When Daniel died, the world came crashing down for Bolu. For a long time, he kept imagining that it was a cruel joke life was playing on him and life would one day say “surprise” and bring his friend back to him.
Daniel and Bolu had been friends right from when they were in Junior secondary school. For Bolu who couldn’t throw a punch to save his life, Daniel was his go-to padi when other students bullied him. Their 20 years of friendship had blossomed into brotherhood and both families had become friends through them. They had watched each other fall and rise. Through heartbreaks, finding love and getting married. They had laughed over bad investments and scolded each other when they made silly mistakes.
But all that ended…
It’s been years since Daniel died, but for Bolu, the wound is still fresh and the pain is still raw. For everything he does reminds him of Daniel, certain words or phrases reminds him of Daniel. The many future plans he had with Daniel keep flashing before his eyes and when Daniel’s daughter smiles, Bolu is constantly reminded of the death of his friend…
The hurt never goes away when we lose our loved ones – whether we are family or not. There’s a constant reminder of your own mortality, the realization that if your friend – who was bubbling and so full of life – could be swallowed by the grave, then anyone could die at any time.
When you remember all the future plans you had and the fun you had in the past, there’s a void that engulfs you and a hollow that fills your heart. The world suddenly becomes empty, material possessions seem irrelevant and life begins to look like it’s not worth it after all.
There’s no coming back when death raises its fang and stings your best friend. And we won’t lie that this pain would go away. The best thing to do is to acknowledge the pain, embrace it if you can, but ensure that this pain does not consume you. This grief will, at times, try to choke you – holding your heart so tight and clamping a hand down your throat. But you’ve got to raise your head high above the water and breathe… just breathe.
One thing the death of your loved one does to you is to leave the world suddenly empty. There’s a feeling that life will not go on – cannot go on. Who will you run to for advice? Who will massage your shoulders and tell you it will be fine? Who will you share all those silly ideas with and do all those crazy things with? Who will see all your shortcomings and still love you for who you are? It is tough, very tough. It will be as though the world has stopped moving, everything is on standstill and nature has turned its back against you.
But breathe… just breathe.
In the same vein, when you lose your best friend, there’s a realization that no matter what, you have to let go. And this realization can be painful. Sometimes, you want to hold on to the memory of your friend and bask in the pain of his demise, but the clock keeps ticking and the world waits for no one. No matter how you entomb your heart in ice and bury your feet in thick sticky mud, there’s a way life forces you to forge forward. It presents each dawn with fresh sunlight, grasps your hands and leads you ahead. But again, when the days fly, years pass and time is meant to heal all wounds, the wind sends a whiff of your best friend’s scent your way.
Don’t get it twisted, time does not heal wounds. Time only ensures that no matter how scorching these wounds are, it does not set you ablaze. Time ensures that while you remember your best friend, you also remember that as long as you are alive and still in this world, you have to keep moving, pushing, and growing. The death of a loved one shouldn’t put a halt to your life.
So have you lost your best friend? We know, we understand the pain. And although we cannot tell you to forget this pain, we can only encourage you to remember your friend at all times. Remember the good times you spent together and remember the good life he/she had. Remember that they are all in better places now – free of the complexity of the world. But also remember that your own journey in this world has not ended and you have to move on.
So mourn all you want. Remain in that dark place – secluded from the world – and let those fat tears fall off your eyes. Let this grief surge through your veins – jerking your knees till they buckle beneath you. But don’t forget that pain does not last forever and you will eventually be alright. When the time comes, leave the darkness of your grief and step into the light.
Don’t forget to live life – that is what your friend would have wanted.