Surviving loss: My real dad became deadbeat while my guardinan angel committed suicide
Allan Lawrence cuts the image of a successful life coach, but deep down there are painful memories he would rather forget. He narrates to The Nairobian his story of rejection and learning to forgive.
Tell us a bit about your upbringing...
I am the first born in a family of three; two boys and a girl. My own paternal family rejected us on grounds that our mom is from a different tribe. My relatives were against my father marrying from a different tribe because his brothers had all married in the neighbouring villages, so they wanted the pattern to continue.
Did they manage to get him another wife?
They succeeded in getting him a wife and this really made him develop hatred towards us, causing him to relocate from home and stay with the other wife. Trouble started when my mom was left alone with us - her young children. She had no one to turn to, and she couldn’t go back to her maternal home because it was considered taboo in their community for a lady to go back home, especially with boys. She also feared what people would say about her broken family, seeing as she was brought up in a Christian set up where divorce is not allowed.
How did this situation affect you, and how did you feel when your father abandoned you?
I grew up not experiencing the love of a father, and there was a lot of discrimination because everyone around viewed us as outcasts. Personally, I felt so bad, neglected and worthless especially when he left us in the hands of his own people who cared little about us.
What happened afterwards?
Later on, my dad came back to pick us from the village so that we could join him in Turkana. He was doing this to separate us from our mother. It was a way of trying to break her.
Did he succeed in relocating you?
Fortunately not; his plan backfired one day because our step mom came to look for him. A fight ensued when she tried to provoke my mother. My mom tried all she could to fight for our family but the relationship with our dad was a lost cause. After realising his mistakes, my father did everything to win our trust and prove a point, but it was all in vain. So he resorted to mistreating our mom and us.
Where did you find solace during this troubling time?
The church has always been home to me because my mom introduced me to church at a tender age, and by so doing, I became very active in church. That is where I began to exercise leadership and oratory skills.
You encountered another crisis in church...
I loved studying, and one priest at the parish selected and sponsored me to a boarding school out of town so that I could concentrate on my studies. He was a key sponsor in the region as far as education was concerned. Unfortunately, the priest was gay and everyone knew about it. But I would be lying if I said he ever tried to abuse me. Being his personal assistant brought problems to me because many people avoided me, suspecting that I, too, was gay.
How did your relationship with the gay priest impact your life?
It did not sit well with many people. One day, the priest sexually abused someone close to me. The victim reported the matter to the police and this led to the priest dying by suicide. Many people didn’t know the boy who had been abused, they only knew me. Sadly, rumours started spreading about me and I lost so many friends to date.
What did the death of the priest mean to you?
I felt like the world had come to an end. Despite his shortcomings, he was a person I had come to respect as a father figure in my life, because my biological father was absent. The priest supported my dreams wholeheartedly and after his death, it was never easy for me.
Now that you are an adult, what do you think about what your father put you through?
At first, I used to hate him, and I could not even talk to him. But now, I have learnt to honour him. I pick positive lessons from him and I always stand my ground. Believe me, we are now very good friends he even refers to me as his brother.
Did your mother forgive him?
Yes, she forgave him and forgot everything for the sake of her children. She has done everything to ensure that father is present in our lives.