Tribute to FO Babajide Afolabi Afonja

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Dear Jide,
November 7, 2016 will mark two decades since you passed on November 7, 1996…so full of life, love and many dreams for both of us. With the unbelievable void and emptiness, my life changed forever. I’m sorry I waited 20 years to write you this letter…

The fact is I never knew I could survive this long after you died. I felt there was no reason to live anymore. After all, our dreams together were shattered when you passed on less than two years into our marriage at the age of 31.

I was just in my early twenties and had no bearing…. I felt lost. Sweetheart, I still remember that painful reality that was too devastating to comprehend. The hardest part of losing you, Jide, is learning to live without you…. your touch…. unfulfilled dreams. Your death will continue to stay with me … the burden never goes away.

It was more tragic losing you in a plane crash because I had to openly mourn you with the public interest in plane crashes, which added more pain to the trauma.
The tragedy of your death was just too much for me to bear especially since I was just through with NYSC, without a job and eight and a half months pregnant for our second child, Mayowa. You are my one true love…. Irreplaceable.

Sweetheart, I was angry with God for taking you away so soon and leaving me vulnerable and broken. I hung on to every shred of hope that the Julius Berger crane would pull out the body of the aircraft from the Itoikin swampy river at Ejirin and maybe, just maybe, you could be one of the survivors. That kept the fire of hope burning in me. I held on to that hope of a miracle from God.

My family and friends let me hang on to that hope for my sanity sake. I was angry with ADC Airlines when they informed you were presumed dead. I wanted everyone to focus on getting the body of the aircraft out from the swamp…to save you.

When eventually the reality hit me… I wallowed in disbelief … self-pity. My life became more focused when I got my job and concentrating on it thankfully kept me going. It has enhanced my confidence level and is an enjoyable source of diversion from my pains.

Sweetheart, I’m doing better now. Putting God first, being with the kids and love from those who care about the kids and I keep me going. I see you in the kids. I know you would be proud of how well they have turned out… amazing young adults now. I have a peaceful relationship with Mummy (your mum) who always gives me a listening ear and prays with me when life’s frustrations become too much. I really don’t know how she copes with her own pains…. I know God is on the throne! Daddy Ibadan, and his wife have the kids and me in their prayers always.

Sweetheart, Your death has made me really appreciate the beauty of marriage and companionship. It goes beyond sex. I counsel my friends and all to enjoy their marriages and partners because life is indeed too short I wish you are here to see how well your fragile Uloma has grown…
So sweetheart, I’m sorry…

I’m sorry I didn’t say I’m sorry that often
I’m sorry I complained about you going without me to watch Lagbaja in Ikeja
I’m sorry I complained about your demanding job. I have one now and I love it.
I’m sorry I didn’t go with you to watch Yanni play Live
I’m sorry I refused to relocate to the U.K
I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I complained ……….. About anything
Sweetheart, I’m glad I met you. You indeed wooed me…were patient enough to wait for me to love you in return as deeply as you did… You loved me my naivety and imperfections Njide and Emeka still play Yanni Live in the Acropolis in your memory. They are always there…. faithful as ever.

Indeed, God has neither left nor forsaken our children (Jide & Mayowa) and me. He has been meeting us at the point of our needs. The children have your eclectic taste in music, way beyond their age. I do not compare. Rather, I have learned to count my abundant blessings. This doesn’t mean it’s easy… no it’s not. I still struggle and fall…. after all I am only human and still work-in-progress.

Most times people ask me how I cope. I try to live each day as I see it, and hold on to
God when it’s way too much to bear. I know He is always there.
Sweetheart I don’t know what the future holds for the kids and me. But one thing is sure in our lives; that the “promises of God are certain but they do not all mature in 90days”… I hold on to His promises.

Rest on my darling until we meet to part no more. Father God, thank You for always being there for the children and I no matter what we face. I know you will never fail me, even in my most intense trials. Lord, please remove all the sorrow and grief I feel sometimes in this my journey of life…help me to trust you more. I ask this in the name of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.