This post was inspired by a series started by fellow blogger, Sinawo Bukani, who has set out to post a letter of gratitude to the people who have contributed immensely to the woman she is today. I couldn’t help but think of my dad, whom I lost 5 years ago, when I came across a letter she dedicated to her uncle. The image of the black man has been damaged so much lately and I think it’s our responsibility as African women to uplift and support these men, despite the flaws and scars they come with.
Dear Lennox Sibusisio Msomi
You are my Dad and my first love. Thank you for naming me “Noluthando” – which means, the one with love. Thank you for enabling me to know the real meaning of love, through the affection, time and nurturing you gave me. You were the hands-on father that many black men aren’t. We were always side by side, they say. I was the girl that cried for her Daddy and not her Mommy. I treasure so many things, like the times you would fetch us from school on a Friday and take us back to work with you – funny thing, I now live 2 minutes away from your old workplace, so I think of you often and get to be reminded of those wonderful times.
You had your faults and got caught up in the wrong mix, as an alcoholic and abusive husband. I secretly judged you and couldn’t understand why you couldn’t just “pull yourself together for your children”. That was until I became a parent myself and saw how tough “adulting” can be. Life can really knock you down if you don’t seek help for the inner vulnerabilities you carry… you had so many. I wish you could have reached out to someone. I appreciate your honesty and openness, even though I was only 10 years old, you were able to tell me about your divorce with mom and you took accountability for your part. You consistently left the communication lines open and that’s why you also didn’t judge me when I made mistakes. Thank you for offering the most supportive words when I was 21 and pregnant. Everyone else had emphasised the fear and shame, and you chose love and acceptance.
I wish I would have analysed those last few words deeper… “I’d like to have a small family lunch for my birthday, if I’m still around by then”. I didn’t know that you would leave us just 3 weeks later. I would have thrown you the biggest party I could afford. You spent your last birthday in hospital – I’m so grateful that I could be there to see your smile when I gave you those new pyjamas. I wish you could force me into ironing one more shirt for you, I hated it, but how I would love to iron millions of shirts for you now.
I have so much more to say and thank you for. I am grateful that you had the opportunity to meet my son and know him for almost two years. I am most grateful that you showed me what the real meaning of love is and that it’s not perfect. Thank you for teaching me that there is no shame to owning up to your mistakes. I know that you’re happy and proud of me – I want you to know that I’m happy and proud of you too. Thank you for shaping me into the woman I am today.
With Love, from your Little Love – Noluthando
Thank you for inspiring this post Sinawo – this is my most emotional blog post to date. Each time I write about my Father, I get more healing.
Please visit her blog, it’s awesome!
Modern Zulu Mom