TRIBUTE TO “A FATHER WHO TAUGHT ME HOW TO LIVE FOR OTHERS” LATE MR. TARPEH LASANA U-SAYEE By: Cornelius Robert U-Sayee, SDB
St. Joseph Catholic Parish, Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia
The Chief Celebrant, Priests, Religious, Family Members, Government Officials, Friends, and Well-wishers
You have converged this morning to witness the untimely Home-going of a Father, a Patriot, a Friend, and a Man of profound faith in God.
As the Psalmist says, “Seventy is the sum of our years or eighty if we are strong…”
The age of my father is totally off the words of the Psalmist!
So, we cannot pretend to celebrate today dear friends rather we are compelled to mourn and grief.
The untimely departure of my Father comes with deep sorrow and agony for me, our mother, my brothers, my sisters, and family members.
Your sisters, France Gweyee U-Sayee, Slahn Annie U-Sayee Neoh and brother, Aaron Quadee U-Sayee are all still surprised of your sudden demise.
My father was so deeply oriented to family life and values that our frequent conversations always started with the family and ended with the family.
He could start by telling me about the promising signs of progress and challenges of his girls first (Korto and Winnie), and then he could go on to tell me about my brothers – Joelu and Leo on whether they have called him in the shorter time or not.
He could then end by saying “My wife and I are fine and we pray for you people each day”- and he could say to me, by the way, when are you coming back home? I would joking tell him, I will soon be back Daddy…keep me in prayers! And he will reluctantly reply, “The Catholic Church has stolen you from us”.
And so, I constantly got monthly updates from my Father about our family. Our conversation will then shift to educational issues, religion, and politics.
My last regular conversation with him was on June 19th. Although I briefly spoke with him on July 1st. He courageously said to me at the end of that conversation, “don’t worry Bobby, I will be fine”. Those were his last words to me.
With a strong sense of human, my Father discussed issues open-mindedly and he always created a friendly environment for strangers.
For instance, he could welcome friends of mine or speak with them as he had met them before.
Apart from being my Father, he was my friend and model.
He has been a source of inspiration on my vocational journey.
My being a Salesian up till today is largely attributed to him.
During moments that I felt like quitting, he could say to me, “you are almost there, be patient”.
Then he could jokingly say your formation is too long.
He desired to see me as a priest before his death.
We had planned that he could visit me next year and later accompany me home.
But death has painfully aborted our good plans.
Our commonalities were visible in love for Family, Education, Religion, Politics, and Patriotism.
He taught me not to fear hardship but to go through it and get transformed.
As a man of Service, he worked tirelessly for his family and his Country.
My father was a man of gratitude. He always said thank you to people no matter how little the favor made had been. Even in death, he went on to say thank you to a medical friend of mine who assisted him.
What better way can I remember you, Daddy, than to live for others?
You told me that it is in living for others that one finds himself and becomes a person of value.
That is why you were always selfless and generous to people!
You made me understand that education was worthier than other things.
That is why you did not build mansions but you formed minds, by ensuring that each of us, your children got educated.
Even with the level of education we reached, you kept encouraging us to go further than you did.
For you, the poorest man in the world is the one that lacks education.
My Father was the unifier and torch bearer of our family.
We lived in that unity and light during beautiful and trial moments.
Today, that light is extinguished…it will no longer shine.
But I believed that each of us has a spark of that light in us.
Although the days and years to come without Daddy will no longer be the same but we will endure living each moment with joy and hope, emulating his good examples.
Daddy, you were with me at my beginnings, I am so sorry I never had the opportunity to be with you at your end. In my quest to live a more radical life for others, I went so far from you.
Forgive me, Daddy! I know that I have not always been around; even today again, I am not around!
You are gone but you will keep living in me.
I miss you so much that words cannot express my feelings.
In this loss, I take solace in your words “Bobby, be a person of faith, be generous, love education, and be patriotic”.
During each Holy Mass, you willingly professed that you believed in life everlasting; your life has not ended but changed!
Rest in perfect peace Daddy and watch over us.
You are now our new guarding angel.