This is not a Eulogy
This is NOT a eulogy.
Writing one somehow substantiates that you are no longer here, and this invariably requires that profound resignation of grief and outpouring that I do not subscribe to. There’s a certain sense of finality that comes with acceptance that I squarely refuse to digest, especially now that memories of you have been converted into fenced and gated treasures.
So no, not a eulogy.
I'm however not particularly proud of my cowardice and imagine you would, with great mirth, expect to proofread my penmanship as you quite enjoyed to do - you being the Shakespearean who “could have been paid by the written word”.
You see, the first thing I learnt about you was that you’re a gentleman. Your demeanour demonstrated what the word meant, way before I heard it mentioned to me by random strangers describing you.
By your candour, I understood that honesty will always be the best policy. You taught me to be content in the truth, and relish the soundness of the sleep that comes with it. Perhaps this is why you snored so loudly in your sleep.
Your patience was legendary. You were the calmness that assesses the hurricane. Cool as a cucumber, chill as a shilling, you were intentional, deliberate and would always choose your words carefully.
Let it be known that you constantly frustrated my journalistic efforts at taking an account of your life, maintaining your absolute and on-brand modesty in the part you have played in your family and community at large. Always seeing beauty in elegant simplicity, this has come to be an inherited trait. You taught me respect for all, but fearlessness in the face of adversity. That in life, I don’t get what I deserve but what I negotiate. To be proud of my heritage and guard my honour at all costs; how to crunch bones with paupers and sip the finest Sauvignon with kings. You often prescribed me caution - this when I got ahead of myself, like Icarus would leap off the mountains with wax-feathered wings.
“Jiliya nwayo. You can’t know it all”, he would say to me, the international know-it-all.
But perhaps your greatest legacy is that you did not teach, but showed love by example. That love that is guided by a singular selfless charity for your fellow man. As a child, I found it irritating that you flung your gates open at Christmas - you extended yourself to all who reached out and sometimes unbeknownst to them, gave the clothes off your back. But to us, you were happy to teach us to fish, than to give the fish - a stock currently more valuable than bitcoin.
We understood how love could be unconditional, relentless and perceived even as weak or foolish - because to you, love should know no bounds, especially with family.
And when I was old enough, I realised my privilege of coming from such a loving home. The simple delight in hearing you and mum casually conversing and laughing in the next room, or on the phone while I’d patiently wait for you two to realise I was still waiting on the line to speak. Never having heard raised voices or unkind words spoken to your spouse and partner, I became aware you had set the bar incredibly high in our romantic expectations and marvelled how after nearly 50 years holding hands and googly eyes, you both made it all seem easy. And this, you often said, was thanks to the grace of God, which you encouraged us to seek at every turn. You said if we beseech God in all things, we will never be disappointed. And when you laid your hands on our heads in prayer every time we departed from you, I knew this grace will follow us for generations to come.
I seek this grace now, as I find myself floundering through waves of emotions that urge me to accept that I do not get to see you anymore. You, the only man for whom we fought to untie his shoelaces after each day at work. You’d like me to believe that I won’t see that mischievous glint in your eyes, or the roar of your laughter echoing through the room? No, I will not offer any goodbyes, or clichéd adieus.
You’ll get no eulogy from me.