I am My Father’s Daughter: Loss, School and Faith

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I am My Father’s Daughter is a story of a young girl, Kayla, who struggled with the loss of her dad when she was at primary school. Her circumstances changed and soon she realised things were not the same anymore.

Kayla knows her dad and family would want her to do well in school. In 2016, she was among PNG’s Top 10 Students in the Grade 8 examinations. She is a young girl who sets herself for greater things. She is inspired by the statement:

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking”.

Dad admitted to hospital

I did Grade one to Grade seven at Coronation Primary School from 2009 to 2015. In late June 2015, my father collapsed and was hospitalized at the Pacific International Hospital (P.I.H). I was in grade seven. The doctors’ diagnosis revealed that my father had lung cancer. This didn’t come as a surprise to my family, because he was a heavy smoker for over 25 years.

With my dad being in the hospital, it became very difficult for my family and me. He was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for almost two solid weeks. You can just imagine the frustration, stress and heartache we all had to go through at that particular time.

Prayers answered – Dad’s recovery

Our families and friends around the nation comforted us with encouragement, words of wisdom in our time of need.

Most importantly, I was grateful for their heartwarming prayers towards my father’s recovery. I am forever grateful to the Lord for blessing us with such amazing people.

A few days later, we were informed that my father has responded to treatments and recovered well. This brought joy into our hearts.

Finally, there was good news. Our prayers have been answered. And before we knew it, he was discharged from the hospital and returned home.

Dad came home a changed man

Everything about my father changed when he came home. Dad was relaxed and open minded about changing his ways of doing things. He changed his diet and was determined to be physically fit. He reminded my siblings and me that everything he was doing, was because he wanted to live another day to see us, his children, who he loved so dearly.

His words brought pain to my heart and tears filled my eyes. I told myself at that very moment “How lucky am I to be his child”.

Lossing my Father

Sadly, on January 26, 2016, my dear father passed away. His illness caught up with him and it ended up taking his life. I was so miserable. I just couldn’t bear all that pain of losing someone whom I’ve held closer to my heart.

Dad was my best friend, he was always there for me, he did everything for me and now, just like that, he was gone.

In early February of 2016, my mother decided to enrol me in a new school. Due to my father’s passing, life became complicated and very difficult, especially for my mother.

Mother’s struggle

Mum was not used to doing everything by herself. My father was the main breadwinner of the family, so you can just imagine the struggles she had to go through to get things done on her own.

At that time, we were living with my aunt (my mother’s sister) in the University Campus (Fortbenna). The nearest public school was the Waigani Primary School, and that was where my mother enrolled me.

I had to do my grade eight there due to the circumstances that we were facing. Of course, my mother had to go through a whole lot of trouble transferring me from one school to another. But with a little bit of faith and prayer, everything worked itself out.

Going to a new school

When I started at my new school, obviously I was still grieving, so to me, everything didn’t matter. All that mattered was that my father was gone, and he was never coming back.

In the first few weeks of school, I didn’t care about making friends, participating in school activities or even doing schoolwork. I just wanted to be alone or be at home, but it was impossible to stay at home. So, going to school was the only way I could be alone since I didn’t have to make any friends at the time.

Much needed family support

One night, my uncle (my father’s brother) came home late. He was always isolated and doing his own thing that I didn’t even think he would notice how I was behaving until that night. He called all my elder siblings and they sat before him.

Uncle talked to them all night and finally, it was my turn. He sat me down and he told me:

“Whatever you’re doing right now has to stop and will stop as of today onwards.
I know you’re grieving but you don’t have to make yourself suffer like this.
Your father was always supportive of your education and your dreams.
Do you think he would stand by and let you waste your life like this?”

And then it hit me, right there and then. I thought to myself,

“What am I doing?
Why am I doing this to myself?
Dad would never let me give up like this”.

I also thought of how giving up on life wouldn’t get me anywhere or do me any good. It wouldn’t help my mother, my family and it definitely wouldn’t help me.

I am my father’s daughter

From that moment on, that is where it all changed. I decided I should take my future seriously and open to the idea of working hard at school.

At first, I decided that I didn’t want to distract myself from my studies. As I was in grade eight, making friends could distract me from my studies. However, as time went by, I got to know some amazing people. And those very people I can proudly call my family today.

Top Grade Eight student 2016

After making new friends, I find going to school easy and interesting. I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t fall off track or get distracted from completing the year with good results.

With the right motivation and self-discipline, I can safely say that I did my family and myself proud at the end of the schooling year. I came 2nd in English.

I was one of the Grade eight top 10 performing students from Waigani Primary School in 2016. On top of that, I secured a spot in one of the top schools in the nation.

Faith in God and myself

Before I decided I was going to change my behaviour and focus on my studies, I honestly doubted myself at first. And now, I can say that I underestimated myself. But, to be honest, all my achievements were all because of my faith and trust in my God almighty.

I put Him first in everything I did, and He was by my side. Not forgetting what drove me to work hard in the first place was so that I could make my family and most importantly, my father proud.

Dad always wanted me to make the best of my education. I believe that my father’s ambitions for me are what motivate me to do better at school.

No limits to what you can accomplish

With all that has been said and done, nothing comes easy in life. You have to do the work to succeed. Yes, there will be struggles and trials along the way, but, that does not mean you give up. Those are the very things that help to push you in the direction you want to go.

Always know and understand that you are never alone. When you face hardships, turn to God and He will guide you. Do not stress yourself out by keeping it all within.

The sky is the limit – reach higher

Pray and meditate to the word of God and let it all out. I say all this from experience and trust me, it does help.
With everything I’ve gone through at a very young age, I now understand that even though I lost someone in my life, I never really lost a father. Because my heavenly Father was always by my side to get me through the most important year of primary school.

About the writer

Kayla Lakoko is a 2020 grade 12 school leaver. She likes to read books and loves writing. She is going to a higher institution in the country. Before she leaves home she wants to write and share her story to inspire other young people. She aspires to continue writing during her free time.

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Editor’s note:

The lows and highs of Kayla’s story resonate with many primary school children who are fighting their own battles in life.

We hope her story gives you the inspiration you may need to do well at school. And do well in life. Kayla is inspired by these words and we hope they are your inspiration too: “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking”.

She is an esteemed young writer. We had the pleasure of publishing her work on PNG Writer’s Corner (read the inspiring stories from PNG Writers).

We would love to hear from our primary and secondary school students. If you are an aspiring young writer, get in touch.

The PNG Writer’s Corner is an initiative to tell your stories and inspire others. We offer a small reward for every unique article that we publish. Contact us on Twitter or email us at info@pnginsight.com