When God Takes Away Your Angels

Today is November 5 2020.

It has been 37 years since my father was killed.

He was 37 years old when he died in 1983.

He was murdered by the police in an enigma of a tragedy that we still have not succeeded in totally unravelling.

If my father had not been shot dead on that day while he was driving his brand new yellow Peugeot 504, he would have been 74 years old this year.

I can only imagine what he’d look like today.

Bald? Super grey-haired? Dandy? Political? Famous? Wealthy?

My elder brother says, “He was so full of life. Looked like nothing could stop him.”

My brother could remember my father because my brother, the oldest of my four siblings at the time, was 10 years old when the event happened.

I was barely four.

When a loved one is snatched from us, we’re left with would-haves and could-haves, a plain canvas with no paint and no artist.

I indulge sometimes in some of the questions I might ask him, were he still here.

So, here are 37 things I thought I could have learnt from my father:

  1. How to drive
  2. How to drive stick
  3. How to shave
  4. How to pick a career to match my personality and vision
  5. How to select a higher institution for my studies
  6. How to write (legend has it he was quite the talented wordsmith)
  7. How to stay motivated
  8. How to find myself
  9. How to play politics
  10. How to think intellectually
  11. How to be civil
  12. How to speak to women
  13. How to treat and not treat a woman
  14. How to love or not love a woman
  15. How to raise my own kids
  16. How to maintain an interesting conversation
  17. How to be strong in the face of adversity
  18. How to pick my friends
  19. How to manage a career
  20. How to sell my ideas
  21. How to argue and not make enemies of my opponents
  22. How to farm
  23. How to experience the world beyond Nigeria
  24. How to pick my mentors
  25. How to determine which piece of advice is worth something
  26. How to enjoy my leisure
  27. How to partner with others
  28. How to treat myself with respect
  29. How to dream big
  30. How to chase that dream
  31. How to dress up like a gentleman
  32. How to approach social drinking
  33. How to manage mental pressure
  34. How to use my voice to make a difference in the world
  35. How to help other people with what I have
  36. How to be charismatic
  37. How to be full of life

By feeling about in the dark for many years and with dozens of gracious surrogates by my side, I might have figured out for these questions a few good answers. But we’re still here. We’re hopeful. Hopeful that, even though my father has been gone now for as long as he lived, perhaps we’ve made him proud.

If today you remember someone dear to you, someone you wish were still here, take a moment and light a candle for them. Believe that there’s a better place beyond this earth and that, well, they’re there, finally, finally at peace.

2 comments On When God Takes Away Your Angels

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    Touching story. He would be proud of you, no doubt. As a master wordsmith yourself, it will be easy ‘to hear his advise’ like he is right here with you. May God have mercy on his soul and my dad too. Amen.

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