It’s almost a year since we lost our friend and course mate Emma.
I met Emma in the year 2017 during exams in school. He was seated all alone, all by himself. I observed him for a while and then thought to walk up to him and broke the silence. I got closer, I said to Emma, “hi, good afternoon. What course are you offering?” He responded and I said, “oh wow! We are offering the same course. So what exams do you have today?” He told me and I said, “oh well, that’s the same exam I’m having today too.” I sat beside Emma, he actually looked sick. You would know instantly that he wasn’t that strong, you would see it in the way he carried his body and how his body was always shaking. We talked that very day like we’ve known each other our whole lives. He told me about the university he was attending, why he left and had to start all over again from 200 level in our school. He talked about how he lost his dad and also his only sister. And then he finally talked about himself, he had an illness and that required him to keep taking sugar as his body needed it, he had lived that way all his life.
From that very day forward, I made up my mind to be there for him. I didn’t make it known verbally, but I tried my best in my own little way to be sure he was okay. Each time we were in school and Emma starts sweating profusely, he would quickly rush to get a bottle of soft drink and then one day, I asked why, and his response was, “I have to keep taking sugar.” Right there, I realized how we who happen to not have any kind of illness don’t even appreciate the good health the Creator has blessed us with. Like sometimes we complain too much and forget to be grateful for good health.
Oh well, I made sure I helped find a car for him after exams sometimes, I would just plead with some students who have cars and are going his direction to help just to be sure he was safe. Even of they wouldn’t get to his destination, at least to cut cost as well. And so I would wave him goodbye afterwards before heading my own destination. With time, I introduced him to my other friends Chibueze and Daniel. We were all course mates and then we became more than friends–we became family. We would eat together, read, play and laugh together. Chibueze and I would always fight for meat, but Emma would always share his with me, he was selfless. The pain I still feel in my heart writing this though! Emma was the quiet one, most of the time while we are being loud, playing and laughing, Emma would be quiet.
Emma rarely post on social media, in short he doesn’t post. I had to create a WhatsApp group just so the four of us could and would always communicate. But then, Emma just doesn’t like bothering anyone with his challenges, he preferred to keep to himself most of the time. And then, during the lockdown last year, I was going through a difficult time. All the times I was making the beads I kept posting on my WhatsApp status that I sold thag period, I was ill and that illness really got to me, I was also on medications and some injections. Emma chatted me up during that period, I think in the month of May or so and said, (I forgot to take a screenshot to save just for memories sake though) He said, “Gloria, something good is coming for you.” I was shocked because we hadn’t talked in a while and I just wondered how he knew I was going through something at that point in time and needed to hear those words. And I said, “why did you say that?” Because I didn’t really put out the stuff I was going through at the time, so how did he figured? I asked myself. He said, “I was just moved to tell you that.” And then I said, “okay, thank you.”
Fast forward to the last time I saw Emma was last year September, that was after the lockdown in school. I was with Chibueze and Daniel when I noticed Emma entered the school gate and I said to Chibueze and Daniel, see Emma. And immediately I called out to him, because the four of us are always together reading during exams. Before he got to us, I said to Chibueze and Daniel, “see how big Emma has become, this isn’t looking good at all.” He came and we all began to tease him, like see how big you’ve become. He said it’s food. I just didn’t believe it was food. How can a skinny guy become that big and round overnight? That can’t be possible I said to myself. And then I remember my mom always say when someone becomes that big when they are ill, then rarely would that person survive. Oh! I became really sad deep within but didn’t show it. On that day, we were supposed to sit for an exam, but then, the four of us missed that exam because we didn’t even know when they called in. Oh well, we didn’t feel bad much. Also, I remember I pleaded with Emma that fateful day, I said, “Emma, I’m so sorry, you missed this exam because of me. If I hadn’t called you, you wouldn’t have missed it.” With a smile on his face, he said, “don’t worry, it’s fine okay? It’s not your fault at all.”
When Daniel was about driving off with Emma, I said to him, “Emma, I’ll call you later okay?” Because I was already worried seeing how big Emma became and was really curious. I just couldn’t wait to know what was wrong with him. He can’t tell me it’s food, plus I also figured he didn’t want to tell in the presence of Chibueze and Daniel. After Emma and Daniel had left, I kept telling Chibueze I didn’t like how Emma looked before we went our separate ways as well. Later that evening, I called Emma. We talked for a while and then I kept asking questions, he then finally told me he was hospitalized during the lockdown and that he almost lost his life. He then added that he was doing fine and still taking some medicine. And that was the last time we ever spoke. That was at the end of September.
I got caught up with life challenges and didn’t keep up with checking up on Emma. The rest of the exams Emma sat for that semester were all e-exams and three of us had done all those exams already, and so there wasn’t any need for me, Chibueze and Daniel to go to school for those exams he sat for. Fast forward to November 2020, I became worried as Emma’s thought kept flooding my mind, I was feeling something had go wrong because I just couldn’t understand why, and so I picked up my phone to call. When I heard a lady’s voice when I called Emma’s number, I just knew Emma was gone. I said, “hi, good evening, please I want to speak with Emma.” She didn’t say anything, but ended the call and then I called again. She then said they lost him. Oh! That’s the second death that has ever broken me. The first was a secondary school class mate of mine, Hauwa Mohammed.
Immediately, I called Chibueze and Daniel to break the sad news. And I said, we’ll have to go visit his family. Truth be told, we’ve never been to his house, so we didn’t know where he stayed. We only had a clue that he stayed at Mararaba a place in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. So I had to keep in touch with the lady who had told me about Emma’s passing. I told her we wanted to visit and she told and directed us on how to get to their house. We planned and visited. His mom was most grateful to us. She told us, she said, “Emma went for exams the previous day o… He was actually complaining he wasn’t feeling well. It was me and Emma who left the house together that morning to the hospital, Emma walked with his legs with me to the hospital and that was the end. Emma didn’t graduate” As she narrated, she began to cry again. She also said, “Emma passed on the 17th of November, 2020, and we just buried him last week. The way your school is, I don’t even know he would know anyone there. It’s good to see that he has friends.” She appreciated us, and we finally prayed with her as well.
You see, it’s pathetic to know that most of the time we get carried away with the cares of this present life that we forget to care and or check on those closest to us. We keep feeling that money and every other material thing we are pursuing is more important, whereas in the real sense, what matter most is, “quality relationships.” Relationship with people. And sometimes, we regret so much after we must have learnt our lessons the hard way. Yea, I know right! But then, there’s no need dwelling in regrets though! We can always step up and do better. That’s the whole essence of life and living–Growth! Have you checked on that person that has been in your thought lately? I think you should already!
In the above picture, we all gathered together because we had a seminar presentation in school. We had to come with different topics but finally went with Emma’s. This day me and Chibueze were just gistting and laughing, Daniel went to work that Saturday as he was working at the bank at the time. So he needed to be at the ATM he told us. It was only Emma who prepared everything we presented in school that day and guess what? We were a group of four and we all had B. I shed tears writing this yesterday/today. Emma wasn’t perfect, but he was only human. Emma was intelligent and spiritual. Beautiful handwriting he had also. But today, does all of those things matter anymore? No, they don’t. The only thing we now hold dear is his memories. I’m sharing this today so we can learn to do better and learn to place people who matter first above all else. Let’s not forget that we all need each other and that we are here for all of us. Let’s be united by and in love as where all else fail, love remains as love never fails. We as a group all fight sometimes, but we also laugh and appreciate each other more. I urge you all to always document some moment with love ones if not all. Because one day, that’s all we would be left with.
I guess we all individually thought to do better since Emma left us, and then my birthday came in the month of June this year, Chibueze and Daniel planned to take me out and they did. They left every other thing that day just to see me happy and the time that was spent together on my birthday was all that mattered. We played and laughed so hard. Daniel was also going through some challenges that period, but he still made time to see me happy. Now, that’s what building quality relationship is all about. That’s what family is all about. Life is more about people (relationships), not things. I only hope Emma is in a better place and I pray we keep uniting in love as long as our time here would last for.
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Love and light!