As old as I am, I have never stop being amazed at how time flies?! – I often join in the rhetoric – where does time go?- Where does it indeed go, one wonders.
Only one year ago now did many receive those horrible phone calls, Blackberry instant messenger and text messages, I mean the one that announced the death of 153 people from a plane crash. The one that had many husbands, wives, friends, family bereft of their loved ones.
During this year, my elder sister who also lost a friend – Onyeka Anyene, will say to me in the middle of a conversation ‘so you mean Onyeka isn’t anywhere in this whole wide world?’ You mean he’s not even in Australia? (Australia, I’m sure for its distance from Nigeria).
While I shake my head to say no he isn’t; I’m wondering all over again if this indeed is how life is? – then why do we all carry on as though we can crystallise our lives or even worse other peoples? The frailty of life has never been clearer to me as the June 3, 2012, incidence made it out. Also, the cold reality that nothing stopped, that we all continued, all had to move on or move forward. All, except the very parents who lost their children or the wives who lost their husbands, and vice versa. One year on, I have watched the ones around me with much respect, one who’s my friend, I still have as much questions to ask (not enough still), is every day the same; do you think he travelled; what’s your hope for seeing him again?
What are you thinking, when I ask these questions among my other friends, they find it very irksome. I ignore them and agree with myself, that it is a way for us the bystanders to find some kind of peace too – knowing that the ones left behind are finding peace some how. When we’re in a group chatting, I look at my friend’s eyes from the corner of mine and marvel at how much things have changed for her and how much she has changed; no change to her original personality, for the warmth and sense of humour are still intact, there is now an added serenity, one that you might not detect if you hadn’t previously known her.
I peek often at a guy in my church who also lost his wife, I look from the corners of my eyes as I don’t want to be rude – again, I’m wondering what he’s thinking and how he is getting on. One day, I finally stopped to say ‘how is it going for you’- not sure what I expected, but the response gave some comfort. We aren’t God who heals you know, so we’ve got to let it go at some point.
I often wonder if along with our religious counselling centres, if we do have professional support for the grieving in Nigeria? I know of one though – the Art of Life Foundation, I remember being at their launch event many years ago, listening to the speech from the founder who was very keen (in her own words) to let her pain be useful to others, hence she started the foundation. I must have cried the most in the hall, no kidding, the Lady (Mrs. Taiwo I recall her name was) recalled the stages of pain – from when she heard the news, the shock, the disbelief, then acceptance, then extreme sorrow.
It was just too much for me to deal with that day, and so I let the tears fall unashamedly all over my make-up that evening. I find the more vocal like me are often the ones more easily floored by such emotions. As people begin to embrace the reality of their loss, as they begin to realise that if it is one year on, then it isn’t a dream, then we must thank God in all things, as the good book enjoins. We pay tribute to their memories, may it always be for a blessing, we keep praying for strength for their loved ones, that they find God’s peace each day.
Today, we remember specially Ehime Aikhomu, Tee’s ‘FineBoy,’ we remember the Anyenes and every single one who was on that ill-fated flight, the celebrated and the uncelebrated, may their lives be lessons to us who are left behind.