Editor's Note: Stephen (@ArroYomi on Twitter) recently lost his father to a heart condition. Through this tribute he joins his voice in raising awareness of the need for more education, prevention, and management of non-communicable diseases. We are grateful that he shared with us, and we hope it moves you like it has moved us.
“Buddy” that was what you nicknamed me from childhood. It means friend, pal or compatriot. I think about the name now that I have to write a tribute to my departed father, brother and friend. Growing up under your guidance, you never stopped teaching me about life, living, education, relationships, cooking, everything. You were friends with everyone around you from the old to the young.
As a kid, my father was always around to give me so much care and attention. At that time I felt it was not necessary, other times I felt it was too much. In retrospect, I think it wasn’t enough. All of my friends who knew you had a different perspective of what a father should be. You always told us how lucky we were to have you around but I never knew the implication of that till now. You cared for your own the way a chicken huddles its chicks under its feathers. You were my care buddy.
When we talked on the phone, it always had the makings of two friends separated by time and space trying to catch up. We talked about everything, we texted each other regularly, we missed each other mutually, and we loved one another dearly. Although we never said it, we knew it. You were my phone buddy. You lived an upright life, a part of your personality that was never up for compromise or discussion. A legacy you instilled in your family, a legacy we would not forget in such a hurry. We were not born with silver spoons wrapped around our necks but you made sure that the lives we lived and our future paths were worth more than silver spoons. You were my upright buddy.
We always watched football matches together, during the 2014 world cup we colonised the TV, leaving mum no other option than to watch with us and forfeit Africa Magic movie station. We always watched the champions league matches together discussing footballer wages and skills. My father always teased me about my football skills although I know I am better than him at playing football but he never subscribed to that. You were my football buddy.
The wisdom my father exhibited was enviable. Literally, he was the wisest man I knew, he knew almost everything. These days, I cannot dish out advisory comments to my friends without referring to something my father told me. You schooled me on so many things about life while growing up which never made sense to me until they manifested and then I remember your words. Your words are like an onion bulb, so many layers that take time and experience to understand. My father always counselled me on ideas, decisions and life. His counsel was priceless, he sees your situations through your eyes and gives the most concise advice. He was what you needed him to be in order to get through a situation: a teacher, lawyer, engineer, accountant, mathematician, politician, poet, writer, newspaper commentator, an editor, study partner, relationship counsellor, pastor, conflict resolver, activist, gastronome etc. He was my wise buddy.
It is only sad that your grandchildren were not old enough to appreciate the exceptional qualities of their granddad. I always thank God that we spent so much time together and I will always celebrate your life here on earth. It’s just a shame we have to part but I guess that is inevitable.
About the Author: I am Stephen Arogundade, I am a Nigerian postgraduate student in the UK, an engineer by profession (I don’t know what else I could have been if I wasn’t one). I hope to build a career that will leave the world a better place than I met it. Growing up in a humble background taught me quite a lot. A humble background means different things to different people, I won’t go into graphic details of mine. I have 4 wonderful siblings, a super strong mother and a wise father. Although he is deceased now, I still hear his voice in my head the same way I read the books he asked me to purchase for him just before he passed on.In the coming months, I hope to work with NGOs to give back to the society that I live in.
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