… Have you ever looked back and see how far you’ve come? From that first loss, first heartbreak, the first grieving moment… and you ask yourself, how have I managed to reach this far? Pick up the pieces and step up here? How did it happen? How did I pass through that road? Trust me, It’s a Testimony!
My first heartbreaking point was when I lost my father in a car crash. He was not always there for me, because my mom was just the other woman, so he had his own first family to take care of. I know, if he had the power to defeat his situation, to make things right, to balance the mess he was in between his first wife and my mom, he would have loved to take care of me 24\7 of his days. The struggle that was between him and these two women, was none of my business, and he fully worked on that, because throughout all of the memories, I can remember, in his on and off visits, I had a good father, a best friend, a man who showed me so much love, my love, and my world. He was an amazing, remarkable and involved super Dad, Too busy most of the time, he was an engineer, but was always available. My mother told me days later after his burial about his death, about the funeral we didn’t attend, I was angry, I cried and screamed at her and I told her, “My father is not dead!” Throughout the years, I chose to believe that he is not gone, that he and my mom had an argument and he will come back. Every single day, I waited for his visit. My father never came. Whenever, a car similar to his pass by our place, I would interestingly watch, wait for my groceries and toys, I kept looking, I kept waiting, years passed… During his last visit, he promised me that, he will give mom some money for my birthday party because at that time, my best childhood friend Lilian, our opposite neighbor by then, had a small birthday party. I told Dad about it and that I want to have mine too, and he promised; “You will have it, Baby”. From that moment on, Dad didn’t come back, and as years passed I started feeling regretful, that perhaps I asked too much from him. 5 years later, My mother died too, and this moment was when reality explodes! I understood that Dad is not coming back and neither is mom …while going through my mother’s belongings. I found the legal papers between my father’s place of work and my mom, concerning me and it was too much for me as a child to take, so I burned the papers and copied the information I wanted… The information that led me to find out the road back to my father.
Mourning my parent’s death was a painful, traumatic and tragic experience I have experienced in my entire life, but my Father’s death was the most hurtful and tragic because I have grieved in silence for too long, with so many questions, yet no answers. How could a man, who stopped by more constantly, packed his car, and cuddle, hold me, simply disappear like that, and his company refused to recognize me as his child with all the proof including birth certificate because I was from the other woman? I grieved for over 20 years for my father and kept searching the possible names I thought of would link me close to him, I found myself in a place as my Dad never existed. I prayed day-to-day, “Lord! Give me a sign!” Connect me to my father, for one final time. Until, this other one blessed day, after years of searching, I finally united with one of his best friends and weeks later my elder sister on Facebook. And, that day, when my sister received my first phone call, she was crossing a road opposite a shop named “Nathaniel” in Limbe, Blantyre, Malawi. Nathaniel! My Father’s First Name! What a coincidence!”
Months later, I asked my Maternal grandmother, Aunties, and Uncles for their permission to visit my father’s home. With their blessings, I finally visited my sister, whom we traveled together to see my father’s grave, for the first time in my life. This is the day, I found out my Dad named me after his Aunt, whom he was so fond and close with. This is the day, I met my father’s siblings, My cousins, and My people. This is the day I spent a night in a house my Dad grew up in childhood days, the day I heard so much about my father; My sister was surprised when she saw me using my inhaler, and she was like; “Aaah so you took asthma from your father?” And she told me, by the time of his death, Dad was divorced and we all laughed jokingly, like what; “crime did our mothers commit?” We shared so much about our childhood days, but in everything, we appreciated and cherished our father’s courage, love, attention, and kindness for his children. I also found out from my uncles and Aunties that I was a part of my father’s will, that; they searched and looked for me, and didn’t find me. “I was confused because detailed papers I burned, mom tried her part too but she failed, I chose to understand and forgive the barrier that might have existed. All were in the past. What mattered to me was I finally saw my Nathaniel final resting place. Sadly, It turned out it was hard for them to find me because after Dad died, my mother changed my surname to her maiden name. I don’t blame Mom, I don’t understand the pain she felt, And if I was in her shoes, I would have taken the same decisions she made too. Mom wanted me to belong in a family where I would have felt wanted, And being the other woman; without my father; she just didn’t know how she could fit me in the other side of his family” And, This particular day, when I visited my father’s final home, I found out everyone remembered me as his little girl, I was well known and my appearance didn’t come as a surprise at all in the family. They all knew me. I was their very own, their blood. The day, I finally left my father’s home, I felt the relaxation, enjoyment, and peace within me. I was no longer hurting. I was relieved and healed. My sorrow, my suffering, my pain, my shame of being labeled as a nobody’s daughter was gone, and my grief was over. Finally, Dad and I had a proper connection and a proper goodbye. Goodbye, we both waited for 20 years, and for the first time in my life in the year 2018, I had my first birthday party. It was a dinner function, and it was super great!
The day after I was driving back home, during my trip, I passed by the filling station, and, when I was driving out, my friend Joana who escorted me during this trip, heard someone calling my name. We stopped by and there was my former coworker Virginia with her child. We gave them a 300kms lift because she and her baby were also traveling to our destination. During our chat, I found out her Child’s name is Nathaniel. Me and Joana, was like “What?!!!” and after we arrived in Lilongwe, we stopped by a mall to buy drinks, and as we were coming out from the supermarket, this child bumped at my friend Joana, and we just heard “Nathaniel, haven’t I told you to look where you are going?” The mother was mad and lifted the Boy, I went to her, and said, “Mom, it was our fault, may I say sorry?” So I gave Nathaniel a high five shake, and told him, “We are friends” So we gave each other a big smile too. That evening, when I got home, I cried for the last time, this time, tears of Joy because meeting two Nathaniel’s in one single day, on my way from visiting Nathaniel’s final resting place, was no coincidence to me. It was all God’s Grace for the moment, assuring me that “My Daughter, your Nathaniel has seen you and he is pleased.” After 20 years, I finally stopped grieving for my father and started celebrating his life. From that moment on, I became free and finally got all the answers I was looking for. I feel blessed to live fully every day knowing, I am alive in a vast world surrounded by so much love, that nobody in any part of the world should interpret people like me as a nobody. I have God as my father and I have Nathaniel as a part of me. Eventually, I feel my father’s existence and it lives in me daily, and his family is now a part of me too.
I have gone through so much, especially in my teenage years, sometimes insults from because I wasn’t born from a proper Godly home. Sometimes, my identity was not well known, because my father didn’t exist. And, I know am not alone, there are so many children out there, who are neglected because of these circumstances. Children do not choose their parents, We are bonded with them from their choices and God’s Grace. It kills me, to see parents so capable to raise their children together, failing to. Yes! Relationships fail, but no child, “When death is not a reason” should go through the pain of not knowing a parent’s love. In a sense of separation, divorce, it’s not a child’s fault. A child is an innocent soul who suffers in silence, and I pray one day, the world will understand and give these little ones a chance to share their voices in cases like this. In my case, my father in his mistakes did not deny me nor his responsibility as a father. He gave me a name, an identity, something I automatically lost after his death. I was young, without a voice. And, I allowed myself to grieve for him for 20 years. No one should determine your grieving period. We all have so many reasons why we grieve over the loss of someone and it is okay. There’s no time limit. No pain is ever the same. Sometimes, we just have to grieve in faith and let God do the rest, just as he did in my case. I never wanted to be here in my 30s without my father, it wasn’t my making, but even though if my father was here, I wouldn’t blame him for his life choices, because the first thing I would have loved is to see him a happy man living a fulfilled life. It was a mistake. I was his mess. But I was his beautiful mess and he was never ashamed of me. He treated me the same way he treated my siblings. I wasn’t just lucky to wake up daily and get his Good morning kiss as the others did. But the love, he gave from all that I remember, is a love to last me for a lifetime, and I can’t trade it for anything.
This is my story about me and Nathaniel. The Full Story of the life with my father is in my memoir I’m hoping to publish by the end year 2022, God willing. Grace for each moment, This is to Nathaniel! My love, My father. My Guardian Angel in heaven, My heartbeat. And to that someone who has experienced something similar to this story. There is always a small miracle in the darkest places. We call it grace. I searched for my father and I found him. #IcarryhisDNA# #Itiswell# #Imhislastdaughter# #Helivesinme# ~Anih