When I think of childhood, I think of two faces hovering over me as they tucked me in bed. I remember their musical laughter and the joy in their eyes. Ours was a beautiful home; and Daddy was the centre of our world. He worked hard to make us comfortable, and everything was just ﬁne; until that sting that unsettled our lives. They say life is no fairy tale, but forgot to add that for some (pause) the pain/ might come/ a little earlier.
It was the darkest moment of my life. I was young and helpless. I stared in confusion as life dealt my family a fatal blow… The laughter was gone, and in its place was the after-taste of a sour dream. It is a story of loss, pain and trauma. This is the story of a childhood I never had.
The year was 1997. My father had gone missing, and for thirty agonizing days, we checked police stations and mortuaries, but he was nowhere in sight. Finally, news came as to his whereabouts but by the time we saw him, his condition was irreversible. He had suffered his ﬁrst stroke attack, and for ﬁve days, he was left for dead at the Ikorodu Express Way. Found by an angel of mercy, he taken to a trado-religious center where his condition worsened for the next 25 days. It was in this half-dead state we found my father.
He depended on us for everything, and like a child, we bathed, fed and saw to all his needs. Nothing hurts a man’s ego more than having to depend on others for the barest essentials of life. Fifteen long years struggled on his lips (show a man having difﬁculty talking), and sometimes, all he could do by himself was cry. It was a heart wrenching sight. Tears came in a heavy down pour, and as we wiped his, ours ﬂowed freely.
Life was gradually ebbing out of him; with no breadwinner, my mother worked extra hours to provide for the family. Money came in trickles. I started a phone call business; and with an uncle’s support, we were able to afford his medications and check-ups. But help had come too late. Fifteen years after, my father died, with his dreams and aspirations cut at the prime of his life. (Sighs) My blood curdles just remembering this. But time passed and pain turned to memory… I share this story today with pain in my heart; for words unsaid; dreams and goals left to rust.
But with the beneﬁt of hindsight, I know there are things we could’ve done otherwise while we could. And I’ll have no rest until I contribute my bit to help people with this condition. Today, Hope for Stroke International Foundation stands in solidarity with stroke victims. To share in their burden, offer a shoulder to those in distress. Today, we dare to stretch a helping hand those in need of it.
CEO, Hope for Stroke International Foundation