Nineteen or Ninety

My grandmother passed on four months ago.

I was at the office when my little brother called me with the news.

Granny was 97, had lived life to the fullest and had been waiting patiently to go home.

I still couldn’t quite accept her death when it came.

I remember being numb and unable to cry. But the sense of loss was great.

She had always been there and in my mind, she would always be there so the idea of her being no more was something I found rather hard to accept.

Granny nicknamed me “Gogo” and that name stuck on me like glue.

She was sick the last part of her days. Well, old people sickness. Her knees mostly. She would lie in bed more than half the day, she would eat only little portions of food and she would tighten her fist around her rosary.

Whether they are 19 or 90, the loss of a loved one is never quite easy to bear. When people consoled me on Granny’s death, I found myself saying “Naah, it’s cool. She was 97. She don chop life” but deep down in my heart was a nagging pain, a void created that would never be filled.

With each loved one lost, it feels like a part of me dies.

I felt that way when Kess died. I felt that way when Femi (Ribadu) died. I felt that way when IK my cousin was murdered.

I felt like they had taken a part of me away forever and with each passing day, I find myself trying to adapt and adjust, in spite of the number of years that have passed.

Kess died about 5 years ago but I still dream about him. It’s not like we dated or anything. He was just a really great friend that sickle cell took away from me.

With Ribadu, I think it was kinda worse. A young, jovial guy went jogging, slumped and died. 2 years ago. Till tomorrow, I’ll never be able to wrap my head around it.

Kess and Ribadu were both less than 20 when they died.

IK. Each time I visit his home, a part of me expects him to show up and tease me as usual. IK passed on 8 months ago. His memory is something I have kept somewhere safe, never to be tampered with. IK was 26

Saturday night, Nosa my friend told me about his dad’s passing.

And tonight, it’s Raphael’s dad.

You know how you want to console or encourage someone and you try to let them know that you feel their pain?


For Nosa and Raph, I had no words.

The ages did not matter, they were loved ones. And as the case with most of us, we sometimes expect our loved ones to live forever. We expect them to be in their homes every evening. We expect to receive phone calls from them and we expect them to pick up ours. We expect that they’ll be at their next birthdays, probably throwing a party. We expect that they would never go away from us.

But because life, we wake up one morning and they’re no longer there.

Whether they were 19 or 90 doesn’t exactly make it any less painful. My mum and her sisters cried like babies at granny’s funeral. With all my boss lady attitude, I cried too. I had grown up to know and love that woman with everything that I am.

Occasionally, I think about her and that nagging pain returns, a void in my heart that will never be filled. I most certainly will not have another grandmother, ever again. Same thing with Kess. And Ribadu. And IK. No matter how many people I meet, there’ll never be another Kessiena Uyobvisere. There’ll never be another Femi (Ribadu) Ademiju. And there most certainly will never be another cousin, Ikechukwu Amanambu.

What’s my point tonight?

Make every moment count with your loved ones. Life is too short to not foster great relationships and build fantastic memories. No matter how important a person is to you, they can never be with you forever. So make every moment count.

For you Raph, I pray you find strength and comfort in Jesus. I have absolutely nothing to offer.

4 thoughts on “Nineteen or Ninety

  1. It’s the permanence of death that makes it deeply painful, same difference at 19 or 90, not seeing your loved one EVER again really hurts.

    Very profound and well-written.


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