Remembering Justice John .C. Nwadi…Ten Years After (Part Two)

Two week ago, I brought to you, the story of the amazing Nwadi Family. Theirs is a story of love, bonding, sacrifice, true friendship, commitment, the pain of loss and a scar that has refused to heal even ten years after. Please read till the end. God bless you…

My dad made me have a broader view about life. He made me realize that I don’t have to settle for the wrong men in life. Daddy was the type that held women in high esteem. Yeah. I should actually aspire to have much better men than my dad as friends, as colleagues, even as a future husband. So, we were close. We always talked and he’ll say this is what I will wear to your wedding; this is what I will do when you have your first child; at some point, he would tell us, you do not have to join people to get married. That is not my problem right now. I want you to be happy. He’ll tell us, go for your dreams. You want to attend this workshop? You want to do this Negotiation and Mediation Course? You want to write a movie script? He will support you to get it done and get popular and well known. He wasn’t like a normal dad. He wasn’t like his family or the typical Nimo man. He was just so different and the typical. Sadly, year after year, his death seems like it happened just yesterday and he’s not even here anymore.

I’m sorry, dear. I feel your pain. So, tell me, what do you think would have been different in your life if he didn’t die?
I don’t think much would have been different except that I would have felt much better and much more accomplished. Sometimes, I feel really bad for some people when they lose their family members. I usually try to offer help and also, visit them. When daddy would come to school to see me like in the university, he used to write me letters and when he comes, he will bring things to me.. I’ll tell him there are people having problems in my faculty and that they needed my help. My next door neighbour has this issue and he needed my help. He would go with me to see that he helped me solve those problems. For me, if he was still alive, we would have continued. But he is no more. I have a foundation. I started one in my own name and the other one in his name since November 7th, 2011. It is my dream and aspiration, you know, helping the needy, encouraging people in Arts and Science. I raise money and it just goes back to every other person. Sometimes people just come into the foundation, pay people’s school fees and hospital bills or court cases litigation fees, but they do it in Daddy’s name. So, to me, nothing much would have changed because, we would have just been living our lives and doing what he normally does to help people. However, if truth should be told, the singular thing I know that will not be the same is the trauma that we are going through. Sometimes, it comes like a blow. (Crying). When it happens, my mum is so strong. You know sometimes and it’s like we’re no longer feeling bad and the truth of the matter is that people say time heals all wounds but it hasn’t. It’s a lie. It doesn’t. To me, it wouldn’t have been so bad, the way we’re feeling and grieving but we feel it during Christmas because he used to make it wonderful by throwing Christmas parties and all that. Now, we don’t even have the strength or zeal for parties and sometimes, when we throw parties, we bring people together but the oneness and joy are not there. Something is different. So, in terms of feeling happy or sad or grieving, that’s the only thing that has changed. It has broken us. At times too, we look so happy. We’re smiling but the next minute, it’s different. In all, the family has been very strong when we’re together. A lot of challenges come our way. So, on that aspect, nothing has changed. The family is still together and we have continued with our different aspirations. Yes, it would have really made sense and joy for me if he were around for my Masters Degree Graduation and if he were around for my little successes. Like, I was nominated best Music Composer of one of my songs. I didn’t win, but his presence would have made sense because he always encouraged my Law profession and encouraged my talents. He always believed that you can be versatile. Sometimes, I give speeches on Human Rights and Feminism. I used to do it when he was alive. He has watched some, but I wish he saw me on a bigger scale doing all the things that I was doing. Seeing me talk about gender equality. Seeing me talk about Humanity. You can’t be shouting religion, culture, everyday, quoting verses or saying your umunna did this to you but you have no humanity in you. I would have loved him to see me continue with all the things I was doing in secondary school.

I’ll tell you this, though. I lost my own dad twenty five years ago and it was so devastating for my family and almost broke us up. Today, we finally got closure and no longer grieve for him. We just pray for him and relive the good memories we have. I just want to assure you that with time, you will all heal. Okay?
I hope so. Sometimes, I am strong. You won’t believe it. People tell me I am strong. I coach people on how to cope with grief over a dead loved one or even a divorce. Some people are doing well and sometimes, they are so like ‘wow’, about me. I tell them that it’s not really over for me. I’m also coaching myself and I’m fine. You know, you realize that you’re okay but sometimes, it actually hits you and you just realize that you’re not too strong for yourself and others so you just cry it out. (Still Sobbing). I’m happy that you were able to cope too cuz it’s not easy. I feel bad for my mum because, even her, we have really been through a lot. We buried uncles and aunties on different sides of the family

Miss Ifeoma Nwadi (Fyfy)
It’s been ten years now since you lost your dad. You’re his last daughter. What has it been like for you? How have you been able to cope emotionally and otherwise since his demise?
Well, I would say it’s been really difficult. We grew up as a close knit family. Growing up, I can’t really remember ever staying away from home or from him, apart from maybe, when I was going back to school or maybe when I was spending one or two weeks holiday with family and friends. His death came as a huge shock and it was really difficult to move past his heath and the shock that came with it. I mean, we had the support of our family. I had the support of our aunties and uncles but it was just never really the same. For Instance, we used to go to the village almost every Christmas. So, having to go home for Christmas and having that void, you know seeing his room, his things, his wardrobe or his favourite chair. Having to look through pictures and all that too. It’s been quite difficult. I would tell my friends that you would think that after ten years, that the pain would be bearable or you know what they say about time healing all wounds, that time would have healed the wounds to an extent or made it easier to bear. No. it’s just hasn’t been easy. So, a lot of times I just try to remember the fun times and the amazing things that he did instead of focusing on the void that he left.
Alright, tell me what you think would have been different in your life today were he still alive
Hmmm. I don’t even think if one thing would be enough. He died about the time I had just started working. I think of challenges I face in the work place or challenges I faced when I was trying to start my own business. Having a father around to advise me would have helped. Coming back home to just rest and spend time with him would also have helped. Being together, it would have really been different, even in making the choice of partners in a relationship. I had a close relationship with my dad that I would have been able to talk to him about anything because, really, he was always there to provide. It was really easy to talk to him about things. I never really lacked anything. You know, I was more of daddy’s baby. He was always there always there to protect. Always there to provide. Always there to listen. It was more like I had to grow up ‘to be a man’ to cope with his loss.

You guys have done well ten years after and I’m sure he’s filled with pride where ever he is. So, what prayer do you want to say for him?
I think that my greatest prayer for him is that he continues to rest in peace. I know he is with the angels. He was a very strong Christian. He loves people selflessly and without any restrictions whatsoever. He was a giver and provider and a very amazing person. I know that he’s in heaven with the angels.

So, after today’s Mass of his memorial, how do you feel? Do you think you have closure of some sort? Do you feel better?
Honestly, no. It just felt like I was reliving the funeral rites all over again. Yeah. We all prayed for him to find peace by the graveside but I know I will simply go back to find a way to live with his loss because I didn’t have closure because I feel that there are so many things I want to achieve that I haven’t and so many things I have achieved that he wasn’t a part of. So, maybe I’ll give it 5 years from now.

Thank you so much, dear
You’re welcome.

What has it been like for you these past ten years?
I miss that fatherly touch, of course. I miss his care. I miss the way he commended me when I did the right thing and the way he corrected me when I do the wrong thing. My mum has been wonderful in playing the roles of both father and mother to myself and my siblings, but I still need him.

What has it been like for your mum since you guys lost your dad?
It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes, she just gets moody when she’s alone in her room. I see her hurting and at such times, I just go to stay with her throughout the night. You know they were so close which is why it affects her so badly but she is a strong woman and I know God will keep strengthening her. May his soul continue to rest in peace.

Kenny Nwadi
So, Kenny, you are the last child. How old were you when your dad died?

You are seventeen now. What has it been like for you without your dad in your life?

How has his death affected your life?
It made me lose concentration in my studies.

But it’s been ten years. Don’t you feel better?
I feel just a little bit better.

Everyone is still saddened ten years after. You are the little one who should be comforted and yet they are still grieving. How do you feel about it.
I have to live with it and manage it and try to be happy.

I want you to make a promise to your late father trough this medium and say what you want to be like in the future
Okay, I promise that I will improve better and continue from where he stopped.