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Photo credit:Marjorie Kabatoro Mukiisa

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots.Infact; it is always in proportion. That’s its balance”—OSHO.
Setting the tone, I once read the beautiful words of Sue Monk Kidd, and they read: “The truth, in order to heal we need to tell our stories and have them witnessed…the story itself becomes a vessel that holds up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into meaning.As I told my stories of fear, awakening; struggle and transformation and them received, heard and validated by other women, I found healing. I also needed to hear other women’s stories in order to see and embrace my own. Sometimes another woman’s story becomes amirror that shows me a self that I haven’t seen before. When I listen to her tell it, her experience quickens and clarifies my own. Her conflicts illumine my conflicts. Her resolutions call forth my hope. Her strengths summon my strengths. All of this can happen even when our stories and our Lives are very different”. These are very powerful words…this kind of mindset has offered me the capacity to learn from rather than feel defeated by mistakes and setbacks, nurture relationships and contribute to the welfare of others rather than remain detached and isolated, and to live in concert with my interests and my passions—I have wracked my mind on what to write today, I hope this helps someone out there.

My father, dead as he is, will forever be my hero. He will always be my dad; “my only earthly father”. This was the last time I saw my father alive (July 2015). I didn’t know it was the last time. My father’s death is biggest thunder Strike ever since our mother passed on ten years ago. I begged for lighter shoulders when I learned of his passing. Ever since dad passed on, I have never felt the same and never will I.
Late December last year, 2015 (three months after dad’s death), I received my dad’s last message to me; I have been never so teary:
When I am no longer here, tell Grace that I love (d) him so much. I am aware of what he is going through but I am so tied down
Some weeks ago, I read an article, I think it is the best thing I have read so far that has comforted me wholly (other than the spiritual guidance I have continually got from the holy scripture).I could paraphrase from the article: “most of the times, these lingering questions are large and painful; they are too big for answers, there is no answer that will satisfy or salve

I didn’t get to see my father the last two of his terrible ailing until he went to Heaven (ACTUALLY: Before dad conquered Cancer, I almost died, I became terribly sick for close to three weeks—thank God for the medical  help I got); I was out there (in Luwero)  trying to do some work that I really had to for someone who had done a very great thing for us when we received our bundle of Joy, ShaneAbaho, Jr the 14TH day of June 2014.I had always hoped that my father would get to see his very loved grandson before he passed on but he didn’t—I have never been so troubled(my father had sacrificed a lot when I was very broke to see me do the best for seeing our first Son, his second grandson)It was on the day we paid the last respects to daddy that Shane and dad met physically(Ps: by physical I am only employing a figure of speech and extending my Christian faith that indeed they met then)when they met(Grandpa & Grandson):

Dad and Shane met that day.

There was so much that happened between dad and I that I will forever live to remember; to begin with, he always challenged us (with my sister (2) Viola) to spelling bits of the ‘biggest’ words in the English language (I always emerged winner for the most part, not that Viola is any less smart---[she once wrote an eulogy for dad, I bowed], but because I had put my heart to it).I remember even at University in the writing and study skills class, I always beat my class mates. In this, I knew for sure that it wasn’t really about this as I earlier noted, I wouldn’t have made it through University ‘unbounded’. To this date, I am still learning anew. As I Proclaimed and also in the Parenthood article I blogged here earlier, I Pray for Shane (our son) to be twice as good as I am: I think If dad came back a few years later and found Us more successful than he was,he would feel happy and complete , basically that’s every Parent’s pride.
For so long we moved a long journey—a journey of a long rugged terrain, as we went through school (Glad our dad never gave up on us---the fantastic 4 +1). When I started my HSC, just a year after momma had gone to be with the LORD, that’s when the reality of how much we missed our mother in our lives spoke very loudly. Yes, Life and people at times can blur the last ounce of Hope but there is nothing better than choosing Hope over Fear. The legendary Maya Angelou’s words have often very meaningful, especially the verses from the Poem: STILL I RISE
You may write me down in History
With your bitter, twisted lies
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I have got oil wells
Pumping in my living room

Just like moons and suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes singing high,
Still I rise.

Do you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops?
Weakened by soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Digging my own backyard

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise?
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of History’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that is rooted in pain
I rise
I am a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swearing I bear in the tide

Leaving behind the nights of pain and terror
I rise
Into the day break that is wonderfully clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave
I am the dream and the hope of the slave
I rise
I rise
I rise”
The cruel twist of fate having taken its toll on us ten years ago (when momma passed on, suddenly), my dad was the last person on earth for whom I thought I would do something for as some reward for the journey traveled with him.Again,thunder struck, I didn’t do much in the circumstances. I have never fully eulogized dad and maybe never will but at least,I am happy  to have learned  very vital lessons for the rest of the time I have on earth:

Real empathy: My father taught me that it aint about saying that its gonna be okay even when you are sure it is just some piece of words you are using albeit to not empathize is to create real monsters. When nothing could convince me, his love could convince me, that its gonna be okay. He always understood my plight. My dad understood the number of very limited alternatives I had, as Grace: torn between staying’ and ‘leaving’.
Resilience: Seeing my dad brave through the Cancer pain is a lifetime lesson for me as regards resilience. It was dad’s sickness that redefined resilience for me.Whenever I think through this, I always wish I could say things as though I were saying some simple law of nature, otherwise it leaves me utterly smitten.Honestly,Life has taught me and continues to teach me that resilience is alearned habit.
Gratitude: Basically, real gratitude is what I am talking about (thanksgiving), the reason why I use the words ‘gratitude and ‘thanksgiving’ is that we really need terms for our experience. And we all know from experience that ways through which this gratitude wells ups in our hearts are experiences first. I have grown very conscious of gratitude. My mother (RIP) was so eloquent on instilling a sense of appreciating things as they are to me as a young child. Regarding dad, his sickness and death taught me real gratitude for the things I took for granted---like Life. Life is everything that defines humanity. Very important to remember here, as the legendary David Bowie (RIP) once said; “The truth of course is that there is no journey, we are all arriving and departing at the same time
Above the all, I have learned how ephemeral everything can be when fate seals its hard blow on you. Like I said earlier, it is that point in life when I begged for lighter shoulders after a span of ten years. I pray that I will meet dad later and at least tell him I received his last message to me with a very precise response:
“I understand dad, I love you too”
May his soul rest in eternal Peace. Amen~Grace Abaho, Sr.


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