In Loving Memory of Late Mr. Famous Birinimughan Abai, My Father, the Fisherman, by Jacob Abai

I could not recall the particular day, but it was a fateful Monday in October 1990 when our lives took a devastating turn. It is with a heavy heart and teary eyes that I pen down these words to remember and honor the life of a remarkable man, my beloved father, Mr. Famous Birinimughan Abai. Though it has been 33 long years since that tragic Monday, the memories of his life and the heart-wrenching loss we suffered remain etched in my heart.

My father hailed from the serene and picturesque Igoba Town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta state, a place filled with lush landscapes and tranquil waterways. He was a man of the waters, a fisherman who knew the rhythms of the tides, the secrets of the river, and the beauty of nature. Every morning, long before the sun kissed the horizon, he would set out in his trusty canoe, an emblem of his hard work, resilience, and the way of life he embraced.

As a child, my father used to tell me that one day, I would follow him to the river, learn the ways of the water, and carry on the traditions of our family. It was a promise he made with a glint of pride in his eyes, a promise that I held dear.

He was based in Oporoza Town when the incident happened. On that fateful Monday morning, as the world around us still slumbered, my father embarked on his journey to the river. It was a morning like any other, painted with the hope of a bountiful catch, the anticipation of another day’s work.

As I woke up that fateful Monday morning to join him at the Waterside, I was met with a solemn scene in our compound. A crowd had gathered, and the atmosphere was laden with grief. Confusion and sorrow hung heavy in the air. Some people wept openly, and among them were my mothers – Yousu, Tuma, and Yadile – along with the older children. The entire community shared in the solemnity of the moment, and tears flowed freely.

Then, I learned the devastating news of what had happened to my beloved father. A speeding boat had collided with his humble canoe, and it was an encounter that would claim his life and shatter our world. He was taken from us so suddenly, without a chance to say goodbye or to grasp the magnitude of the loss.

It is difficult to put into words the profound impact my father had on our lives. He was a pillar of strength, a source of wisdom, and a wellspring of love. His kindness knew no bounds, and his unwavering dedication to our family remains an inspiration to this day. He taught us the values of hard work, respect for nature, and the importance of community.

In the aftermath of that tragic day, our community rallied to search for his remains. I can still recall the moments of despair, the countless hours spent hoping for a miracle. When his lifeless body was finally found, the sight was heart-wrenching. Nature, in its relentless cycle, had begun to reclaim him through the tiny claws of crabs.

My father’s passing left a void in our hearts that can never be filled. The pain of losing him still lingers, but the lessons he imparted, the love he gave, and the memories he created continue to sustain us.

As I reflect on his life, I am reminded of the beauty and fragility of our existence. My father’s journey was cut short, but his spirit lives on in the stories we share, the traditions we uphold, and the values he instilled in us. He may have left this world too soon, but the legacy of his love, resilience, and unwavering dedication remains a beacon of light that guides us through life’s storms.

Dad, you are dearly missed, but you will forever be in our hearts. Your memory is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love. May your soul rest in eternal peace, knowing that your legacy lives on through the generations you’ve touched.

With love and gratitude,

Jacob Brakere Abai
Your son

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