A sudden event that causes destruction, loss or fear. That’s what an apocalypse is. That’s the perfect description of what my family and I we’re going to go face in the next four hours.
Can you imagine all the secrets your family ever had, the lies, the skeletons, all of it, shoved into one closet then opened infront of the whole world?
Today was my dad’s wake. My dad was an icon. A successful African doctor in a white man’s land. He was everything a Nigerian medical student wanted to be. He had saved a lot of lives and died doing so. After months of treating covid 19 patients, he contacted the virus and finally died. Dr Adetomiwa. He was a hero.
His passing was felt by everyone far and wide. Even before the virus, my dad had saved a lot of lives. A lot of people wanted to honour him by attending his burial but the lockdown won’t permit such a gathering. So I came up with the idea. Have an online burial. When I suggested this, it was because I wanted to make sure my dad had an honourable burial, but it resulted in the exact opposite.
For one week, I reminded my millions of subscribers on YouTube to join us online for my dad’s wake. I wasn’t even surprised when on the day of the wake, over a million people had tuned in to watch it.
All dressed in black, my mum, my younger sister and my younger brother sat in the empty church hall. I felt my mother sigh heavily and turned to look at her, giving her a sad smile which she returned
“I’m proud of you Tobi. All of you. Your dad would have been proud too” she said to my siblings and I. A statement that would soon be untrue. I felt the familiar sting of tears as I have her a tight hug. She needed it.
The priest said the opening prayer and I played a choir procession from my phone. The comments were flooding in
“Forever in our hearts”
“Heaven lost, earth gained”
“Dr. Tomiwa saved my life”
His eulogy was read by my mum and after that, it was time for each of us to say our tributes. As the first born, I made my speech as touching as possible. Leaving out my family and concentrating on his achievements. My younger sister read the speech that I wrote for her and it was finally my younger brothers turn
“Dunsin. It’s time” I handed him his speech but he hesitated before collecting it
“Do I have to?” My eyes widened in surprise “Dunsin, this is not the time nor the place to do this” I said sternly. He sighed and nodded. I didn’t like being angry at Dunsin or my younger sister. We had seen so much of life together that we couldn’t even be angry at each other.
“Dunsin, it’s going to be fine okay? It’s over. It finally over. Just make your speech let’s end this. Just for today Dunsin. One more day” He smiled at me and gave my hand a little squeeze.
I watched him make his way up the altar with his piece of paper. He started
“My dad was a good man. He…” Dunsin paused and looked at us. Me, my mum and my sister. I could see tears gathering in his eyes, then he tore up the paper. What was he going?
“I’m sorry Tobi. I love you, but I can’t do this”
“I’m glad my dad’s dead. He’s wasn’t who you all thought he was”
I turned to my mum. She was crying. I attempted to stand up but she held my hand
“It’s okay Tobi. It’s okay”
Dunsin went on
“My dad was a terrible father. He may have been a good doctor but he was a wicked man. He beat my mum. Everyday. Once he had a stressful day at work, he would beat my mum to a pulp. He killed my twin brother. While beating my mum, my brother tried to separate them and my dad shoved him so hard he broke his spine. My brother wasn’t in any biking accident like you all know. He was killed” Dunsin was crying now, my sister and I were crying too. Our hearts breaking but at the same time relieved. I could see the comments
“What is he saying?”
“I don’t believe this”
“Why won’t they stop him from talking”
“Hewooo. Nigerian children. So ungrateful”
“My dad used to pay my elder sister visits in her room. When my mum confronted him about it, he beat her, broke two of her ribs —“
For almost two hours, my brother said it all. The hell we all had to endure because my dad was a hero to the world but a villain to his own family.
In these few hours, our whole lives came crashing down. An apocalypse. But this was a good one. A chance to build from the ruins. A chance to be free from all the lies we had to live.