Growing old and understanding the meaning of loosing someone you love, I learnt a lesson in the mist of my pain. After we moved to our new house in Dansoman and trying to adjust to my new environment. I learnt from the bully in the neighborhood that, my Dad was not actually living in England, but he was actually dead. Well, this news traumatized me more than anything else in my life.
It actually occurred to me that, "Sudden misfortune hits us all from time to time, nurturing strength of the spirit now, will help to shield you". It was then I decided to tell people what I thought about them whilst they were alive, since a eulogy at a funeral is said out of sympathy, so people tend to over embellish the dead’s character.
Every time I visit home (London), I stay the night with Mum and chat till late in the night. After I have all the gossip from Maame's Friday club members and church, I will always ask her this question, "Maame, you need company" and I get the same answer, and could recite it on command. "Adze a Dada ye ma me no, Bayin biara ntom!" Judging from the answer my Maame has given me all these years, I am confident to say my Father is the epitome of a good husband. She definitely married her soul mate and life long friend. I know from our late night chats that he enjoyed her company and adored her as well.
Even though, she was a widower, in her late thirties, Maame's commitment to Daddy meant a lot to her. You can see from the pain in her eyes when she talks about her Dada, she always has a big smile, which will take your mind of the sorrow in her eyes. For god sakes, she talks about him in the present tense sometimes, in her mind he is very alive and still lives with her. With the misfortunes my Mum has gone through, she made a good choice, this is because my Maame did not go through life cursing the darkness, she saw the positive side and simply lit a candle. Dada's candle still burns in her memories.
From the six short years which I spent with my Dad, It is all very good memories, and even to this day, when I have dreams of Daddy, I wake up comforted by the fact that, I still dream of him as an energetic Loving Dad, who was always ready to dance and sing to Tom Jones and the Beatles. Yep, On Christmas Morning, he will put on the record player and I can still hear him sing "The sound of Music" with his backup singers, Sissie and kids join in like the "VON TRAP's .
Daddy loved to entertain a lot, and on weekends, amidst all the ciaos with his job, as one of the only practicing medical practitioners in Tamale, He will throw these elaborate parties. I will never forget when he did surprise Maame at one of those parties, when he showed up with the triplets, she had adopted at the orphanage. He really made her day.
Daddy was not afraid to tread territorial waters by helping in the kitchen. One weekend, when he was making breakfast for us, and I was sitting in my favorite spot, on the kitchen counter, admiring the master chef prepare his continental breakfast, I was very impressed to see him lift the frying pan in the air and toss the eggs to turn. I bet this experience will have Martha Stewart "feel in adequate of her creativity". Well, what can I say? Dad, he was a very funny man. He actually made me believe if I ate all the vegetables he put on my plate, I will have muscles like POPEYE the sailor. Well, You can tell from my looks, vegetables are excluded from my menu.
Daddy was a very fashionable man. And, if he were alive today, he will be the exact definition of a metro sexual. One of his visits from England, he came back with these beautiful patterned mini suede skirts and platform shoes for the older girls and made sure on his date out with his girls to the movies, they looked equally stunning as well. He drove them to model for Aunty Emma's fashion shows and encouraged them the older girls to practise the run way walk on the varanda in the evenings..
My Daddy walked with a limp, and I later learnt he was deformed by the childhood debilitating diseases Polio. This disability I heard was the main reason why he became a doctor. Not just a regular doctor, but one who was willing to practise in one of the remote areas in Ghana. Daddy, never treated his patients like a job, he treated them whole-heartedly, even though there were occasions when patients couldn't afford their bills. There was once an occasion, when we had bought a sheep for one of the numerous parties, Daddy and Maame threw, And the sheep got tangled with a rope and was unconscious, He resuscitated the goat back to life. And once when one of our pets Paullina the baboon got sick, Daddy nursed her back to good health, even though she was quiet an ungrateful patient who will fight and scratch her savior. As for the grateful patients, I know, anytime I went out to the market with Maame, the market women will point to me, with these big grins, and say "Dr. Daniels PEEYA!!, I am hoping that translate to Dr Daniels Princess, because I know we were really Dada's Princesses.
Even though there were seven girls including Maame trying to attract Daddy's attention, he made us all girls feel so special, by doing little things for each one of us. I bet everyone's memories includes Daddy's laugh, because he was always in a good mood. I really loved our times out alone. When he will take me for a walk, and allow me to swing from the guava trees branches. (Oh! the good old monkey days!!!) And I can proudly show of my scars from those episodes. (Maame did not like the idea). Having scars on your knees is quiet unattractive for a woman, but to me the memories are so beautiful it masks the ugliness of these scars.
Daddy did not see us grow up, but I know he is comfortable because he left us with a wonderful Mother. He might have an idea of what our professions are as well as our lives turned out because, as kids he will ask as what we want to be as adults, and after he has listen, he will say, "yes, you will be a very good ............ In very few words, he made us believe the skies were our limit, and his princesses deserved only the best. Parents tend to be their children’s role model. And what good role models we had.
Six years might be short, but my memories of My Dad has lasted a lifetime, And who ever said memories from the mind of a child does not help shape your path in your adult live. Living in a fast paced society might not help us to live our parents dream, but by over extending our capabilities and strengths we have come really close to mirroring our parent’s lives, and expectations. As the advice my Mum gave me, when I was migrating to Canada, fourteen years ago. " We are not rich with money, but we do have lots of respect, remember, you are an Ambassador to Dr. Daniels name". I think I am doing fine, (apart from a few speeding tickets) because, when I dream and see Daddy he is still laughing in my dreams because he is proud about how his proud about how his princesses turned out.
Dada will forever be my number one man in my life.