Just under 24 hours ago, we buried my uncle. I said goodbye to a man who I had known and loved my whole life – it seems surreal. He was a funny, kind, gentle man, best known for his quiet, unassuming smile and his deep bellied laugh. I take some consolation in knowing that he died the way he lived, sharing that deep bellied laugh and surrounded by people who cared about him.
When you lose someone close to you, people try to comfort you in any way they can – they say things like “be strong”, “it is well”, “he is in a better place”, “God is in control” and so on, which is kind but the real truth is that no words or placation can take away the profound sense of sadness that an unexpected loss causes. We cry not just for a life cut short but for ourselves – never getting the chance to say goodbye, never again having those phone calls, those long conversations, those bear hugs, those shared quiet moments and so much more. We cry for our broken hearts, wondering if they will ever be made whole again.
We are such a close-knit family – it feels like someone has taken away a piece of our puzzle and it can never be replaced. I believe in God’s goodness and faithfulness. I know, or at least I believe, that He called my uncle simply because it was his time to go. I am constantly reminded that life is a gift and not a right and so we need to decide how we are going to make the most of our time here on earth. I am so grateful to have had my uncle in my life – I can’t think back to a moment when he had a harsh word or an angry conversation – he was always very relaxed about most things – I guess he understood that life, indeed, is short.
They say it is only in the time of crisis that you find out who really loves you and I am so thankful to the village of both family and friends who have encircled us with prayers, love, kindness and support. God bless you all.
My thoughts and prayers also go out to the family of Adenike Ogungbe of Ewar Makeovers who passed away during childbirth just a few days before my Uncle did. I didn’t know her well having only met her once but I was a fan of her work and she was a great talent. I pray God will grant her family solace and strength in this tremendously difficult period and she may rest in perfect peace with my dear uncle.
I’ll just leave you with this poem which my sister found, which I thought was remarkably beautiful and I like to think is what my dear uncle is thinking as he looks down on us. You may find some comfort in it if you have ever lost someone close:
“Miss me, but let me go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free
Miss me a little – but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me – but let me go
For this is a journey that we must all take
And each must go alone
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home
When you are lonely, and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me – but let me go”
Sleep well dear Uncle Ebi for I know this is not goodbye but simply till we meet again in the Father’s Kingdom. God bless you always.