21 Jun Father’s Day
By Wairumu Gathungu
There are two days in a year that give me cold chills: my dad’s anniversary in February and Father’s Day in June. My fortitude carries me through numerous things but it fails me terribly on these two occasions. They are a constant reminder of my loss; one that my heart has refused to accept and whose weight my feeble body cannot bear. I’ve started seeing conversations around Father’s Day begin to build up and I am obviously hard hit. It’s coming up and I am already under the weather. I don’t know how Sunday is going to be but I am hoping I will have amassed enough strength to go through the day.
This Sunday, I would have visited his grave. I like to do that sometimes especially when I need to clear my mind or when I want to give him an update on my life. Thanks to the cessation of movement, I won’t be able to. Before his death, we would have a hearty conversation on father’s day which would be followed by an M-pesa message for him to treat himself. Unfortunately, this treat would almost always be a drinking spree where he’d brag to his friends about his daughter who was the financier of this merry. I tried buying him gifts instead of sending him money but he’d not appreciate it as much. I remember buying him an exquisite leather wallet from Ethiopia. When he received it, he called to ask why there was no cash in it. The gift he appreciated most was money because he could spend it as he wished.
Fathers’ Day means different things to different people. For a huge majority, it is a day to celebrate their fathers. Social media platforms will be filled with messages of appreciation accompanied by flashy images of special moments spent together with their fathers. For some, it is a constant reminder of their deep longing for a father’s love. The day reminds them that they were rejected by those who sired them. These are people who grew up without a father or a father figure. Some of them know who their fathers are and have made attempts to reach out to them while for others, it’s a taboo conversation. A conversation that they are either too scared to start or one which their mothers have clearly stated is out of bounds. For some, it is a day they wish did not exist. It is a painful reminder of someone they wish did not exist in their lives. It is a reminder of the abuse they endured or continue to endure in the hands of one mandated with the responsibility of protecting them. It’s a reminder of the scars they attempt to hide from the world because who would believe them? For others, it is a celebration of men who stood up and took responsibility for another man’s child. Men who mended their mothers’ broken hearts and raised a child they didn’t make.
While this day means different things for different people, I hope that we can all go through it with sobriety and sensitivity. Top of Form Bottom of Form