How do I say; Lulu, till we meet again!
I can’t even express what I feel deep inside of me.
How do I tell myself this is real?
How do I treasure life, knowing that I will die someday?
By happenstance, I met Lulu on Crimsonbow platform. An initiative for sickle cell warriors to find solace in one another. A platform I left after a short while for personal convictions that I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; however, I gained a lifetime friend. Lulu was there since that day in my life. Gone so soon is the word. Is this really it? Lulu, till we meet again?
Lulu and I became closer each day after I shared an entry into my diary. It was a day I will never forget, the day I looked death in the face and said – NOT TODAY! It was my birthday on the 24th of October 2017. Lulu was warm and kind and very understanding. To put it differently, she could relate with anything you said or felt and would always smile with those dimples that illuminated her face. Is this how I will not see your happy face anymore? Lulu, till we meet again?
I wouldn’t call myself her best friend. To tell the truth, I wasn’t even close to that. To be friends with anyone is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It is not something we learn in school. On the contrary, a friend is a gift you give yourself. I was that regular friend who knew how to have a friend and be a friend, is a gift that makes life worthwhile. In all honesty, it felt good I had someone who was always a WhatsApp message away.
Lulu was that person who particularly enjoyed my gospel videos on my WhatsApp status. She made me laugh over WhatsApp DP’s or a new gist on social media. The days I stopped uploading, she would ask, Twinkle, what is wrong? Lulu was never judgmental, but there were days Lulu was silent. Those days, my uploads felt empty – she was fighting her own wars. Wars Lulu always won.
In as much as I knew Lulu was going through a rather tough time, I prayed for her to find peace and love life more. Amidst those tough times, I would pretend I did not know she was having a tough time but would tease her that she hasn’t shared a recent photo of herself, just to cheer her up. Oh, Lulu loved pictures!
She took every opportunity to show us her new hairstyle or girlie look for a party. Lulu would even send a picture of herself in the hospital. We would all laugh or even comment by saying “Lulu, even on the hospital bed, why so fine?” We would laugh and take turns to call her to be sure she was doing okay. I will forever miss those days Lulu, till we meet again.
I forgot to mention that Lulu never missed the chance to ask us in the group to check on one another when she felt lonely. She encouraged us to never underestimate a simple “hello”. While others took more time to be closer than a friend, I only regret I never got the lucky chance to see Lulu. Despite all our video calls, she is one girl I wish I physically met. I wish I got to see the brand ambassador face of our SCI Group.
Zandy put me on that group call on the 30th of July to inform me of Lulu’s death. It was the most painful thing to hear since the lockdown. Amid that sacred consciousness not to despair, even when I said in my alarm, “Oh, Lulu, till we meet again”, I felt nothing, but emptiness. I couldn’t believe it. I could not ask God “why”, neither could I bring myself to say, “Whatever my lot, Thou hath taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul!”
If I knew that I would be saying Lulu, till we meet again, I would have done more video calls than I did. I would have not given up on my calls on the night of the 29th of July when Patrick asked that I send Lulu a message with his alternative number.
I wouldn’t have let go of my effort to reach Lulu as soon as I realised my WhatsApp messages did not deliver and my calls were not ringing, I should have been a nuisance at it and pestered on. Instead, I sent a text message believing I would speak with Lulu in the morning, connecting her back with Patrick. The morning never came; Lulu never got to read my text message. I never got the chance to say for the last time “Hey Beautiful, how are you today?”
I guess I will say all that there is to you when we meet again.
How can I prepare for death and dying?
How can I treasure this life better, knowing that I will someday die?
If I were to die today, what would I regret not doing?
How do I treasure the people in my life, knowing that they will someday die?
These are questions that have kept me awake until I wrote this down in my diary.
As a group, we planned so many failed hangouts until we all had to embrace social distancing. We were always so distanced even before the word “Social distancing” became the norm. Sadly, I also never got around to sending Lulu those t-shirts she wanted badly from Lagos. It was supposed to be my surprise. I really wanted to make her eyes sparkle with joy. I wish I could turn back the hands of time to fulfil that desire of Lulu.
My dearest Lulu, you had no time to say goodbye.
Your death is the definition of the word “untimely”.
Your journey though has now ended, you have opened your eyes to eternal bliss. This is to say, your face is one I will always remember.
I know that God has you in his glory, rest in peace, my friend – Nneoma Ejiogu. May the passage of time heal our grief and my sincerest condolence to Lulu’s priceless family.
Lulu, till we meet again!
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