They say there are four or five stages of grief, but since I learnt of your passing, I have been stuck in the shock stage. I have wandered between shock and disbelief since the wee hours of Saturday when I stumbled on the Facebook post that would send me into a state of sadness that I last experienced when I lost my father. And since then, I have asked no one, in particular, the question, “How can Emilia die?” Indeed, how plausible is it that you no longer exist in this realm. It’s the most preposterous thing; bereft of a scintilla of logic, yet I find myself writing this piece…talking about you in the past tense.
It’s the wildest thing ever!
I have read our last chat more times than I can count, wondering if I should attempt to chat you up to see if there’s a modicum of chance that you would respond, and then I’d be able to say it was all a lie. A figment of a mischievous human’s imagination; a silly individual’s rancid joke.
You know how someone would be rumoured to be dead and then they would come out to debunk the news? Yes, I had hoped something of that sort would happen.
But it’s been silence from your end.
I don’t know how to deal with this, Emilia. I am clueless. Lost. Disoriented.
I have continued to ask how you can be in a perpetual immobile state because you are one person who had many reasons to still be here.
Your drive, your ambition, your network of friends and associates, aside your family were enviable.
For someone who was only 33 years old, you had achieved many feats.
I’m not about to start reeling out your impressive accomplishments, but now that I look back, I cannot help but wonder if you sensed your time would be short, hence, the inimitable energy and passion you poured into your projects.
Like Jesus, you needed only 33 years to show the rest of us how to make an impact within a short time.
You were a good friend, Emilia.
I can’t remember how we met or the first conversation we had, but I can never forget who you were to me. Especially, how you were always concerned about my career trajectory even before you met me.
You cared and you never failed to show it.
You shared job opportunities with me all the time. You gave me gigs when I lost my job and continued to do so even after I found my feet again.
How can I ever forget that?
You had no airs; it wouldn’t have been surprising if you did because you had reasons to be slightly arrogant, at least. But the Emilia I eventually met one late morning on the second floor of her office building in Ilupeju was unassuming.
I can remember smiling to myself and thinking, “She’s chubby, just like me”.
You had the looks, you had the brains…but more importantly, you had the heart. One that was full of empathy and compassion.
I’m gutted, Emilia.
To think that I and many others have been deprived of the opportunity to see you again…to smile with you and share knowledge and enjoy the pleasure of being in the company of your brilliant self makes my heart ache even more.
In your usual fashion, you had contacted me about an attractive job opportunity, asking me to recommend someone, and I had replied that I would look through my contacts.
That was the last conversation we had before your demise.
Now, I rue the missed opportunity to have known you better. Maybe if I wasn’t so introverted, I would have pursued a deeper friendship with you. One that would that ensured we engaged beyond our career pursuits. I should have attended that family function you invited me to. I had assumed there would be many others.
I was wrong.
We always think we have time. We don’t.
I thought I would have many more with you; that has proven to be false.
If I feel this way, I can only imagine how those closest to you feel…your parents, your siblings, your besties (if you had any), but I am holding out hope that somehow, we will all find the strength to trudge on.
I’m sorry, Emilia.
You had so much more to give, but I’m guessing, God wanted you with him because you are such a superstar.
Maybe we did not appreciate your genius enough on this side.
I choose to believe it’s the reason he wanted you to himself so soon.
That thought provides some comfort.
You have run your race, my dear friend. Now, it’s time to rest.
I love you eternally.