When my sister mentioned his name and then asked if I knew he’s no more, I understood then why thoughts of him hovered in my mind not long ago. I mean, how else does one explain suddenly remembering a childhood friend they haven’t set eyes on, in about 30 years?
Thirty years, did time run this fast? That long!?
Yet, it seemed like yesterday when we would come out for “egwuonwa” (moonlight play) and when a fight broke out, fingers would point at his folks as the trouble makers.
It is never spoken but you dare not be poor and have the courage to stand up for yourself! You had become “a trouble maker” readily.
Anyway, she gave me his Facebook identity and I took a quick trip to his wall. There I saw a video he made on October 10, 2020, cruising in his latest car. That video was his last activity on Facebook as he died less than a month later.
I must have watched that video of him playing what is probably a favourite song more than five times, imagining all sorts.
Did he know that was his last activity on Facebook? Did he know he had less than a month left on earth? Did he know he won’t see his kids grow or become a grandfather? Did he know he had less than a month left with the woman he hoped to grow old with? Did he know he had less time than he could ever imagine left on earth?
Yet he seemed so healthy. And young! Did he also know he won’t see the end of a year he apparently started on a high note?
They said his death was sudden. The tributes poured in but one in particular touched me. The fellow said that when he arrived in that foreign land, all those he had agreements (of accommodation until he found his feet) suddenly became unavailable on the phone.
And after being stranded for five hours, he tried his luck by contacting Obum (whom he never informed of his coming) and it was him that came for him at the airport and threw the doors of his home open to him. He said that his obsession was one thing: to break the yoke of poverty, which he did beyond belief.
Part of the tribute reads, “You were the most successful because you work hard like no other. You hardly sleep, rest or eat because you want to break the yoke of poverty and by God’s grace you did it.’’
Only if you knew him back then, would you understand the level of “poverty” being talked about here. Their parents died very young, leaving all seven of them in the care of their sister who’s barely 20 years of age. One of her legs was ravaged by polio. She too would later die, shortly after.
When I read that he was the first Nigerian to reside in that region, I became in awe of the courage of these young men, who leave home for a foreign land, weather every unfavorable storm of life in a place they knew nobody and STILL succeed. Well, the essence of this isn’t to eulogize someone that you probably don’t know but to point out the eternal message of TIME once again, to us.
The message? Time keeps going. It is said that every passing day, we inch closer to the end. Just that no one knows when that will be.
Are we already asking ourselves deep questions such as What is my purpose? What are my values? Of course, it isn’t a bad idea that someone has glowing words to say about you when the final curtain is drawn. It just shows you lived. And that you touched a life.