Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ará ìṣokún.
Ọmọ ẹdun tíí ṣeré orí igi
Ó fẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì bẹ sílé alákìísa;
Ó salákìísà donígba aṣọ.
Gbajúmọ̀ ọmọ tíí gbàkúnlẹ̀ ìyá,
Tíí gbàdọ̀bálẹ̀ lọ́wọ́ baba tó bí í lọ́mọ.
Wínrinwínrin lójú orogún
Ejìwọ̀rọ̀ lojú ìyá ẹ̀.
Today would have been your 31st birthday but instead of having a great time here with your beautiful family, you are rather having your 9th month birthday, up there.
How ironic. 9 months.
In popular parlance, that is all the time it takes to carry and birth a child.
A lot has happened since you floated out of the woods of life but I will not bother regaling you with the tales because I know you cannot see or hear as mere mortals do, anymore.
Or maybe you can. As my heart tries to believe against every ounce of common sense in me.
I remember the first time I met you so well. And I remember the last time I saw you vividly too.
The first meeting was with smiles and the last was with smiles and waves, urging me to go back to work.
I left and promised to be back on Saturday morning to see you again.
And I did see you again, on a cold gurney. You did not see me, neither did I get to hug you like we’d come to get accustomed to.
Thankfully, I carry that gay image of you sitting on that white plastic chair by the bedside, the IV stand beside you while your eyes crinkled and laughter I had not heard in a long while rang out from your throat as you enjoyed the jokes being cracked by your dear friend. The pains left briefly to allow you enjoy one last cheery moment with your loved ones, a moment I had come to hold so dear.
I am glad you laughed so loudly, so heartily.
And I am glad you were loved and you knew it. It doesn’t matter now if nobody else knew of that love so strong.
I remember your skin and breath so fresh and your pearly set gleaming. Your braided hair held back with a rubber band, accessorized with little silvery clippings. Even in those last moments, you were finicky and neat.
It still is so surreal. To be awakened a few hours later to the sad news that you were gone, passed on in your sleep.
Makes no sense. Still.
Seeing you seemingly sleepy when you were laid to rest could not still drive home the point that you are gone forever.
I try not to think, because thinking leaves scorching trails down the cheeks. Taunting with the futility of the efforts.
A lot has happened since you shut your eyes to the world.
Chaos. Rancor. Strife. Misconceptions. Misunderstandings. Accusations and counter accusations. Needlessly so.
The health system that failed you is still unchanged. Things are pretty much the same, if not worse -infrastructure wise.
Condemned and betrayed by the very system meant to protect them.
The politicians who by the way brought the nation to her knees with greed are still at it, trying still to get their hands in the cookie jar to continue having their bloody fill. They are being curtailed, ever so slightly.
They still fly abroad to treat the commonest ailments because the nation’s healthcare system is in near-shambles.
But the rest of us still trudge on, hopeful for a lot of simple things. Not quests for oil wells or stacks of dollar bills stowed away in smelly soak-aways.
We rather hope that sanity would be restored. And our mothers and children would stop dying. That cannot be too much to hope for.
Tiwatope Iretomiwa is doing just fine, I see her pictures and she looks so much like you even though some say she takes after her dad in looks. She is showered with love by your grieving parents and her doting dad and I sometimes try not to think about how you should be here, holding her hand, capturing her first steps, soothing through the teething periods and loving like you signed yourself to do.
My heart is heavy, for them, Taiwo and everyone who loves you. And for everyone that knew you, that were privileged to partake of your short life.
No parent deserves to lose their child(ren).
I pray for them even though they are far out of my reach and we may not get to sit or laugh together again, my heart touches them too often.
And I pray. For strength. For grace. For love. For clarity. For revelation. For reasons to laugh, not in resignation or bitterness but heartily with hope.
I pray for the oil of gladness for them. Beauty for their ashes, for our ashes.
I try not to think of the what ifs. It is useless pursuing that line of thought.
Nothing makes sense.
Your death does not.
No one would know how dearly you are loved, even now.
We were one for not long, but even now, we are one in Tiwatope.
Your senseless death fails to make sense, even now.
We have been through all the motions over and over again. Denial. Pain. Anguish. Acceptance. Resignation.
All the motions I went through after mum’s sudden death which I still struggle to cope with by the way -12years after.
But it still is hard to take in. To let sink in. But it is futile to not let it sink.
It seems just like yesterday.
They say it gets better with time but time has failed to live up to the task of healing -for the second time, rather preferring to deaden for brief moments in time. Maybe that is just what we need to keep moving. And keep living.
Cry as we want in our heart, the heavens have a firm grip of you.
1 Thessalonians 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
We have a choice to keep crying, mostly inwardly -particularly considering all the ugly incidences that trailed your demise while we were still hurting.
The hurting has not stopped, maybe it will…Someday and we will all have smiles playing at the corner of our lips and true laughter welling in our hearts every time you are remembered.
But I choose today to remember what a beautiful soul you were.
Beautiful, not perfect. Very beautiful. Daring. Full of life. Vivacious. Courageous. Enterprising. Industrious. Independent.
You realized your calling early in life and technically started ‘Awelewa’ even while still in school.
You gave of yourself and you took your destiny into your own hands, resolute in your beliefs.
You provided, without waiting for handouts or the non-existent jobs in the country.
You were firm, unwavering in going after your goals.
You listened even when your eyes speak otherwise.
I remember how you faltered and how you tried to make it right. I remember how you loved, deeply. Very deeply.
I choose to read our last chats -which I still refuse to delete from my phones.
We have submitted to the will of Him who called you to Himself but I still see your smiles.
I see your touch.
I see your candor.
I hear your voice…I still am yet to delete your number.
Edunjobi, even though we miss you dearly, we know you are fine. You made your peace with your maker even though you had no premonition you would be meeting Him so soon.
Didn’t you say to me that Friday noon -with super bright eyes that you could not wait to leave that hospital ward after about 6 long weeks?
Well, you left after all.
And the heavens gained another one so beautiful, Edunjobi…ejire ara isokun.