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Parental Loss – Reflections on My Dad’s Death

Dad promised to come and see me, but he never did.

This will probably be one of my most poignant posts, but it has been a long time coming. Finally, after sharing my story and the tough lessons learned with a few people, who were so encouraged, I was reminded that it was time.

I’m blessed with the very best family who loves God wholeheartedly. I tell people my mum married the best man on earth who loved her so much, he always wanted to be by her side at every moment. They cooked together, watched TV together, prayed together, and did everything together.

Mum and dad gave my siblings and me the best, from attending the best private schools to having the best family time together. As a young child, I always knew what a fatherly and motherly role should be like because I grew up seeing both my parents parenting us with so much love -there was so much love in our family.

I recall one of my fondest memories, where my dad and mum would rotate days of taking me to their work, to spend some time with them and to see what their daily work lives were like.

Dad was always so proud to show my siblings and me off to his colleagues. We always felt so special! My mum’s career was in the medical field, so I was privileged to go to the theatre at a young age to experience what it was like.

Her colleagues, who were medical doctors in different specialties, loved having me around (I was a bit talkative as a child). My mum moved to the UK for work in 2006, two years before I finished secondary school. I remember telling my dad and mum that I would like to join my mum after secondary school, which was fine.

I was the only girl, and whilst my two older brothers were at university, I was in secondary, which was a boarding school. My dad’s career was really demanding at the time when I finished secondary school.

We only got to see him on weekends due to the nature of his governmental assignments, which was making him travel a lot. My brothers were busy with their studies as well, hence why my parents thought it was best to send me off to live with my mum to further my education.

I was 17 years old when I travelled to join my mum abroad, and I was so excited to see her after so many years. However, it was also a bittersweet moment, as I was also leaving my brothers and my dad. They all assured me they would come around to visit us soon. So my dad and my brothers drove me to the airport.

Little did I know that was going to be the last time I would ever see my dad.

I was still so young, I thought my dad would always be here. I knew nothing about death or even life. Why would I?! I had everything a child would always desire, the best family and parents who always got everything she wanted from them.

 

Montage of old pictures of a happy black African couple. Graduation, outdoor, African Attire, at a clebreation. Parental Loss - Reflections on My Dad's Death

Mum relocated back to join my dad in 2011, and I remained in the UK to continue my education.

On the 19th of May 2017, my world changed forever, and till today, the month of May remains the least favourable for me. On the Friday morning of this day, I was at work. I got a missed call from my cousin (everyone calls us twins).

She had just recently got married the week before, so she was calling to catch up. Before that morning, I rang everyone’s phone, my brothers, my dad, and my mum but no one picked up. On a typical day, I would’ve thought to myself, “well, I guess they would call me back when they are less busy”.

But for some strange reason (which I still can’t explain), I started to panic and my body began to shake. I returned my cousin’s call to ask when she last spoke with my mum. She mentioned that the last she spoke with my mum was at her wedding thanksgiving, which was five days prior.

I asked her to please reach out to my mum or ask her mum (my mum’s sister) to call my mum as soon as possible. My cousin asked me what was wrong, but I didn’t have a reasonable explanation and simply asked her to please try to contact my mum.

I still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I had no reason to suddenly act so anxious, but something in me was just acting weird. I wasn’t settled inside of me!

My cousin called me back and told me she couldn’t get through to her parents. At this point, my heart felt like it was going to drop. But bear in mind, I was in a panic for no reason. The last time I spoke with my parents and my siblings, everyone was okay and sounded fine. So why the sudden panic? I couldn’t explain.

About an hour later, I received 2 missed calls from my aunt and uncle (they also served as my guardians, as my parents always called them to ensure I was okay). As soon as I saw their missed calls, I spoke with my line manager to inform him I wasn’t feeling too good and that I needed to go home.

As I stepped out of my workplace, I called my aunty back to ask if she was okay, and she asked where I was. I told her I wasn’t feeling too well and that I had just left work now to go home. She replied that she was with my uncle and she would need me to come and see her urgently.

I remember her voice shaking even whilst she was talking to me. She probably didn’t know what to say, she said “I think something might have happened, please come.” I asked her what it was, and she said, “when you get here, we’ll talk about it.”

As I made my way to her house, I tried to ring my brother back again, and he picked me up this time. Instantly I began to cry and asked him, how is my mum? He smiled “don’t worry, mum is fine.” I then asked, how is my dad? At this point, I don’t think he knew what to say because his voice started shaking, but his response was,

“dad is here, don’t worry, he’s going to be fine; the pastors are also here, andwe are all praying.”

I could hear a lot of voices in the background, so I couldn’t place what was going on there. I asked him again what happened to my dad? He said, “Don’t worry Temi, just try to get to aunties’ place, dad will be fine. We all are praying.”

After I spoke with my brother, I called my cousin again and asked her if she heard anything, and why she called me before. She insisted that it was nothing and that she just wanted to catch up with me. So, I told her to please try everything she could to get through to her mum and ask her to please go to my parent’s house.

I told her: “I think something has happened to my dad” but she was so clueless about what was going on. Although at this point, she probably thought I was crazy, she started to calm me down telling me that I shouldn’t worry; everyone is fine. She saw my parents and my siblings just a few days ago.

On getting to my aunties’ house, I saw my uncle’s face as he came to hug me – the hug seemed a little different from the usual “hello hug”. I sat down, and my uncle began to preach a sermon. I guess he probably didn’t know how to go about telling me my dad had died.

My Aunty was next to me as my uncle broke the news to me, “Mr Micah Olatunde Dosunmu-Taiwo is dead.” Dad died following a brief illness the we believed he was recovering from.

My stomach churned. I visited the toilet about five times within 5-10 minutes. I didn’t know how to feel. I was shattered into thousands of pieces. At the same time, all kinds of thoughts, questions, and emotions were running through my mind. I suddenly remembered the last time I spoke with my dad a week before.

I remember how our conversation went: “Dad, I’m not happy with you. I called to speak to mum.” He replied, “these days it’s your mum you always call to speak to. No problem, your mum is here, but I’m always here ‘sha’. When you’re ready to speak to me, I’m here.

Let me give the phone to your mum” – that was the last conversation I had with my loving father. All kinds of regrets and anger went through my soul at that moment. I became so angry at myself, and I never forgave myself for the longest time.

I cried out, “I didn’t mean it, daddy, please I just want to hear your voice again.”

Black heritage senior man in an traditional African attire with a red cap in his left hand. Parental Loss - Reflections on My Dad's Death

I became angry at God because that was not the agreement He made with me. I had so many questions, but I was too angry to ask, so I told God, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I was so angry I didn’t get the opportunity to see my dad.

My aunty consoled me and cried with me for the longest time. Finally, I picked up my phone and called my brother. I told my brother to give the phone to my mum. I wanted to speak to her.

I spoke with her and asked how she was, she told me she was fine and more worried about me. But, unfortunately, she had so many people around her, so we didn’t get to speak for long.

In the following days, friends and family called and tried to visit me, but I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to speak to or see anyone, so I told them, “I appreciate your kind gesture, but I just want some space to be left alone.”

I started to ignore phone calls. The only people I wanted to speak to were my mum and my brothers. The after-effects of losing my dad made me so afraid and anxious. I became so fearful and worried that when I would see a phone call from my brother, my mum, my aunt or uncle, I would literally panic and ask them, is everybody okay?! That fear went on for so many years.

I’m not sure how my mum dealt with losing her beloved. They were so close, they were best friends, and they always did everything together. Despite his busy work schedule, they always found the time to enjoy each other’s company in the simplest of ways. He was always so supportive of her dreams and always interested in her everyday work encounters.

She happened to be the strongest person amongst us. My brother had his own moments where he believed my dad was still alive. A few days after his funeral, my brother still believed the same way Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, on the fourth day, was the same way my dad would be raised too.

My mum got worried about that, but I had so much faith along with my brother that I would see my dad raised back to life on the fourth day. We all had crazy faith for a miracle to happen, at least for the very first time in my life, that was the craziest faith I had.

I was hoping I would hear that my dad is alive. He’s not dead. But I know I’m going to see him again and shower him with kisses all over his face and that gave me hope but that never happened. I believe we will now meet on the other side of eternity. Until then, my siblings and I will continue to be a support system for each other, and for our mum.

I never saw life the same way as before. I was so hurt I didn’t get to see him. I would’ve been more grateful to God if I got the opportunity to spend my last moments with my dad. I always told my brothers how lucky they were to have experienced that moment with him.

People say you don’t get angry at God or that you don’t question God; but I did everything! I told God, “I don’t want to speak to you!” I had so many questions. I told Him He broke my heart, and He cut it deep.

Days and months went by. I just wanted my dad to feel and know I didn’t mean what I said to him the last time we spoke. I just wanted him to know it was just a little love fight we usually have between father and daughter. He told me he would always be here when I was ready to talk to him.

It broke my heart so much, and I spoke to him in the best way I could. I guess that’s where my healing began. I went through the journey to forgive myself and know my dad knew I was just being childlike in our last conversation.

I felt like he comforted me with a hug, and I can’t explain how that would have happened but I felt it, and It made me smile and I could sense my dad smiling back at me.

My dad made me understand the true meaning of love. He set a good standard for true love, and he was a very good man with the purest heart. A man who enjoyed walks with all his children and dealing with challenges in the best manner.

He had crazy faith, and his smile could light up any room. He loved it so much and he was a people person. I love him so deeply and I will always cherish the love and memories I shared with him. I know that God truly gained an angel.

Love you Dad

Temitayo Taiwo

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