Writer of the Week, #WoW, was introduced in March 2018, as a way to acknowledge and celebrate writers who have shown consistency, growth, improvement and interaction with their fan base on the site. Congratulations to this week’s WoW, Simataa Mwabafu for ‘Dear Dad’. Keep writing and you could be next week’s Writer of the Week!

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The love you had for mom amazed me. Through the same love came me and my siblings. I loved seeing the smile on both your faces as you were together. I didn’t understand yet because I was young and naive. I loved the completeness that was there and as a family bonded with the most powerful thing in the universe called love.

I remember mom continuously calling you to the table so that you could eat while you worked on some broken car part. Like how rigid the metals were, you were stubborn and would always say that you were coming. ‘Just a minute’ you would say, as a result you ate cold meals most of the times, but you never minded.

Ever since I was born I enjoyed walking with you, you would put me on your lap and I held the steering wheel as you shifted the gears, stepped on the accelerator and steered the steering wheel. I enjoyed the illusion that I was the one driving. I wanted to be just like you. I inherited most of your genes, enough to look just like you. I grew up watching you do things, we worked together and we ate the cold meals together. I never minded too.

I loved to wait for you and the part of running towards you to welcome you were my favourite. How I would run towards you with my little voice saying the same word, ‘daddy’. You would lift me up with you strong hands and put me on your shoulders – that was my second favourite place to be, after sitting on your lap. I would wait for you to come back home every day.

One day you left and I waited for you to come, but you didn’t show up. I asked mom and she said you were coming. It gave me hope and I waited for you, until days became weeks, weeks became months and months became years. I was older then. I began to perceive things from a different level. I could see the struggle mom faced in order to dress and put food on the table.

Those long hours of working different jobs, we were a nuclear family but it turned into a single parent family. Mom had to let us go live with my aunties and grandparents, hiding us from the view of seeing how she worked in order to make money to raise us up and cater for every basic need.

Her soft hands are now hard and I could see the sadness in her eyes. It brings tears to my eyes every time I touched her hands when I went to see her every December holiday. I would write to Santa to bring back daddy wherever he was, so that maybe mom and my sisters would be happy again, but Santa didn’t give me my present.

I hated myself because I looked just like you. I thought about what mom thinks every time she looks at me – she saw you in me because I did almost everything you did. The thought of it caused me to make a decision to take my own life. I thought I was bringing pain to my mom. She cried at my first attempt, telling me that she loves me. I don’t know how, but she knows my every thought. And nothing hurts me more than seeing my mom cry, so I had to live with your face.

I hated you dad. I hated myself more for being just like you because I thought you went for good and didn’t care about us. Mom told me we didn’t know what you were going through and what was keeping you away from coming back home sooner. There was no way for you to communicate and we only learnt this when we were older.

I learnt of how hard-working you’ve been, trying to make money to feed and cater for every need we faced when you returned. You even lost an eye and a hand ,but still that didn’t pin you to the ground and stopped you from working. Despite your disability you worked.

I’m caught up in a mixture of real and fake. People pretending to: love when they actually hate, to care when they actually don’t, wolves wearing sheep’s skins, which take advantage of your kindness and you die at their paws with razor sharp blades. But I’ve also seen people that turned hate into love, chaos turning into peace, a persecutor becoming disciple and angels turning poison into a cure. I can feel the pain and you yearning to see us and understand that not everything will always go as planned.

I love you dad and welcome you back home.

With love,
Your Son.

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Tell us: How do you feel after reading this heartfelt letter?