When we lose a loved one, there are no words to express the deep sense of loss. There’s a place in our hearts where they lived and when they’re gone, it feels like there’s no coming back from it. One of our readers, Ojini Onyeabo, lost her brother 3 years ago. Nonso, or Chuksilulu as she fondly called him, passed away while he was studying in the UK. His sisters, Ojini and Oby have decided to write something to encapsulate the person he was. Ojini’s loving tribute to Nonso on the 3rd anniversary of his passing away is very heart stirring. We hope that you’d read it and reach out to your loved ones. Let’s make the best of today, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
‘Let’s dance in style,
Let’s dance for a while,
Heaven can wait, we’re only watching the skies
Hoping for the best, not expecting the worst…,
Let us die young, but let us live forever
We don’t have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sand pit, life is a short trip…’
We had this conversation a few weeks before you passed. Arguing about the lyrics to the song –Forever Young and what it really meant. I thought it was about a legend dying- even though he’s passed on, he would be young forever because his memories would be passed down to generations of people. You agreed with me but thought there was a spiritual undertone to it.
It’s often said that people come into your life for different reasons. And if they have to leave, it’s only because their task is completed. I don’t think I would truly understand the reason my brother left our lives. I know I would never accept a logical reason- a justification of sorts for his death. I also will not try to pretend anymore. It is plain ridiculous to assume that his task in our lives and this world was done. He was just beginning and was one of those people who had and would continue to get it right. He had just turned 28 and was doing a Masters when we discovered he was terminally ill.
I remember the moment I heard the news. I was driving, on the Island, in Lekki traffic when my mom called. I seem to have forgotten what exactly transpired between me and another car right after the phone call, but I recall very clearly getting out of my car and screaming at the huge man who had made the mistake of coming into my lane and going in front of me at that particular instant. I remember the surprised and almost petrified look on his face and I also remember distinctly, just knowing, at that moment, that my life was never going to be the same again.
Fast forward 3 years and I have proved myself right. I’ve made more bad decisions in this past 3 years that I ever made in my whole life. And although it doesn’t change the past, at least I now know why. It is down to this almost desperate search and constant strife to replace the emptiness and despair with that apparently elusive feeling of happiness, inner peace and fulfillment.
This piece, this write up, is just to remind you Nonso on this day that you are still our hero. I’m grateful and honored that you were given to us for the 28 years of your life. I could not possibly have wished for a better brother. You were easily my biggest influence-you taught me everything I know. You shaped my thinking and stretched my reasoning. Every conversation with you was intellectually stimulating. Always, always a learning experience.
Everything that is me now- music, my creative outlets and hobbies, the channels I watch on television, food I refuse to eat again- thanks to your very detailed explanation of how they came to be on my plate and what it is that I am really eating, even the way I drive- was all you first. You liked to tease me a lot about how you taught me everything and I always admitted it first because it was true and secondly, because I was so proud of you and I always wanted you to know just how much I looked up to you and how huge an impact you had on me.
You were the man in our lives, a rare type of person, a really special person- we don’t meet people like you every day, sometimes in a whole lifetime. I can’t describe you with words, it’s absurd even thinking it, because that’s undermining you, words won’t do you any justice. Anyone who knows you, who met you, knows that. What I have to do is to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are just too bright… and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice… but still, the place you live is that much more drab and empty now that they’re gone. You didn’t belong here, it’s true; your mind was light years away from us here, Nonso- single handedly the most intelligent and passionate human I ever met.
I don’t know if I would ever be truly happy again because you made our world beautiful. To be honest, everyday is another hard day to live without you. Every day is another difficult day to get through. It’s exactly three years ago since I saw you take your last breath and today I console myself with the fact that while you lived, you lived. You loved life and life loved you right back. Your few years here are richer than most people’s entire lives. I love you. I miss you so much it really hurts. And I wish you were still here with us, being the light of my world. But I know that you’re over there. Waiting for me. Watching over me. And right now, even though that’s not enough, that’s all the encouragement I need to get through the day.
I love you Chuksilulu. I can never ever say goodbye to you; you still live on in me.
You have become that song, Nonso. That legend that can never be forgotten. Will never, ever be forgotten.
You are forever young.
Ojini and Oby.