I had imagined today differently.

I didn’t plan for a pandemic or to be stuck in quarantine. I had planned to be back in Benin City after such a long absence. I had imagined a celebration of my father’s life and times. I have now learned after 10 years that things don’t always go as planned.

I didn’t even know 10 years ago that my father had died after surgery until the next morning when my mother called me crying. It didn’t hit me fully until after the burial and I was back home in Lagos alone and playing songs my father liked while alive. That was when I cried for the first time and many times again afterward.

I felt an emptiness I had not known before. The emptiness I felt when I looked at my phone and the entry for my father’s number and I knew I could never hear his voice again when I called.

I cried again when my son was born and I was asked to name him. I named him after my father. I realized that fatherhood was a journey that I had to learn by myself.

The emptiness is gone now. Life has been full of surprises and twists. This has been the decade of my life with the most changes. There are no more tears but laughter.

We still miss you Dad.

Michael Nosa Asemota (Dad, Grandpa).

March 2, 1942 — May 25, 2011