When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
For some reason, I find this rather pertinent to how you passed, Dad. It’s too early after your departure for me to be saying anything at all but I’ll say this. They are Grief’s first words.
In the midst of your last breath, half the world waited, suspended in anticipation, for the right moment to safely glimpse or capture the Solar Eclipse of 2017. I remember that in the days prior to this grand event, I had fancied doing the same but alas, to my (well, pseudo-) grief, I discovered that my geographical location just would not allow it.
But never, in my excitement, did I imagine that there would be something happening at the same time that would surpass this Celestial Dance in terms of sheer world-rocking value.
In terms of Glory engendered.
Never did I imagine that I would come to view the Shadowy Moon’s brief concealment of the Gaudy Sun as the Permanent Dimming of Your Light. As Death’s Catch-up with You. You, who left a blazing trail of shining achievements for a Legacy.
You, who, as a high school student, could be excused from most misbehaviour due not merely to your stealth but also to your reputed brilliance.
You, who, as a Soccer Player for the national team, made a name for himself in spite of a better athlete for an older brother.
You, who, as a Lawyer, was much appreciated by a twice-elected, highly-storied Prime Minister for your “straightforward” advice.
You, who used to blow ten thousand bucks in one night like it was nothing (and for a time, it seemed like it really wasn’t).
You, who took care not only of a family of six but what seemed like, nay was an entire tribe (cos’ Trobriand Island culture is just traditional like that and you had to fulfil your obligations as the son of an Ol’ Chieftain).
You, who at 44 triumphed over oral cancer, Death’s first major attempt to deprive you of your Biophilic Buoyancy. (Life, upon seeing your bouncebackability—fun word, huh?— rewarded you with 10 more years).
You, who, despite your initial qualms, tried your hand at sending a child to school for an entire year in America, a country who was aeons ahead of ours not just educationally and economically but also developmentally. (I know very well how big of a sacrifice that was. How much it cost you).
You, who died without any immediate family around and more, without your money and therefore your dignity. (I know you cared deeply about your unusual pennilessness these last couple of months but please know that I didn’t. Know that I knew collection of funds were, in this corruption-riddled nation, unbecomingly “bureaucratically” delayed).
You, my Imperfect Father, who, regardless of your flaws—or perhaps because of them—could be credited with much of who I am.
Never did I imagine that everyone’s thrill at the Brief Darkness would become my lament over an Enduring Starlessness.
I really do love You.
I can only hope I’ve inherited, absorbed and preserved enough of Your Light to continue Its Glorious Luminescence.
*Tamagu, in my traditional dialect, means “Father.”