I know this won’t heal the wounds, but allow me to help you fit in their shoes. because we keep on blaming them and rebuking them. lets take a minute to understand them. These are my two cents to you. Like Mark Maish, am sure most of us have gone through this.
I know this has been no walk in the park for us. You know, you, me, mum and your siblings. I cant even try to start and explain myself. I know sorry isn’t enough. And I am not even sure if I will be able to forgive myself. Though I do hope and pray that you be able to forgive me for your heart to be at peace. If I could change the hands of time and go back and take back all the nasty comments and insults I hurled at you, your mum and siblings I would. I am sorry for being irresponsible and always resorting to the bar. If it makes you feel any better, I wasn’t always like this. I have ever been a hardworking handsome young man who loved Christ. I was once the man your mum fell in love with. The man she dedicated her whole life too. The man who helped her through college until she completed her education despite giving her children. I was once the man who took up the responsibility of his kids. While your mother was in college I worked for my family. I did odd jobs and worked too hard for my body to handle. But I never complained. I had to pay your mum’s fees, you and your siblings had just started pre-school and there was rent to pay. I know you remember we didn’t have much. But the little we had wasn’t handed over to us either. Life wasn’t a bed of roses then but neither was it a carpet of thorns. There was love and understanding. Mum did her end of the bargain. Finished school and passed well. But my child, this country hasn’t changed much. We did not know anyone who knew anyone.Maybe your uncle that works in the government ministry, though like you know him, he believes people who don’t have money are just lazy thus his help was seldom sought unless you are prepared to be on a tight short leash on him. So we had to settle for our small businesses and search for ends meet together. At some point it got tough, the debts we had incurred, public school wasn’t free then and business was starting to go down. It was atrocious. But you know how life is, its never so bad that it can’t get any worse. That is when we had to send you kids back to shosho’s place. You remember that time now, don’t you? You received your pre-school education there. Your mum and I never gave up. We decided to establish ourselves to at least create a family environment. You remember when we told you kids we once lived in a single room mabati house while you were in shagz? It was this time. We were still in the mitumba business. I hassled for bales of mitumbas while your mother did the distribution of clothes and selling them on the small kibanda we had secured. We managed well. We were a good team. After some good time, we got back on our feet and were able to bring you kids home. Life was good. It was lovable. We moved to a two roomed house and enrolled you kids to a public school. We were okay.
Then where did life take a turn of events you ask?
Well, I was not always a good boy I must say, though I did try. So when I was working in the mitumba bales store, greed took the better of me. I tried to counsel myself and say it was for the family but it wasn’t. I desired a good life but I was not willing to stretch the extra mile for it. Therefore I sought the easiest way out, I secured an extra amount of the sales I made for myself and never informed my boss. But you know karma hits back and it hits hard. My wrongs caught up with me. I was fired and my reputation was spoiled therefore I couldn’t seek another job in Gikomba. Trust me child, you never know how small a place is until there’s bad rumours going round about you. And i may have done wrong but not everything that was told about me was true. Your mother didn’t give up on me. She never has. And may the Good Lord bless her for that. Disappointed? Oh she was. Dear Lord she was very disappointed. But she supported me nonetheless. Through her retail business, she gathered a good amount of money and helped set up another business in Nakuru. She saw something in me when no one else did. She still has a good hope for humanity. Long story short, that Nakuru business never worked out. I was repressing all my disappointment and my despair. I was alone there with really no family to talk to and new business wasn’t taking shape. With the pressure from my family, I was breaking out. Your mother took over the household responsibilities and I was forced to now depend on her. I didn’t like it either. Depending on her that is. It made me feel less like a man and the extended family was just worsening my situation by constantly reminding me and telling me that. It was depressing my child. And you know who was there for me always? My jug of hard liquor. Am not defending myself . Am not even proud of it myself. But she was always there. Always full. Never judging me or making me feel like am not man enough. And most important of all, she made me forget all my sorrows. Maybe for a second or two but I forgot them all the same. My Nakuru business capital and all the sales I made went to my hard liquor. I needed her more each day. I enjoyed not having to have to care the least in the world. I mean, your mothers business was doing well, you guys stayed in school most of the time. In fact, she even managed to save enough to buy a plot of land. And here I was asking her for 500kes to pay for my Nakuru rent or another 1000kes for business upkeep though it all went to the bottle. Broke and penniless, she sent me just enough money to come back home. Which I did. With nothing to do I would sit at home all day, read a one week old paper and wait. Waited for her to come home and question about my laziness and how I need to man up and find something to do. Something to do I did find. I searched. I searched all over the house for the pennies and coins. Gathered them together and on good days they were enough for a good’ol spirit. You remember the kind that was packed in paper sachets? Those ones yes. I watched in the evening as you kids got scolded for stealing money you had no idea was even there. But I was still the man in the house. I refused to be robbed of that. Sometimes I graduated from coins to notes. Notes of all values I had no discrimination. And when your mother ever had the guts to ask me I would hurl insults at her and depending on the value of the note a disgraceful beating would follow. Again, I am not the least proud of myself. I am just offering my pair of shoes. This has been going on for a good time. And as you know, good things come to those who love the Lord. She prayed for us. Without ceasing she prayed. She built her house. We moved in there and you kids were already grown up. You understood more. You knew your mother was the bread winner and I was just a drunken slob. You knew she owned everything that was offered to you and me? Just a drunken old slob. And what’s worse to hurt a father with more than that?
I terrified you. It made me feel respected though not loved. I would drink all these sorrows down from as early as ten in the morning. Your mother’s education had now paid off and she got a good employment. And me? Well, just a drunken old slob. This was a new neighbourhood though it didn’t take long before everyone figured that out. Even that bar I went to knew me as the man that was kept by the wife. That is not even half a man I tell you. I regularly got into fights there and if that was not enough brought my anger to your mum. If there was to be a punishment I deserved for being so cruel to a wonderful woman like your mother even I can’t spell it out myself. And you know what’s worse? Even when I threatened to kick her out of her own house(which I did temporarily out of purely selfish reasons), or burn down her business and her house, or worse still when I threatened to kill her and raise you kids by myself(not that I even knew how this was possible. I didn’t really think this one through), she still never gave up on me. It hurt me more than I can express that she loved me just the same. Sometimes i would get drunken silly and beat all you kids up just because I found you up or watching TV. I am sorry but I need you to understand it was never your fault. All the times I recklessly said offensive words to you and never apologized, all the times i beat you up harshly for something petty. It was never your fault. I apologize to the world that you had to grow up that way. I apologize to the people you interact with if you have become a selfish and insensitive person. That is because of how I was to you. Child I want you to know that you don’t have to live with your anger no more. I already live with it too raucously. Let me deal with it. My one prayer now is that you be free. I am sorry that your mother had to deal with me. Don’t carry that luggage, she already does. Dear child, its time that you be free from all the emotional chains I tied you too.
I know I never got to say it, neither did I ever say it, but I love you. All those times I kicked you out all I ever really wanted was a warm tight hug that I was too afraid to ask for. All the times you insulted you all I really wanted was to talk to you like you talked to your mother. I was jealous. And I had to much hatred within myself for myself. I don’t want you to forgive me or to accept me wholeheartedly, I just need you to untie yourself from my hate grip. I also need you to know I love your mother. I know I have had the most uncanny way of showing it but I do. She has the world’s largest and strongest of hearts. My child, never give up on love. Your mother didn’t. She suffered a great deal true. But our past and strong foundation kept her going. Lastly my child, I may have made you suffer all these when you were barely a child. But please, don’t let them define you. Don’t be greedy and selfish like I was in my defense. Don’t be insensitive and ignorant of the people who love you. Lest you suffer endlessly.
Your irresponsible and absentee father.