On Thursday the 7th of February 2013, my friend passed away. I wrote something for him on my column Atoke's Monday Morning Banter on BellaNaija. It was published on the 11th of February.
How do you write a banter piece when your heart is in
shreds? How do you dig deep into yourself and write a funny, light-hearted
piece on a Monday morning when you’ve been walking in a cloud of hurt,
confusion and grief for the past 4 days?
I had just finished writing the BN Hot Topic on Thursday
morning when I received a text message that my friend had passed on.Shock? Is that what I felt? I don’t know. I
can’t completely describe what I felt in that moment.He’d been ill you see, with what the doctors
had said was terminal but no amount of fore-knowledge prepares you for that
which hits you. So I said to myself “he’s gone to a place where there’s no more
pain, no more visits to the A&E, no more drugs. He’s gone to a place of
But you see, as much as I said this to myself, my tears
didn’t stop flowing.
“How are you holding up?”
“I’m fine oh! He’s in a better place” Like a robot, I’ve
been responding, partly to get people to stop asking and partly because I know
“Focus on the happy memories. Don’t think about him in past
tense. Write. If it’ll make you feel better, write”
So, I’m doingjust
that.My friend, Muyiwa, always made me laugh. When I was in Law School, we
would talk for hours on the phone about anything and everything. We shared a
love for Lagbaja’s musicand we’d argue
for hours; him constantly bashingNigeria as a failed state and me trying feebly to defend it. He would
doggedly defend his religious belief and constantly call me a baby Christian,
content on feeding on just milk. I’d call him “Paitor” and he’d call me
“Omo’jo”. He called me razz, I said he was a fake guy!
I love Muyiwa with all of my heart. I haven’t come to terms
with the use of past tense.I’m not sure
I ever will because he’d forever be the personification of love, devotion and
strength. As he battled the illness,
we’d chat endlessly. There was NOT one time when he gave up the fight and boy
did he FIGHT. When a man in his 30s is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he
goes through different stages of acceptance and not once did Muyiwa throw in
the towel. He’d tell me when he was delirious with pain and when he was strong
enough to ogle the nurses. He’d share his fears and his pains but not once did
he lose sight of positivity.
As I got on the train to see him in over the holidays, I was
afraid that I’d see a weak and frail person so I braced myself for it. I was
determined to be strong for him and be as cheery as possible. When I got to the
door of the house, I nearly reeled back in shock.He had become darker and looked years beyond
“Lord, how will I NOT start bawling?”
I spent almost 9 hours there and not once did I cry. I spent
the day laughing and joking with my friend. He ate, slept, watched TV and it
was a great day.
“I love you very much, you know?” He said to me in a voice
that was barely audible as he fought the morphine-induced sleep.
“I love you too, Roy”
You see, love is such a powerful drug:that pure, true and un-adultered love; the
kind that makes you give your all without question. It is one emotion that I am thankful that I
have experienced. It is one thing that I always pray that more people will
share because it truly makes the world a better place. It is one emotion which
needs to be constantly expressed AND shown in order for it to be effective.
So as you celebrate Valentine ’s day this week, and as you
go out to buy those gifts for that special somebody, remember that love is a
lifetime feeling. It’s not limited to that one day but something that must
constantly be expressed and shown. Love should be true and real because you
really don’t know how much time you have left.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hurt before, it is an
emotion that is so powerful that with it, we really can change the world.
Tell someone you love them today, show them how much you
care and believe it.
Love, peace and cupcakes.
*This Monday Morning’s Banter is dedicated to my Booskie, Baba Esie; Olumuyiwa Aroyeun
Oyewunmi. For every lesson you taught me, for encouraging me to do more and be
more, for being there to fight with, for being there to share new music with,
for being my friend over and over. I ‘love
you jeje, love you tender’.