Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Of Loved Ones Lost and for Those Alive

The death of a loved one is a tough experience for anyone.

Has it ever dawned on you that someone is lost to you forever? I am not writing about breakups or family feuds, after all, we’ve seen sworn enemies become good friends – when there is life anything is possible. This is about death, the realization that you’d never see a certain person nor hear their voice again till your dying day (or Christ’s return). It’s a weird feeling – as though they’ve just been deleted from the earth, and only your memories of them will remain as proof that they were ever here. Whether they’ve been long ill or if it came like snow in August, the death of a loved one is a tough experience for anyone.

I know a thing or two about loss. You see, my maternal grandparents were quite involved in my childhood, I lived with them for the second six months of my life, spent every Christmas with them till after high school, and attended a university that was only NGN50 bus fare away from their residence, and lived with them while in my 2nd year at the university. As a youngster, I slept in both their rooms and took liberties that their children (my mum and her siblings) wouldn’t dare. We were like that!

One night, during my National Youth Service in Enugu, I got a call from home, “Grandpa died today”. I was stunned. Four years later his wife, my grandmother, followed suit.

The death of both grandparents taught me some lessons that corrected certain ideologies and habits I had prior to their demise. I realized that even though I felt sad about losing them, nothing surpassed the feeling of regret in my heart. I knew I could have been a better granddaughter to them by merely calling to check on them from time to time, and perhaps making the visit I kept postponing for four years to my grandmother.

Often times we put off doing things because we feel it’s not good enough yet, or would not measure up. So, we postpone doing it all together until some other time in the future – which may never come. I was eager to finish NYSC and get an excellent job so that I could also start to reach out to (help) people, my grandparents included. As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother that I was going to take her abroad someday. So, you see I told myself sending NGN200-500 airtime to their phones wasn’t good enough, I’ll just wait till I get a good job, by God’s grace, so that I can do this and do that for them instead. I didn’t call much either, I would tell myself that they had over six children, and they were certainly overwhelmed with attention and love – plus they knew I loved them, right?

The feeling of regret hurts the most, I didn’t want to feel that ever again.

It was at my grandmother’s funeral that I decided I was going to do whatever was within my power to show that I care while those I love are here (and while I am here). Whether it is as little, or as much, so far it is what I am able to do, and I will do it. That feeling of regret hurts the most, I didn’t want to feel that ever again.

Do you have parents alive? Please, don’t wait till you ‘blow’ to be present in their lives, be present now. If you don’t have money, at least call and text them. Make them laugh, let them gist and gossip with you, and let them know you care. Be patient with their ‘forwarded many times’ WhatsApp broadcast messages, accept them, and in fact respond with – “wow, daddy, se looto?” Lol! If you have money, please reach out to your folks with your resources. Whether they were good to you or not, continuously sow the seeds of love and honor.

How about your family? The spouse you’re always fighting with? The children you wish would grow up quickly and just leave your house? My mum told me of what a widowed woman once said to her upon hearing of the demise of her husband (who had genuinely hurt her) – she said “Mummy, please tell him to come back home – I don’t want to fight anymore. I will do whatever he wants me to do for the rest of my life, just tell him to come back home.”

Nobody is worth you spending eternity in hell.

It’s hard indeed to let love reign when we have been deeply hurt, but I think understanding the fragility of life, and believing in the gospel of Christ and eternity in heaven or hell can make the decision easier. If you will not forgive for their sake, please forgive for your own sake. This is why I may not be the one to tell anyone to stay put in a marriage that is hurting them and embittering their soul. I know some people would be alarmed at this, but that’s alright. God hates divorce, but more importantly, he hates for you to lose your salvation and go to hell. If anything will take you to hell, please my brother and sister, leave that thing. Nobody is worth you spending trillions of years (and that’s just a start) in hell. Nobody, not society, and certainly not ‘church’.

‘I have too little to give’ is the onset of selfishness.

I lost someone a few weeks back and it cut really deep not only because of the pain I felt, but I could also imagine the pain of certain other people who loved him. It felt like a minus to humanity, not numerically but in terms of the love, goodness, and kindness that ruled his heart. I wanted to go out on the streets and scream – “hello folks, we just lost a good man!”

This time though I did not feel regret, and that has helped my grief a tard bit. Every 1st day of the month in 2021 I texted him and he replied each time. I had called and chatted with him from time to time, and on his birthday I had been the first to reach out to him with good wishes and a cash gift. I recall that SA had jokingly called me ‘FK spending’ that morning, and he was right because, to be honest, it did not make sense – who gifts an ocean a drop of water? But when he called to say thank you and pray as though I had just bought him a house, I was glad for what I did.

A man I know says – “ko to’nkan nin so’yan di ahun”. That is – thinking that what you have is too little to share/give, is usually the onset of selfishness.

I urge you to make a deliberate effort to say hello to folks, give gifts, and make donations. Someone you know just delivered a baby – send them 2k (if that’s what you can afford) and tell them it’s for baby wipes. A colleague is getting married – let your money be part of the donation. You see those GoFundMe links about someone who needs open heart surgery costing 12 million – drop your small 4k.

Everyone loves to be celebrated – post your friend on their birthday, call that old-time friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, drop funny stickers like my friend Paul Ilesanmi, encourage your friend’s business – buy from them or refer them, like their post (start by subscribing to my blog), just try and add color to people’s lives as you have the power to.

You see people die – that is life. The people we lose no longer feel anything, neither hate nor love, no regret, and no pain. It is we who are alive that can reflect and evaluate how we impacted their lives. I don’t ever want to feel like there was something I could have done, said, or given to bring joy to a person’s life while alive, and didn’t.

Truth be told I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

Till your next visit here, stay blooming.

FKhttps://bloomwithme.org
I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Spot on Ómo Akin.
    When I lost my younger sister and then ,my mum, one thing was so certain,there was no regrets,not at all. I did and sacrificed all I had for them while still here.

    I leave home, treat people well and tell them how I feel about them,
    Because of a truth, it might be the last time you are seeing them, or they seeing you.

  2. Hmmmm, this part got me thinking ????? “I can’t do everything, but I can do something”

    Your words are words of wisdom to them that finds it. Keep bringing it out as we stay blooming.

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I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.

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