Pain Never Gets Old

I wasn’t going to write a post today. Probably because I didn’t want to interrupt the language discussion going on in the post below. Right now that particular post is distracting me from all the feelings I’d rather avoid today.

Yesterday morning I was going through my inbox and I found a really old email… from my friend Zikora. He sent it in August 2005, just before we were supposed to come back to Loyola to start SS3 first term. The term that at the end of which, he died. There wasn’t anything particularly profound about the email (I’ll post it here later on). It’s just that that email is one of the few scraps I have holding his memory together. Death is such an unreal thing. I know we’re all constantly aware of it, but it still feels unreal. It feels so weird. Like how can he be laughing, talking, and looking at me one minute and then be disconnected from his body and this world the next? I’m still confused.

Pretty much every person that went to Loyola that has a blog has a post up about this today. Bob-Ij has one up, and Pea tweeted and Facebooked about it. Mi-chan has a poem up, and Bez did an interview about it. I swear I wasn’t going to say anything because I found that one innocent email, promising to see me in school and reminding me that I had gist to spill for him, and I well and truly cried.

You’d think it wouldn’t still hurt by now. Four years later. How the hell did I leave him behind, frozen in time four years ago? He’s still sixteen. Now he’ll always be sixteen. And now, even if I live to be 120, in my mind he’ll always be sixteen. The boy with the seemingly perfect exterior that didn’t really care about much unless it was important to him.. and a lot of things were – his parents, his Mom especially, his friends, his religion, his schoolwork, his reputation, his future. What happened?

I know I’m talking to a counselor about this, but sometimes I feel guilty that my imperfectly perfect friend died while I who can barely hold myself together long enough to get my bearings am still bumbling about this life trying to figure out what the hell I’m supposed to be doing exactly. Not that I want to die, but more that I would want for him to live. But maybe that’s why he died – because he had it all figured out. Maybe there was nothing more life could teach him or throw at him that he didn’t already have on lock. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t.

What I hate the most are the dreams I have where he’s alive. I keep dreaming that I see him and we talk and I hug him and never let go, and it feels so real. I can hear his voice as clear as day and everything. You have no idea how painful it is to wake up and realise that it was a dream. It’s beyond horrible.Damn you Loyola for not allowing cameras in school. Damn you. If it wasn’t for your stupid rules, I would have more than just one picture of him to remember him by.

I’m over trying to be over this. Who even wants to be over missing their friend? I miss him. I always will. I don’t know what happens after you die, but I really, really, really hope that we all get to see the people we love again and be together. I’m not one of those people that’s angling for “glory” in the kingdom of heaven. I don’t care if I’m a servant polishing the pearly gates. Frankly, the only thing that matters to me as far as death and the Afterlife are concerned are Peace, Happiness, and Togetherness with Loved ones. End of. I don’t need to be the commander-general in heaven’s army. I don’t need to be promoted to assistant to the second in command and hold dominion over millions of souls. I’ll leave that sort of thing to the World Domination types like Stewie and the Brain in Pinky and the Brain.

I haven’t been to his grave yet, but Pea attended his funeral. I heard he was given the best send-off and the funeral directors did their best work. In fact, I’d overheard some people saying they had never been to a funeral like this before. That just goes to show what a great person he was. We should all aspire to have a funeral like his, and with the help of final expense life insurance that can help to cover the costs of expenses you may have after you’ve passed, such as your funeral, then there is no reason why this can’t be possible. I just wish I could tell him all this in person. But I don’t think I’m quite ready to take a step forward just yet. I will visit one day, and it will hurt like hell, but he is my friend and nothing will keep me from bringing him a gift of flowers. I will visit one day. I promise. But just promising is so, so hard. Because visiting means accepting that when I say his name I won’t see his head turn, and that he’ll never borrow another book from me again.

It’s indescribable how much it hurts, even now. I have no illusions anymore. I fully expect it to hurt just as much next year. This is the point where I usually go off and do something self-destructive to drown the pain, but my shrink would be disappointed. And besides, today is not about me.

Today is for Zikora.

Zikora Okafor
Beloved Friend and Partner in Crime



There are 19 comments

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  1. leggy

    wait!!this is a small world oh!!you knew zikora?our families were best friends!!!zikora okafor and his sister chidinma died on that day!!!na wa oh.small world indeed.

  2. leggy

    @the experiences….’show the world’.
    ziko means show.
    ora means a crowd of people.
    then zikora means..’show the world’.
    i used to think it was english till they named my brother the same thing and it was explained to me.

  3. leggy

    its whatever you want to show the world…my brother’s own is zikoranamabiago..my mum really wanted a boy so she named him that meaning..’show the world that i have come’.
    there is also zikoranachukwudimma..which means..show the world that God is good.

  4. sugabelly

    @Leggy: I think Ora is the name for “everyone” rather than the world specifically. But of course, depending on the context (e.g. your brother’s name) it can be stretched to mean ‘the world’.

    But I think that particular context aside, Ora addresses everyone at once.

    So you could say something like ‘N cho ka ora lie tipu anyi puba’ – I want everyone to eat before we go out.

    But yeah, though, you’re right. Zikora means “Show the world” or “Show Everyone”. Obviously it probably has a longer version like your brother’s name but I think it also stands alone.

    And in correct grammar it would be written Ziko ora, but since it is a name, the contraction is an allowed convention.

  5. Vera Ezimora

    I don’t think one ever gets over death. Next month, it’ll be seven years since my uncle died. I’m not not anywhere close to being over it. It feels like it just happened yesterday.

    So I’m sorry for your loss, babe. May God give you – and especially Zikora’s family – the fortitude to bear the loss. Considering that he and his sister passed on the same day, I cannot possibly imagine what his parents went through and are still going through.

  6. munirat

    i was reading this, and my itunes decided to start playing..my heart, ur home by women of faith… kind of like a tribute to the post eh…it made me cry..
    RIP zikora, i never knew u, but i can feel the pain of loosing u, just like ur friends and ur parents and all who knew u.

    may the souls of the children that were lost in the sosoliso plane crash rest in peace in the bosom of God.

  7. wannabewriter

    wow it’s so weird…this post made me bawl like a baby even though i am reading it a month and some days later…..it just feels so painful even though i don’t know the victims except for pastor Bimbo (not personally though). Death is always unreal and feels unfair….i pray that everyone affected and their families would receive God’s peace…


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