Hephzibah Frances: Giving My Father His Flowers While He’s Still Here


The 11th of April, 2021, was my dad’s birthday and I found myself short of words to really express what he means to me. I have realised that sometimes, the more love I feel for a person, the harder it is for me to properly express this in words but I must try hard for this celebration because we should give our parents their honour and flowers when they are still alive to smell them.

My parents were divorced for twelve years but God did a miracle and brought them back together. In between those twelve years when my mom wasn’t living with us, my dad taught me a lot and I want to share some of the unique attributes of my father with you.

My dad always has his heart fixed on us

I discovered really early that my dad was always practically thinking about us. His heart dey house.

My dad used to bring something, especially food, back home from work most times, and as a young child, food was my love language. He would bring his meals home from work – the rice he didn’t like but knew that we would love, barbecued fish, suya – anything. He knew that he had a family waiting for him at home and was thinking about them even at work.

He still does this to date. Recently, I spent time at home with my parents as a 28-year-old woman and my dad brought fish for my mum and I. He had eaten his but felt it was really delicious so he brought back ours too. We have always had a special place in his heart.

His level of humility amazes me

There is absolutely nothing so small or too big that my dad wouldn’t do for his children. As kids, he cooked for us, kept food in our cooler, went to the market and did all the running around for a meal for the home. My dad taught me to wash my bedsheets and towels for boarding school.

Even as an undergraduate, my dad was still cooking for me. Up to this day, when I visit and I am leaving the house, my dad would help me carry my bags to the park, come down and help bring the bags down and sometimes even wait until my bus moves. I have met other men in my young life and quickly realised that this behavior wasn’t and isn’t normal with men. My dad was utterly humble and selfless.

My dad is a provider

I don’t believe that there was anything we needed for school or food or something while we were growing up that my dad didn’t provide. I didn’t have to beg for money for my needs; he supplied as he was able.

I remember when I was Ekiti State for my NYSC and my landlady asked me about my family. I am a lawyer and all my siblings were either in the university or had graduated at that time. She remarked, “your parents tried oh. They trained all of you.”

Prior to that, I had never felt an appreciation for the education my parents gave us. I felt it was “normal” for a man to provide for his children and train them to school but I have since met people who, for them, this wasn’t the case as their fathers never really provided for their needs. I began to appreciate the kind of father God gave me and my siblings more.

My brother recently got married and, again, my dad supported massively, it was normal for him to do that. My dad is always willing to support my cause, financially. When I have a new book, he is thinking of how to support me. When I travel, he is thinking about me and how he can be of help. I have since learned that my father’s heart is pure gold.

My dad keeps his promises

I used to joke and say that when my dad promises me something, I don’t even remind him about it later. I just say “daddy dewo” and forget about it because I know he will always fulfil his promise. In a way, that has also influenced the relationship I have with God; when He says something to me, I believe. My relationship with God faltered a little because it felt like He wasn’t keeping His promises to me, unlike my earthly father. My father had always done what he says he’ll do and it seemed my Heavenly Father wasn’t doing that. Thankfully, my relationship with God as regards His promises being yes and amen is now restored.

My dad valued our opinions

When I was growing up, our parlour was a law court! My dad would read something in the newspaper or watch something on TV and call me just to discuss it. I would shout and argue on top of my voice trying to drown everyone out and my dad would just laugh. We had very different opinions, still he never doubted that I respected him as my dad.

Other dads would want their children to “go to the room” when they come back home from work. Not my dad, he was always eager to talk to us.

I remember when my dad want to marry another woman, he actually called us and asked us about it, we said no and he listened. Thank God he listened to us because he and my mom are back together today. We couldn’t really bear the thought of another wife as I and my siblings were praying for them to get back together.

My dad allowing us speak our minds and air our opinions is one reason why I can never date a man who would not allow me talk or be threatened my me being expressive.

My dad taught me about having a vision 

My dad would call me to come watch Oby Ezekwesili and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on TV, then he would tell me about who they are. It was his way of saying, “You can be like them. Whoever you want to be, make it big. See these women? You can go far in life too.”

My dad was giving me wings to fly when I didn’t even know who I was or who I wanted to be. In many ways, my dad is the reason I am here today. He has always been the wind beneath our wings.

I know you would read this, daddy, and I want you to know that I love, honour and celebrate you, Isaiah Elohor Okoro. You taught and continue to teach me what true sacrifice for family is. My dad would earn N20,000 and give you N15,000 for school.

Thank you, Isaiah Okoro! I wanted to do this publicly and celebrate you while you are still here to read it. God promises you long life and for all the days you are here, we – my siblings and I – want you to know you are celebrated and you are such a blessing to us.

I love you and I am so thankful for you, daddy!



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