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By: Sandile Matebesi shakes pic

It is times like these that one chooses not to forget because you wonder why it happened to you, but later in life realize that you were born for a time such as this for it to bring out the best in you.

As far back as I can recall, from the age of 5, I had never lived with my biological father. I know now it was because he never showed any signs of responsibility on the parenting side of life. My mother, bless her soul, was forced to harshly take on the responsibility that was initially meant for two people upon her shoulders, and raised my brother and I. That time of my life was very tough for everyone and a bleak future held little encouragement for us, only on the days when I could imagine one of course. As dire as our situation was, my mother together with my grandparents kept real the wish of us living a better life without a father, this very father who lived in such close proximity to us.

As kids, we kept the faith that we’d one day live like a normal family, and in doing so we constantly visited my father with the hope that he would come to his senses and take upon his fatherly responsibility. Nothing changed. We loved our father so much that we`d sneak out to visit him against our grandparents’ knowledge. They had given up on him, and according to them it was time we did the same. They knew he didn’t care, but we wouldn’t have that, or rather at least his financial excuses for his absence made sense to us then and kept us believing. When you are young, you cannot fathom such encounters. What we consciously knew and what my father did not, was that for us his love, time, presence and attention mattered most, above all else. We desperately needed him.

But for a time such as this, God surely had a plan. He had come through for us in the best of times, and He surely wouldn’t fail to do so in the worst of times. He blessed my mother with a companion, a wise man we grew to know to be more of a father than we’d all ever wish for. The rest of our lives would be peaceful, now that we all found the missing piece of our ideal family puzzle that we had longed for. A father. I’ve never thought of him as my “stepdad”-he was, and still is the greatest dad in the world to all of his children and his wife.

I give the highest praise and thanks to God for such a meaningful gift in my life and for the understanding he has given me to write this piece truthfully in this manner. I may have lived my life with these dents, but with time I have found myself without any pain from the past. Through Christ’s healing I am content, complete and can only hope that my biological father felt this peace as I made my last visit to him a few days before he passed. God rest his soul.