She is dead.
She has been for three years now. 21st October, 2008. Tuesday. Malaria, they said.
Difficult to accept
When lade first hit me with the sad news, my heart almost stopped. I was walking past a hall of residence at night with a friend and suddenly , it all seemed pointless.
I instinctively thought of my most distinctive memory of her, her tiny piggy eyes. I heard the sound of her faintly shrill laughter and remembered the script of innocence scribbled all over her. In short I was stunned. But lade wouldn’t joke with a thing like this. Shortly after dropping the call, I was stunned into a devastating reverie.
Interestingly enough, my fondest memory of her was when she wept bitterly after believing she had fared badly in the Mock Mathematics exam in our final year in Secondary school back in ’06. Thinking of all the vigour spent in the exercise would have made me doubt to no end that this academic and charismatic firebrand, innocent and cheerful girl who stayed that way despite the thorns that life threw down her path would somehow succumb to the inevitable just a mere six hundred or so days later as a student of OAU.
I remembered her pestering me once on the corridor to become a professional writer or poet, her singing along with Sewa against the duo of Efe and I in a mock ‘battle of the voices’ contest one day after school while they waited for the bus… a lot of things really. It was pointless to resist the pull to go into memory lane with her as focus.
I remembered her flawless conversations and firebrand style of Christianity that earned her Assistance Chapel Prefect under Oyekan.
I thought about how the egghead would come to school only 30% of the time because of financial challenges and still manage, almost effortlessly, to reach the second position every term. I remember her habit of slinging her bag strap across her body through her cleavage and wondering privately how she found it comfortable. Naturally, it was impossible to leave Sewa out of the equation. I took time off peace and had a moment for Sewa, her closest friend, imagining her wearing her eyeballs out with tears of inconsolable grief and I couldn’t resist stifling a groan from my spirit. It was impossible for me not to feel like breaking down.
We weren’t best of friends, but you didn’t have to be with Peace in order to keep her memory ever alive. I thought of Kaka, Dotun, Toyin Bola, Adara, Esther, Dairo and couldn’t help but imagine the grief that they would all go through as a result of having known her indomitable spirit. With a sense of fear, the thought occurred to me, if Peace who was so charismatic and energetic, the epitome of grace and humility, could sleep without notice, what would be the lot of people like me, carefree, uncouth and unbridled? *sigh
It took me a while to remember Eludire Afolabi, Her favourite male companion. I grieved for him. In the dark of that now cheerless night, I looked at the sky in an unconscious act of questioning God.
In answer to my own question, I suddenly realized that the only reason my grief did not overwhelm me was because inwardly, I had faith in my lovely Oyewole Peace in such a way that I had never had for myself. I was convinced that she had kept the firebrand of her zeal for Christ burning. I was happy that she would find sweet repose in everlasting life after the resurrection on the Last day. Repose from school fees palaver, emotional traumas, possible accidents and disappointments and freedom from illness and whatever else humanity has blighted itself with. I said a silent prayer for her. It was impossible not to. The stars in the night sky winked at me as I wished her a place among the angels.
I prayed silently for her clergy parents, my grief seeking to blow the lid. I involuntarily remembereed “why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes”,(James 4:14). Yep, the vapour sure did vanish, but the life in which it was embodied, the heat which created it has warmed our senses and touched our spirits and it will not be forgotten. In the victory which I believe she has achieved over death, I hear her triumphantly resound, ’Grave, where is thy sting, death, where is thy victory?’
She didn’t die without God’s consent, and God never consents to anything without a higher purpose.
Forever in our hearts.
I wrote this last year. Today is her day, as it will always be, so I thought to post it again.