My cousin Obi died yesterday.
Long before I knew, I found myself frantically searching for the house on Ogedengbe Road where he used to live in Apapa when we were children.
I stared at the gate on Street View for the longest time, remembering how we used to play there, and all the good and bad times we had.
I didn’t know why, but I just got home this evening and Mummy told me she had bad news, “Obi is dead”.
I fell on the ground and started crying and it felt like I was choking.
I went on Instagram and saw my cousins’ posts and I knew it was true.
I knew he was gravely ill, but I suppose I thought the medical science necessary to support him through a normal lifespan was there and so I thought his life would just continue being an endless blur of hospitals and doctors and drugs.
I feel so sad for him.
Last year we spoke on the phone at length and he told me all about the many procedures he had had and how much he was struggling and I felt like he just wanted to unburden himself and was relieved I was there to listen.
I hate that I didn’t know how to confront the stark reality of his illness because I have been caught up and tied down by my own illness.
So many young people I know have died, but his death hurts me so much because he suffered so long, but he faced it head on.
Uncle Chuba would have been very, very proud.
I wish you could have lived.
This isn’t the life I imagined for you.
This isn’t the death I imagined for you.
This isn’t the death any of us imagined for you.
I’m so sorry, Obiajulu.
Obiajulu Jideofor Okadigbo
November 9, 1987 – May 29, 2018
First of Enemies, First of Friends
Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un
Rest in Peace