They said he died of a heart attack; he think it was probably his alcohol addiction that killed him.
Even before his mum died he was boozing heavily and when she passed away it only got worse.
Things got tough at home. While they were both grieving for the loss he took out his grievance on his son. In his drunken stupors he would hit him again and again, swearing and yelling.
When the abuse became too much he was taken away. He was only fifteen.
Fifteen years later after living in a succession of foster homes, growing up without a mum or dad, marrying and starting his own family he is back home again ; only this time to bury his father.
He didnt know why he turned up at his funeral, probably because his aunt, his sister wouldn’t take no for an answer. It really was pointless; he didn’t like him
It was a solemn ceremony. The church was half full as we didn’t have that many relatives. I was surprised any of them bothered to turn up. I suppose they came to make sure he was really dead.
He didn’t stand up to say anything – there wasn’t anything to say – as far as he was concerned he was just a drunk abusive father.
It was a short drive from the hospital to the house.
His aunt opened the front door and they went in. In his final months she had become his carer.
Everything was as he still remembered it; the same old furniture and smell of alcohol.
Things had been wrapped up and packed into boxes; his aunt said she was giving his things away to charity. I had no objection.
As she went into the kitchen to put on the kettle he made his way upstairs to his old room.
“ you wouldn’t go up there …”, she shouted after him,”…I haven’t put anything away yet”
He ignored her.
He pushed the door open. He had left in a hurry all those years ago and his bed was just as he left it; the bed covers scattered on bed, his PJs on the floor. Even his bedtime story book was still under his pillow.
All his football and rapstar posters, now faded, where still where he had hung them up and his toys were still scattered on the floor, where he left them.
On his small study table by the window was a pile of neatly wrapped presents and a stack of sealed envelopes. I counted fifteen birthday presents and fifteen Christmas presents. One for each year I wasn’t home.
I opened the sealed envelopes. There were fifteen birthday cards and fifteen Christmas cards. Again one for each year I wasn’t home.
Tears rolled off in his eyes.
“He thought you were coming back…he might have been a drunk and abusive father…”, said his aunt, standing in the doorway,”…but he did love you dearly. He just didn’t know how to show it after your mum died”
Kogwuonye patrick onyeka