In the 30 years since I had left Nigeria, I had grown to believe that the longer you stay away from the land of your birth, the more ghost-like you become. With my father’s passing, I finally got the chance to test that theory.
Traveling back under those circumstances has been surreal. I promised myself that I would keep my eyes wide open and my judgment at bay. I have definitely kept my eyes open but I constantly fight a war of attrition with my judgment. Thankfully, today, my higher self is winning. That is, until, I run into something difficult to accept in the bubbling pepperpot of brilliance, corruption, wealth, destitution, mismanagement, delight, highs and lows that I call my homeland Nigeria. By the way, Happy 51st Independence Day, Nigeria.
It has been a marvelous, emotional roller coaster filled with food, people and places I’d forgotten I was missing and stories of an amazing life that I will never stop celebrating. One thing Nigeria will always be is breathtaking. It is breathtaking in its beauty, greenery and blessings. In the same token, it can choke you with it’s pollution, greed and absolute disregard of legacy and humanity but I’ll save that for another blog.
So I am here. Was my theory correct? Am I less ghost-like now that I’ve returned to my land of birth? Well, yes and no.
Being away simply left me incomplete. Not quite a ghost–a woman-in-waiting missing parts the longer I stayed away. I still have no idea what those parts were but it feels different. Yet my years away are an essential part of the woman I am today, something I would not change.
I don’t expect to ever be complete in this life. I am happy for the experiences that expose more of me to…me.
And although I’ve learned to chase regret away as quickly as it descends, I am saddened that I did not see my father before he left us. I connect with him each day as I walk where he walked and sit where he sat. I fill in the parts of his life I missed. Some days he is more of a giant. Others, more human.
He lived life long and fully and left peacefully. For that I am forever grateful.
He is my Daddy. My prism through which the light of life is reflected. His love, energy and legacy remain. Always with me. Thank you for welcoming me home.