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A Father’s Day Tribute to an Extraordinary Dad by Uduak Ukpong

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A Father’s Day Tribute to an Extraordinary Dad by Uduak Ukpong

C360_2015-03-15-08-25-27-443It’s another father’s day and one year since your passing. 365 days seem like a long time but it still feels like yesterday to me. I can still see your face and how you struggled for breath when we rushed out to search for oxygen to keep you alive even if it was just for one more day. One more day may have made a difference; one more month or even one more year would have made a world of difference to us. The frantic search for oxygen around our environs at 12 midnight is still fresh in my mind. Running in and out of several hospitals even having to wake up some doctors on night duties; I can still see the faces of the nurses and doctors we met in those hospital who thought we were crazy asking them to release their oxygen cylinders to us for a man who was on his dying bed.

When the search bore no result we returned only to find a lifeless body lying so peacefully. I will never forget the peaceful look on your face though your body was lifeless.  All I can remember from that peaceful look is from the book of the bible you loved so much – 2 Tim 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept faith.” Daddy I miss you every day, I miss you more when I imagine how you would have called me every day to find ask about my welfare and to encourage me to be the best person you brought me up to be. You were never a man of many words but in your few words were words of wisdom.

As I was thinking about writing a tribute to you, I thought how can just a few words do justice to all the years of love and strength that you gave us? I hope that the real tribute will be the actions of my (our) lives- that we are a testament of the love and lessons you instilled in us all!

Daddy you were a great man. Greatness is realized in the ordinary man’s life. There is nobility in the life of a man who provided for his family over decades, sacrificing personal wants, comfort and some dreams for the betterment of his family.

Daddy you lived this life setting with absolute clarity an example of a selfless provider. You denied yourself of a lot so your six children could have. You sacrificed life experiences so we could have and enjoy better experiences.

An educated man who loved education so much! Oh how I remember the days I had to read the columns in Guardian newspaper so I could improve my comprehension skills in order to get a distinction in English or the nights you stayed up with me to burn the mid night oil to read. Daddy that habit has stuck with me because now I ask myself why sleep all night when I can catch a few hours reading and that’s why I am up at 2 am writing this tribute to you.

Just a few days ago, I remember how you almost threw out one of your daughters because she couldn’t solve a math equation. Your love for better education for all your six children made you work two jobs just to ensure we had textbooks to study with an ultimate aim to make us the best at all times. In all those long hours you worked – daytime in the teaching hospital and evening at a private hospital – I never saw a frown on your face nor hear you complain of how enormous and demanding it was. Even after retirement you were still willing to work part time because you felt the need to still provide for your children.

Daddy you were a humble man with incredible level of patience and discipline. I pray every day to muster the strength to have the level of discipline and patience you had on this earth. I’m glad you instilled in us the love for God. I remember when we were younger you would take us to church every Sunday despite the distance of the church. Your faith in God was strong till the very end. In your last days you held on to God so strongly and for this I’m glad.

Even stroke couldn’t rob you of your strength because you recovered sooner than the doctors expected, regaining the independence I have always known you to have. Sadly, complications from bad hospital management robbed you of your many qualities in your last days but it was powerless to steal the beautiful essence of your life.

Daddy I see some of your traits in me and I treasure these dearly while striving to be an example of the life you lived on this earth.

There are many men like my father; men you see every day, yet you don’t notice. Men the world would dismiss as ordinary fathers. But with great character and selfless living, these ordinary men bestow on us an extraordinary gift of fatherhood.

Even in death I can only describe you as F-Fascinating A-Affable T-Tenacious HHospitable E-Exceptional R-Resilient – father!

I love you dad, forever and always!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. kemzy

    June 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Awwwww. Ud,I am glad I met your dad before he passed on. I remember him giving accommodation to me just coz I am his daughter’s friend who needed a place to stay during her court and chamber attachments.
    May u continue to remain the daughter he raised you to be.

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