Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memorial


Of September 11. As America is in memorial today, so am I. Only that mine is 15 years. 15 years of losing a man I took for granted. Every time I have to reflect on the incident that took place today 15 years ago, I just weep. There has been no maturity about it. I think of the manner, the untimeliness, the words I wished I said, and the things I should never have said or done. Now I know it is never too early to appreciate a loved one or to say, “I love you”.

I recall this day 15 years ago. Before the crack of dawn, the deed was done. Leaving Daddy, who was so full of life, as nothing but a lifeless corpse. In just a matter of seconds. I wondered if morning will ever come.

The Incident:
I remember vividly well that night. It all started by 1a.m. We were woken up by the shrill cry of neighbours who were being attacked by armed robbers. Dad, who never minds his business, picked up a whistle and started whistling for help. The whole area where we lived was at alert. I guess everyone bolted their doors and started hiding.

I went to Mom’s room where she was with Boy. He was awake and needed a change of diapers so Mommy asked me to do it. Then I heard voices under the window of her room. Someone asked in a deep voice, “Wey dat man wey dey disturb our operation?”. I panicked. “Mommy, they are around the house,” I said. She quickly ran to Daddy and told him. Daddy said we should all enter one room and hide while he deals with them.

We went to the biggest room in the house. Dota 1, Dota 2 and Dota 4 hid above the closet so that if the men want to rape, there will be few to rape. Me and Boy hid under the sheets of one of the beds in the room cos they assumed I was the only one who could keep him quiet. Dota 5 and Dota 6 were so small that you could barely find them hidden under the bedsheets of the other bed. Mom paced the room as Dad carried his cutlass to fight the men.

We heard the shattering of the back door and in no time, they were up to Daddy’s room. I heard nothing else.
After 10 minutes of the longest waiting period of our lives, we heard the men say “Omo, let’s go!”. We waited for Daddy to come and call us out. 5 mins passed. He had not come. Dota 4 said she heard something like a gun shot. We told her to shut up, that she only thinks of bad things. Mom told Dota 2 (the tomboy) to go and ask Daddy if we could come out.

*Sniffing…*
I have never heard Dota 2 scream like she did that night. It was shrill and laden with emotions. Then she ran back to the room to call Mommy. She could not talk. Her lips were moving but no word could come out. She was panicking frantically. After Mommy held her, he managed to voice out, “Daddy has been shot”.



We all ran to his room.
The door of his room had traces of blood and human flesh splattered on it. I was still carrying Boy. We were totally speechless when we all walked into the room. Dad was lying on the floor, on his student’s scripts, in a pool of his own blood. He was trying to utter something which could not be heard. He tried to reach out to us but we were too scared to touch him. His face held deep pain and anguish. His left arm was scattered by the gun shot of a double barrel. That is how we all stood crying “Don’t go, Daddy. Don’t go.” We were confused and helpless.


Till date, we never knew what happened between him and the armed men.

Those were the days of no gsm, nitel lines were for rich people. Dota 1 and 2 went to call for help that came 20 minutes later. We watched as Daddy was tied in a bedsheet and taken to a car. Mother, Dota 1 and 2 went with them. Our neighbour (not the one being attacked) came and took the rest of us out of the house. One of the kids prayed for us that night.

Mommy, Dota 1 and 2 came home without Daddy. Then it dawned on us that we were fatherless and mother was a widow. It happened to real people not in Nigerian movie.

Traditions and Customs:
We were 6 girls and 1 boy. Boy was only 1 yr 9 months old when the incident happened. Dota 1 was 17. Tradition and Customs (T&C) said the girls should not go to school but go and live with Dad’s people as housegirls. T&C was to save Dad’s money to train Boy. T&C took all that belonged to dad leaving us homeless. Luckily, mom got a job in the university and we were given a small house to move into. T&C dragged mom to court several times within her one year of mourning. Salt inside pepper. T&C made us hate where we come from. T&C made us shave our hairs for one year and insisted that we should not wear wig.

Looking back:
Then, I was completely angry with God. I did not know Him. I simply turned my back on Him and said “Where was God when this happened?” But today when I look back, I see that He is the ever-present God. He is a Provider. Imagine that Mommy’s breast began to flow with milk so Boy had nutritious sustenance while we struggled on how to eat. He provided one day at a time. He could cause people to miraculously give when we desperately needed it (my 1st school fees after was paid by donations from my classmates). Imagine that I had a scholarship in university because someone liked my native name. Imagine a lecturer telling me not to pay for any of his textbooks or handouts. I had them free. Talking about what God has done during those 15 years, is a novel of its own. God, I thank You.

God does not take life – He gives life. This took me 15 years afterwards to understand.

I know how much progress there’s been in the lives of Mother, Dota 1 to 6, and Boy. And I know the best is yet to come. As I reflect on the incident that took place today 15 years ago, I just weep, yet comforted by the knowledge that there is a Father who will never leave me.




52 comments:

fantasy queen said...

omg! i'm so ladden with emotions right now.
you've been through so much, but you only just proved that God is merciful in everyway. the beginner and finisher of our faith.
the father of the fatherless and protector of the widow.

i know what it is to loose a father.
but i dont know what it is to be there when life is taken from a father.
it is well you.

Allied said...

This is so emotional. I dont even know what to say but i am glad that you know a Father that will never live you.

Also you are one of the few that got it right "God does not take life – He gives life"

Alot of believe belives he gives and takes away. - Not so.

Continue to be strong in the Lord. I really admire your spirit.

Red Sapphire said...

Sniff!Sniff!!...i know what it feels like to be fatherless..but not as deep as ur's..and i am so happy the past 15 years, u have not only grown but been strong and insightful to see the hand of God over ur home and family. One line i probably wont forget from this today is "God provided one day @ a time".
Thanks Erolyrics...some good way to follow thru today...

fantasy queen said...

and you just made me appreciate life more...i've taken lots of things for granted. its time to begin to appreciate God more.

30+ said...

"God does not take life – He gives life"

Indeed he gives life and he gives it in abundance.

Greater testimonies are coming your way.

~Mimi~ said...

we tahnk God for His Grace and Love over your life.

wow. God has sustained you through a lot, and your light will so shine forth in Jesus Name. and you will be used for His Glory.in all your pain, Joy will be birthed. in Jesus name.amen.

God bless you lady.

Modupe said...

Beautiful memorial piece....it shows such a deep perspective of life and Godliness...am sure your heavenly father, and just in case daddy who has gone to be with him can see this,they will be so proud of you.May u always have cause to be thankful inspite of all odds..

Afrobabe said...

oH God Rita, your family has been through so much..I have tears running down my face as I write this..I read and chilled a bit,,,I still cant find the words to comfort...I leave here hating T&C....

its a beautiful writeup...one ur dad would have been proud of, one he is proud of as he looks down and sees what you have made of ur life...

aloted said...

oh my goodness!

I actually have tears in my eyes right now..

But i thank God for your life and your mum, sisters and your brother..

I am short of words :(

OluwaDee said...

As sad as this is I am glad you are still standing strong today.

May God continue to guide n strengthen you and your family. Amen.

doll said...

I actually had tears in my eyes, sorry out ur loss, but am happy that the Lord had been ur strength, he never fails you see and am happier u are aware of that fact. My God continue to keep u, ur mom, and ur folks and may ur Dad’s soul continue to RIP

Funms said...

God never abandons his own in times of need. Thank God for his grace and favour over your life and your familty these past years. He's the all sufficient.....

Rita said...

@Fantasy Queen: “the father of the fatherless and protector of the widow” those were the only words of God I knew back then.
Sorry about your loss, dear. Whether you are there or not, the pain of losing a loved one can be heart shattering.
Continue to appreciate your life and Him each day. It is truly worth it.

Thanks for being there today…

@Allied: Your words today are enough to encourage me to grow strong in the Lord. Thanks for standing by me on what I now know about God who does not take away...

@Red Sapphire: My dear, sorry oh concerning your father. It must be painful.
I grew very recently – about a year ago when I completely surrendered to Him. Maybe 2 years ago I may not have appreciated the things He did in our lives.

I thank God you found the line useful, “God provided one day @ a time".

@30+: I say repeated “Amen” to your prayer upon my life. Thank you so very much.

@~Mimi~: His Love is inexplicable. I say “Amen” in agreement with you. God bless you too.

@Modupe: I hope both Fathers are proud of me  . Amen to always having cause to be thankful.

@Afrobabe: T&C happened to be the same people that ate from the same plate with us, slept under the same roof with us, and called themselves family. All it took was dad’s death to expose their true colors. Can you imagine that one had the impetus to tell mother, “Let’s see what will become of your daughters…whether they will not become ashawos! (whatever the spelling is)”

Thanks. It has been one of my desires to make Daddy proud and live as if he was still here

@Aloted: One guy once told me the truest of hearts speak the fewest words. Is that your case?  Thank you for thanking God on my behalf. HE is a good God.

@OluwaDee: God has indeed been our strength. Thanks for your kind words. Amen concerning your prayer for us.

@Doll: Thanks. Rejoice with me for He never fails.
Amen oh.

@Funms: Thank you and Thank God. When people said things like “He’s all sufficient” it did not make sense to me. Not then. But looking back now, those words make sense. Thank you very much.

La Reine said...

That was inspiring indeed. To have been through so much and still have that outlook.
You may not know how many you have blessed by posting this.
-God really has us under His watch.
Take care.

NewLife said...

I pray he continues to strengthen you and that the Holy Spirit will always remind you of how good God is even when the enemy may try to say otherwise. God bless

princesa said...

My heart goes out to you and ur family dear.
i have had my own share of armed robbery attacks but never one that ended so sadly.

Your dad was a selfless, brave and great man. Be consoled in that fact.

geisha.song. said...

you truly are strong to share this.
God be with you

Parakeet said...

What can i say? This looks like it comes right out of a soap but there it is, your own story. How real does this get. We as humans think our situation is worse but when we hear of others we have to give thanks. I thank God for your life today and for your family and I'm sure your Dad is resting in peace.

I hope we can all learn from this. When a frightening situation confronts us, we shouldnt feel like we have to be strong, but rather let God handle the situation.

Rita said...

@La Reine: Thank you. God is just the perfect Father, having His eyes on us…

@NewLife: Amen, thank you for saying a sweet prayer for me…

@Princesa: Ah! Experience with armed robbery attacks? Thank God for keeping you oh! Experience with armed robbery is not even my wish for the people that killed him.

I guess I never saw these great things about my father…I always blamed him for blowing the whistle that night…thanks for making me see this side of him

@Geisha.song.: It did take a lot of courage to express myself, but I could not hold it anymore…Thank you

@ Parakeet: Before then, I thought death was only for movies. But the incident was an eye-opener. Thank you for joining me to thank God. Indeed it’s been 15years of His steadfast love.

Come to think of it, there was once we faced a very frightening situation. All I said was if God could see us through that year after father’s death, He will see us through the frightening situation. We handed everything to God. And that was what gave us peace.

musco said...

15 yrs ago & d story is still so fresh!

i can imagine wot ur entire family went thru during this period.it's however important to note that God saw u guys thru despite all odds.

*emotions taking over* i dn't knw what else to say bt i really want to say more.

Shubby Doo said...

i don't know what to say...your father so loved you all that he gave his life for his family...you are all his beloved...

Emilia said...

I got tears in my eyes when I read this... I don´t know what to say really just that hang in there and God gives us all to pull through such difficult moments and days.
September 11 quite a bad day actually you are talking about 15 years ago and USA it´s 2001 and well in Sweden its 5 years ago one of Sweden´s loved politicians Anna Lindh was murdered on 9/11/03 @ a shopping mall in stockholm. It shook the whole country big time

9/11 a day for memorial for many

Arewa said...

this is so emotional, rita, and I pray that God continues to strenthen you and your siblings and bless your mum for raising you all after this. May his soul rest in peace. God bless you all.

bumtight said...

I guess 9/11 takes on a different meaning for u. I'm so sorry about your loss, but I'm happy that God has been faithful to you and your family. I appreciate Him more even as I read this.

Naapali said...

I know it has been a long time and you have worked through your feelings. Nevertheless, as one human to another, I am sorry for your loss, and also for the unnecessary suffering those that should have cared for you inflicted.

Rita said...

@ Musco: Yes the memory is so fresh that I wonder if I have truly forgiven the culprits. God was really with us all through.
Thank you…

@ Shubby Doo: Hmmm…this is a different light to the incident. I feel more comforted now that I realize he really loved us. Many thanks…

@ Emilia: Thank you. This 9/11…is this coincidence or what? I didn’t know about the incident in Sweden...

@ Arewa: Amen. I agree with you concerning my mum. As I also reflect, I see that she did a great job raising all of us. Thank you.

@ Bumtight: Thank you so much. Yeah, God has been really faithful…I’m still at loss for how to thank Him…

@ Naapali: Thank you for your touching words…I thought that time will completely erase all memories...

Temite said...

Dearest,
That made me cry so hard.
OMG. God is so good to have given your whole family the grace to face this last 15 years without your Dad. I know that he will continue to see you through. Dont cry, Baba God's gat your back, and continue to walk in his grace.

wellsbaba said...

AWww......sorrry.....pele....

Jarrai said...

I am so sorry..:(, I think the hairs at the back of my neck are standing stiff...i cannot imagine the pain you and your family had to go through...But God is bigger than any man and he has you within his sight so fear not

T&C i never liked...it can be laced with a bitter pill

Dee! said...

Rita stay strong in the Lord! It is well with you ALWAYS! As a woman whose Dad left this world 25 years ago. . . I know what it is for a loved one to die. . . I know how you feel, but always know that our Heavenly Father is always there for us. Psalm 68:5.

Shalom!

Rita said...

@Temite: God is indeed a very good God. Thanks for reminding me that he’s got my (our) back

@wellsbaba: Thanks…and same to you

@Jarrai: Thank you…I don’t know how God did it all these years. Don’t mind T&C…they have seen that their plans did not work.

@Dee!: 25 years…sorry oh…what then will you say if I’m crying? Thank you for your empathetic words

naijalines said...

I've got tears...but it's mixed tears...

Joy...that you've met some incredible people in the last 15 years...people sent to ease your pain. That was not by chance. God is amazing!

Pain...because no no one can replace your father...but then as you said, your father is right here with you. I'd add that he's proud of you too.

yankeenaijababe said...

I watched a controversy theory about 9/11. Very depressing documentary. I pray for the families of those left behind. This was the worst thing to ever happen to a country. Only God gives true protection.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

WOW, AFTER READING WELLSBABA'S POST, i NOW READ THIS AND WOW, (sorry for caps).

My sister, God is good and has blessed you. I thank you for sharing this story with us all. It is indeed a testimony to the Lord's grace.

Believer said...

Hi rita, this was really touching. I know your father will be so proud of the woman you are today. Strong in the Lord. He is indeed a Father. You are blessed.

rebecca said...

The Tide Rises, the tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls,

The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;

Along the sea-sands damp and brown

The traveller hastens toward the town,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

 

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,

But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;

the little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Efface the footprints in the sands,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

 

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls

Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;

The day returns, but nevermore

Returns the traveller to the shore,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

-------by runescape gold

isha said...

God does not take life, he gives life. This post has so many lessons. May God continue to strengthen you and give you grace and favor like he always has.
It is well with you and your family.

Rita said...

@naijalines: You sound like the way I feel most times…Joy and Pain...Thank you for the reassuring words that my father is here with me…

@yankeenaijababe: Loss of loved ones is indeed a very painful and saddening thing.

@SOLOMONSYDELLE: It is indeed a testimony, for how else can I explain our life and sustenance all those fifteen years. Thank you oh.

@Believer: Thank you so much. You sound so confident in how my father would feel about me. Your words made me stronger.

@isha: - I thank God you took something out of this post. Amen to your prayer for us.

cinnamonqueen said...

This is so beautifully written Rita. I am glad I stumbled on your blog through FQ's.

My dad passed away seven years ago on 11 July - you can read about him on my blog too :) - and I believe he is still watching over me. I believe so is yours.

Buttercup said...

wow rita...gosh...

i thank God for seein ur family thru that ordeal...may He continue to bring comfort to u all...

just treasure all the wonderful memories he left u with..i really am sorry...

Rita said...

@Cinnamonqueen: Thanks for stopping by...Sorry about your father...I didn't see the post about him on your blog...which one is it?

@Buttercup: Thanks dearie...I really wish that while treasuring those moments I dont think about them...cos they bring tears to my eyes...do u have any solution :-) ?
I really like ur comment on treasuring the moments...

Anonymous said...

This is really touching, thanks for being strong enough to share this thereby reminding us that God can and will never leave nor forske his own no matter the situation

Sabira said...

Oh my! May his soul rest in peace.

Rita said...

@Anonymous: Thank you. Your words are very reassuring.

@Sabira: Amen. Thank you very much.

archiwiz said...

Oh my God!!! I could feel the raw emotion in this....I can't imagine what your family went through with all this. Hmmm... T&C...God forbid ohh.
I'm glad though, that in all, you can say Thank God...because of how He kept you through all these years. Because of his provision, and because He didn't let you guys be ashamed.

rethots said...

He is ever present.

Rita said...

@Archiwiz: Today, for the first time, I saw the verse of scripture of being promised that God will not leave us ashamed. I am so glad you shared those words with me. When I saw it in the bible, it was like a reminder of God's constant love in my life.

@Rethots: So true

Fanyama West said...

Esuru,

At the beginning I was not there, only vaguely hearing the story. This post brings it to light. Over the years I had witnessed most, you are clearly a living testimony of the ability of our God, especially in terms of your faith.

Keep it up sister, He who started the good work in you will surely accomplish it to the end.

lamikayty said...

touching and real...my heart is pained but I thank God for the growth through the pain!
Your dad IS a real man!

Rita said...

@Fanyama West: Thanks dear

@Lamikayty: God has been indeed faithful...thanks for the consolation about my father...

Ema Leecious said...

I hope i'm not opening fresh wounds by commenting here, but I am so emotional right now. Only God would have seen you all through this trying period.
It will be well with you all. Just remember that the same God who was there when it all happened and still saw you through despite all odds is still there for you right now.
lots of hugs from me.

1 + The One said...

Wow.. I'm just reading this post and even now, I feel so sad about what your family experienced.

I respect and celebrate your father's courage.

I thank God for being a great father to you and your family. God bless you sis xx