Dear Dad

From left to right – back row – P Mateveke with Cecilia,  E Mateveke,  Front :  Sharon Mateveke and Leslie Mateveke. Dec 2001

Dear Dad

Today I celebrate 15 years since you were promoted to glory. I mean I can hardly believe that it has been that long yet it seems only like yesterday that I was told that you have passed on. I will never forget that fateful day in 2002, a week after I had visited you I was at a conference one that you insisted I go to. It was raining around midday. I mean it is not possible for me to enjoy the rain with thunder and lightning without thinking of that day. What followed that is a journey that I am still on and it has not been easy.

You would think after 15 years I have gotten over it and moved on. Smh, I must admit though that I have learnt to live with the pain, we are like friends, each time I think of you the pain comes back all fresh and new and after a few hours we move on together me my pain. I mean my heart was broken and ever since then it has not been mended no matter how hard I try but then you were my dad, wait you still are cos you are not replaceable at all. I have had uncles, mentors and pastors acting as fathers over the past 15 years but the truth is they are not you no matter how they tried, God knows I love them all so much for even trying.

I remember the Monday after the Saturday that you passed on I was supposed to travel to the funeral and I had no idea where to go. I mean it was that bad, I was young and had no idea what life was all about. I remember standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus, the buses came and go but I had no idea how to make them stop. I remember thinking they would just stop but they never did. Thinking back now I just laugh. Thank God, some people came and waived for the bus to stop and I got it after waiting for an hour at the bus station. That day I realised that I was alone and had to grow up very fast. The problem was I had no idea how to grow up because no one was there to tell me what to do and how to do it. You see you were my rock, my father my mentor and my best friend. We had a unique relationship that no one could have ever understood. Life changed fast after that, from being daddy’s little princess to being an orphan with no parent. I realised I must rely on myself, I had no control over my life, all my choices were gone with you.

Today I am writing you this to tell you how much you meant to me, tomorrow I will tell you all about how I coped without you and how I am doing now. I used to take you for granted honestly, I mean I thought you will never leave. I always thought you would stay and live forever. I loved you so very much and prayed for God to bless every night before I go to sleep but I could go days without seeing you and be happy to continue after we meet again. My heart was content knowing you are my dad and you are alive. You showed me love, you fought this disease so hard and even if you failed you were my hero for going down with a big fight. I mean we had no options back then, we had no idea what we were up against, I know it in my heart if we had known you would have made it. That’s the irony of life, things just are, they happen in their own time and not a moment earlier or later.

Elias Mateveke – 2002

You taught me to be strong, I remember you saying that I was the first-born and I must be strong and always hold my head up high. I am still doing that. You also taught me to seize the day and live in the moment to which I still try to but fail sometimes, each time I think of you I remember your words and I try to enjoy my life as much as I can.

I remember when I aced my grade 7 exams and you cried so much, you see, I had no idea why at the time but I guess you knew you would not live long enough to see me do well in life. It’s sad, isn’t it? Each time I did something great or achieved something all I could think was if my father was alive he would have been so happy and I would have made him proud. We had a family event a couple of years ago and I was asked to do a speech and I was overwhelmed with emotion thinking if you had lived to see this day you would have been so happy with all the family members together.

There are times when I was alone when people were spreading rumours about me that were not true and I could not help but think if you were there you would have stopped them and fought for my honour. It is sad that when someone is an orphan people think they are nasty and bad behaved, Smh. I have tried so hard to think of any day that I have seen you angry with me for one reason or the other and I could not find any. It is like you were good at hiding it or you were really a happy person. All those people who I have seen you helping and changed their lives, I just was in awe of you papa.

Thank you so much for inviting me to come home and bid you farewell. I never understood it at the time, but you were wise and you did that for me. You were an amazing father and a great man papa. I am glad I got to say bye before you departed. Thank you for making my childhood a happy place that I can always visit and recap the happy memories. So many people wish for this but their fathers either are violent or missing in action. But you were both my loving dad and my mum all wrapped into one.

I can’t help but try to imagine what it would have been like if you had made it after that operation and if you were still alive now. I have no idea…. it’s like life really went the way it was supposed to. I know I would have not been bitter that you were taken away from me too soon but maybe I was just supposed to be that girl who stays up at night writing her deceased father letters updating him on her life and stuff like that. Funny, isn’t it? I am happy to report that I am doing a fine job of that really.

I am not sad I just miss you. No amount of words can ever describe how much I miss and love you. I am optimistic that we will surely meet again and we shall rejoice. You were my role model, the first man I ever loved, the greatest man I have ever known. I hope that I will live to be even half the person that you were. I will always love you.

PS: I started writing this letter to you in April but never got to finish it as every time I start writing i get overwhelmed with feelings. You really were the best.

 — love your lil princess


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