‘It wasn’t the time to be strong’

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“May 19th, 2012 2:20 pm. Three gunshots fired right in front of our house and snatched my father from me. He was waiting for my mum in the car outside our house when they shot him. We later found out it was target killing. My siblings and I were fortunate enough to not be there because we had left for our grandmother’s house two hours earlier.

At the time I did not know what had happened. I had a premonition but I didn’t know what it was exactly. Maybe it was God’s will to not let me find out then. Initially I was told that Papa had been in a car accident and he will be fine. I called my uncle and asked him if my father was okay and he said he was totally fine. Then I asked if I could trust him and he said I should trust him completely. That was the first time my trust was broken. I got the news of his demise two hours later at 4:30 pm when a relative patted my head and told me my father was no more.

All I could hear was ‘be strong, be strong’ repeating itself like a chant in my head. But it wasn’t the time to be strong. My legs shivered and I don’t know how I walked up to my house, looked at my mother and told her that Papa was no more. That he had fought bravely and valiantly, but apparently this was a battle he was meant to lose from the beginning. For a long time she couldn’t respond and sat completely still. That night…. It was sleepless. I realized it wasn’t just the death, it was what followed. Mumma had to make a lot of decisions then and there. In the space of a day she saw her husband’s bullet riddled body, received the news of his demise, and had to figure out where he would be buried.
At the funeral, everyone came – from his colleagues to the dhobi. This was our support and our strength – to see what a loved man my father was. He touched hearts everywhere he went.”

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