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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Love Me Jeje, Love Me Tender



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 peace

But, 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 it’s true.

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 doing just 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 music and we’d argue for hours; him constantly bashing Nigeria 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 with an unreasonably insane love for “posh”.

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 his age.

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 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 piece 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’.

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Bleed blue

    February 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Oh no Atoke 🙁 So so sorry for your loss, he sounds like a fantastic guy (taking a leaf from you and not using the past tense)

    May he rest in God’s peace.

  2. omolola

    February 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Rest in Peace Muyiwa. Atoke… I dont know the right words so I am just going to send you a bigggg hug

  3. kiki

    February 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

    RIP Muyi,
    Atoke, sowie for your loss

  4. Toyin

    February 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Opening my arms to give you a really BIG HUG Atoke. May God heal your heart and comfort you!

  5. Patie

    February 11, 2013 at 10:24 am

    am so sorry Atoke, ‘Big & Tight Hugzzz’

  6. Retrochic

    February 11, 2013 at 10:34 am

    so sad, one can tell the amount of impact he had in ur life, may his soul rest in peace, IJN amen

  7. Ella

    February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

    May your soul rest in perfect peace omo elesie ajobo!
    May God be your comfort Atoke!

  8. Desire

    February 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I am almost in tears like i know him. I can feel your pains. May his soul rest in peace. May God comfort you. *hugs & kisses.

  9. HRS

    February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Sad…. truly sad… RIP Muyiwa, take heart Atoke….

  10. Neo

    February 11, 2013 at 11:26 am

    “no amount of fore-knowledge prepares you for that which hits you.”

    I spent 10 years of my life preparing myself for the day when my father would die. Till today it hits me in little doses. He is not there, he is in a hole in the ground. Then it hits me again, he is NOT in a hole in the ground cos all that he was to me lives in my heart, in the memories of his smiles, laughter and all that he was to me. Atoke, Muyiwa is not gone, his physical presence may be gone but all that he is lives in your heart, so remember….


  11. oluchy

    February 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    l am sorry for your loss, l agree with you. Love should be shown n spoke before its too late.

  12. adelegirl

    February 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Oh wow Atoke… So so sorry for your loss. I wish you and his loved ones strength and peace through this period…It is well with you all and may your friend, Muyiwa, rest in peace.

  13. Ngozi

    February 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    For me, this is the best article I have read on this Website. To the writer, Atoke, thank you for giving me something to think about today. Love is indeed pure and beautiful. May the soul of your dear friend rest in peace, this article is just beautiful. 🙂

  14. Ushees

    February 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    nw u wanna make mii cry…’Love should be true and real because you really don’t know how much time you have left’….sobs!

  15. rola

    February 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Outstretched arms to comfort u dear atoke.

  16. Ure

    February 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    am so sorry about your loss, i pray God to furnish you with the strength you need in this trying time. be strong Atoke.

  17. Omolola

    February 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I lost a brother last week Monday too, its a week now. I cried my eyes out but during the burial, I realised he is no longer here physically but he wud always live on in our hearts. And the consolation I have is that he was a cheerful giver and lived a fulfilled life as a christian, he also left me wiv this – Never stop giving and help people as much as you can. We sud let those around us know how much they mean to us everyday.

  18. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Atoke, my condolences. Your love for your friend is just so genuine to read about. Heavens, I can’t say that I’ve ever let myself open up to love another person that much… because even with those we sometimes think we love, we also find we have selfish motives. I can also boast of a fantastic friend like you do in Roy. Except I can’t boast that I always play my part as a fantastic friend to him as well. He’s a guy, probably one of my best friends throughout all my life and he’s a sickler. I dont want (God forbid!) anything to happen to him before I suddenly realise how much love I have in my heart for him (always being there, always sending encouraging words, always doing all the communicating even when I dont respond).

    Thank you for giving me something to think about today, something to go away and work on. Remember your friend with a smile on your face, as much as you can manage it. From what you’ve written, I think he would have wanted that. xx

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Sorry, meant to say “I think he would want that”.

  19. charity lounge

    February 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    *gets emotional*a mixture of joy and sadness…love me jeje love me tender…am speechless

  20. Kiki

    February 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Muyiwa was a wonderful guy and indeed he fought to the end. May his soul rest in peace.

  21. pade

    February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Accept my sympathy Atoke and Omolola, may the lord continually be with the family and give them the grace to bear the loss.

  22. Ladylilies

    February 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    So sorry abt ur loss,may The Lord grant u&his loved ones fortitude. A part of ur article showed me something I hv been missing, and that is openin myself 2 show love . Life z too short to keep bottled up emotions, free them and find ur way to genuine joy and happiness . Have a great day!!!

  23. fyi

    February 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    he will always live on in your heart…and that’s what matters the most.

  24. Purpleicious Babe

    February 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I like how you celebrated him in this article. I believe he would much prefer that rather than anything else. With time you will be more grateful you got to meet such an Amazing person with an amazing heart. Keep on keeping on.

    On a different note, I would say love is more of a choice not an emotion but the attributes of the individual allows another individual to chose to love them because they are simply AMAZING or betterstill a combination of multiple expressive words like Incredible, Awesome etc.

    xxxxx and e-hugs

  25. x factor

    February 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I believe He has entered into his glory, To be with the king who understands what we cannot see….I feel your pain sis and i pray that the comfort of the holy spirit will be your portion at this time……

  26. salsera

    February 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    wow… glad you shared this

  27. Myne Whitman

    February 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Awww, my condolences 🙁

  28. GreenDiamond

    February 12, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Atoke I am walling rite now although dis piece really hit me dis mirror song by tj made it more deep bcuz i was listening 2 it while reading sorry 4 ur loss dear.. U see u need 2 dart believing his in a happy place bcuz I think dat d only way u can heal just sayn it won’t help much Believe it dear and pray for him nd urself. And I hope u find that friendship in more people too. #Bless

  29. AA

    February 12, 2013 at 6:33 am

    I’m truly sorry Atoke.
    Thanks for sharing him with us.
    Thank God you got to see him before he passed.
    Too emotional and so brilliant a piece

  30. lolly

    February 12, 2013 at 7:11 am

    so sorry for your loss, and as you say he is indeed in a better place

  31. Aibee

    February 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Atoke, I’m so sorry for you loss. *big warm hug* May God comfort you.

  32. Graco

    February 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

    May you find peace in the fact that God will grant him eternal peace. He is in a better place. Thanks for sharing.

  33. didi

    February 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    So sorry about your loss. Praying that the memories you have of him, will help to overcome the grief and sadness of his departure. God bless you.

  34. Annon

    February 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I stayed by ma brother’s bedside till he gave up..terminal illness too and @ his early 30s..i almost lost it but God put me together..God will see u thru it all just remember this though “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”

  35. temmy

    February 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    sorry for you loss dear.

  36. Isima Richards

    February 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Sorry dear! It is well!

  37. paris

    February 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    This wonderful piece just gave me a reason to celebrate valentines day .I have not been able to find a reason until today. Am sorry for your loss and like u said “he is in a better place”

  38. Tope adeoye

    February 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Cannot come to terms with this and I’m sad especially that I didn’t call him to say goodbye. It’s amazing that so many people have mirror images of muyiwa, his strength., his love for his family and friends, his love for lagbaja but sadly inability to dance along ( dude no fit dance ), And his poshness. you touched so many are greatly missed muyiwa. God comfort you Atoke and his dear family. You will forever be in our hearts Muyoski

  39. Tomi Oyemade

    February 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Muyiwa was my class mate in unilorin, i remember vividly the first time we met, when we were jambites trying to do our registration, till we left school he remained a true friend, he was full of life and had great sense of humour. I’m still in shock, i still find it hard to believe that he is no more. Atoke, i pray God gives us the grace to bear this loss. RIP Muyiwa

  40. Nwadiuto

    February 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    May God give u the fortitude to bear the loss. He is alive in your hearts. Big HUG!

  41. omot

    February 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Muyiwa you will be greatly missed, I remember the last time I saw you had a few chat and a banter, not knowing that will be the last, you fought a good fight, displayed relentless optimism, always smiling and cheerful despite what you were going through, I will always cherish the momories and above all, I find solace in the fact that you are in a better place and with the Lord. Rest in peace Muyiwa till we meet again.

  42. Nubianwaters

    February 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you Atoke for putting this up.

    Muyiwa was my childhood friend and I only learnt about his passing a night ago. My heart skipped as I stared on like a statute. There are no better words to describe him than these ones you’ve written. I am still in a state of daze and words do fail me at this time. However, your words do resonate my thoughts about him. He was one of the very few genuine friends I met as a child; with a great sense of humour laced with mischief at times. 🙂 Always left me in stitches.

    Boy, was I glad when after almost 15 years or so I found you on Facebook,12 December 2007? Oh! yes I was. We caught up on phone and it felt like time never passed. You will be sorely missed no doubt and I will also miss playing Scrabble and Words with Friends games with you. 🙂 A good man you truly were. Muyiwa, I am comforted in the truth that you are surely in a better place.

    Rest in peace dear one.

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