Liberia: Not Just A Media Icon, He Was My Father


Philip Wesseh with his daughter, Patience


Tribute to the late Philip N. Wesseh by his daughter, Patience N. Wesseh

This tribute isn't about the Attorney, Journalist, Professor, Media Icon, or Radio Personality most people knew. This tribute is about my dad in his best form, “papa”, as I called him. My father was a provider, teacher, educator, comedian, go-getter, and cheerful giver. I remembered being a young girl living in Liberia, and every Saturday, our porch in Barnesville Estate was full of people seeking his assistance, and he never said no.

If he didn't give it right away, he'd tell them to meet him at his office another day. He taught me many life lessons, but the most that stood out to me was always to give to people who have no means of assistance except through me. When I was in college, he'd call me and say, “Patience, the money I had for you, I paid someone's school fees because they needed the assistance, but don't worry, yours will come. If I didn't help this person, they wouldn't enter school this semester.”

I always understood when he told me that because I knew how selfless and kind he was, and like I said, he taught me to always give without seeking reimbursement. Papa gave me the middle name Nyonkonwloh meaning (woman with heart) in Kru, and he always told me the importance of that name and encouraged me to live by it. 

Papa was loving, kind, and a man of togetherness. He hated division and always brought his children together regardless of our maternal background. My father loved me so much and never stopped demonstrating his love for me. When my mother left Liberia in 1999, it was Papa and me always. Every Saturday, I'm in his office with him, and Sunday mornings, we're pumping for church service at Trinity Methodist Church, and I was always by his side. 

Papa was my greatest inspirator and best love. I loved and admired him so much that I aspire to be like him and like what he likes. In elementary school, I thought of continuing the family business and studying Mass Communication to become a journalist like my father, but that journalism dream died quickly when my passion for healthcare grew more in me. I also adapted his favorite foods (palm butter) and okra sauce w/ fufu) as mine when I was a kid, and up to now, they remain my favorite because of the nostalgic memories associated with being woken up by him after work and eating dinner with him regardless of the time. 

I loved my father more than words can put together, and I sometimes refer to him as my “chicken egg” because he was so precious to me. I admired him because he was a good person with a kind heart. I gave God glory that he enabled me to financially, emotionally, and physically support my father during his healthy and sick days.

It gave me joy and warmed my heart when he told me, "Hmmm, Patience, you did good oo" when I paid a surprise visit to him in Liberia this past February. To see his face lit up with joy when I opened his room door and walked over to him to embrace him was one the best achievements of my life thus far. 

Like most girl children, I always imagined my wedding day with my father walking me down the aisle, giving me out to be married & dancing together for the Father-daughter dance. Although that’s not possible anymore, I’m grateful that God gave me 28 years with him. He's gone now and won't physically be here to celebrate all my achievements, but I'm glad he was present for my HS graduation party and University graduation. He was so proud when I graduated college with honors because he was a valedictorian from D Twe. HS class of 1981, and he constantly desired his children to excel academically. His words to me during my graduation were to chase the dream, never the money and those words will forever remain in my heart as great advice from a wise man.

Papa, wherever you are, I want you to know that you will always be my first love and greatest inspiration. I want you to know it was an honor having a prestigious and excellent father like you, and I will miss you tremendously. I called you Nyemejue, meaning strong man in Kru because you were a strong man; you exhibited how strong and fearless you were. Dying doesn't mean you are weak.

Your death was a way of God calling you home to rest from all your troubles. Papa, you were strong, caring, and courageous that even on your deathbed, you told us, your children, not to worry about you, and if it's God's will, you accept it. You told us you were worried about us, but Papa, I want you to know that God is our heavenly father, and he will take care of us. I also don't want you to worry about me because you know your daughter is ambitious and a hustler because of how you and my mother raised me.

Papa, I love you so much and will always love you. If love could keep people alive, you'd never die. If you were unsure of anyone's love for you, you knew my love for you was real. In our last conversation, I reminded you to always trust in God and seek his mercies for your healing, and you said, “I will do that.” We then ended the conversation by verbalizing our love for each, and that was the last time we spoke before things went from bad to worse. You were a humanitarian who desired to build schools and orphanages for the less fortunate but never got the opportunity to do so. I'll make your dream a reality, promise to build a foundation in your name by God's grace, and your legacy will live on. RIP, my good father. From your, “IZOKOZEE” as you always called me.

To my mother, Mama, God is the husband to the husbandless and father to the fatherless. The same God who's been taking care of us from birth to the present will never leave or forsake us. Mama, thanks for all the love, care, respect, and support you gave our father throughout the years. You kept your marital vows to your husband despite all negative talks. Mama, you're so caring that last June, you canceled your knee surgery and risked your health to travel to Ghana for two months to nurse Papa back to better health; You are Such a lovely and caring person, and you know you can always depend on me for anything, and I will take care of you. I love you with all my heart, mama, and thank you for loving our father.