wish he were here.


Act Three

I try to think in parallels sometimes, as a way to extend grace, and a way to understand. I know how pain can change you. I know how regret can weigh on your feet, making it impossible to move them. I know how some choices cannot be changed and I understand the brutality of acceptance.

If I miss him not being here, what would he have felt on his way out?

Despair? Freedom? Apathy? Sadness? Acceptance? 

Or just plain nothingness.

The nothingness of a dark hole, the nothingness of surrender and the calm of a failing heartbeat only mildly intercepted by the frantic wails to bring it back.

 I miss him not.

Scene Three

 It will be selfish to want something that might have wanted to leave. To want a heart wreathe with heartbreak, drained by emotions… just eating, living, breathing for others.

Thumping, waiting, living but also dying.


I loved my father. I love my father.