A Friend In Death

Everything in life happens for a reason. Nothings just happens for the sake of it, believe me.
Death too has a way of teaching us a lesson.
Sometimes, however, we don’t live to find out what it was..

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Yesterday I re-connected with an old London-friend of mine. It was funny (weird, rather than hilarious) in a way, because I had long hoped to stumble upon him again. It was more of serendipity, I dare say, as I was actually hoping to talk to someone else: yahoo messenger! In the last five years I’ve only seen him online twice. Partly, perhaps, because I hardly ever sign in. The last time I did, I wrote him but got no response (that must have been in 2010); yesterday, to my surprise, I did get one.. and that immediately.

He had never been one to speak much (to me) or pay (me) much attention, and so I was more than confused at his kind words and wish to actually talk. Had he changed? Oh well, life does have a way of touching, twisting, and changing people; so guess life finally got through to him too. We spoke a bit, saw a bit (webcam) and when he was to leave his friend’s place and go home, he told me he’d be back later. And did he come back? He sure did. I don’t know why exactly but I was really touched.
Apart from the moments when we were actually together, he cared very little about me; what I was doing, if I was okay. He’d call and hang up suddenly, ignore calls, or suddenly cut you off. Then, he wasn’t really much of a (good) friend at all. If it wasn’t fun, he wasn’t there. It was as simple as that, really. But this was a different person. Still with a smile and a joke, but with much more heart. Was it that he had matured? When he told me they had “taken light” again (he is now back in Abuja) and that his laptop would soon go off, I smiled. How nice to forewarn me. I just instinctively felt something profound must have happened. It’s difficult to explain, and although I am more than sure no explanation on here would adequately describe his old self or my perplexity at his new self, I very strongly felt he had actually changed into a genuinely nice person. What had happened?

“You know, I guess my life changed when I lost my younger brother. Trust me, I am not the same person any-more.  I am no more what I used to be. I have changed.”

And there it was. There was the sigh, the frown, the tears, the understanding of why he had changed.

Death.

His younger brother had come to London to enrol at university, but as he had issues with his Visa, he needed to go back home to sort out a few things. Days before his scheduled flight back home, he disappeared. Two weeks later his body was found in river Thames.. dead!

I guess the change happened when he had to make that dreaded phone-call to his mother. Her son would not come home. Not alive, not at all. He was to be buried in London.

Death has a way of teaching us things.

Was there a lesson in his brother’s death? Maybe. For him? I don’t know.

“My brother was schizophrenic.”

But there was a lesson in there for him somewhere, I guess. For it had made him kind.

“I never really understood what it meant, you know, being schizophrenic. I only understood after. Maybe there were voices telling him what to do, to jump into the river.”

We don’t really have much in this life.

The clothes we wear, the houses we sleep in.. borrowed goods. The food we eat, we digest. The places we visit and all our experience.. they are but memories. Everything (both the tangible and the unseen) fades away.
I guess all we really have is what now is. The pleasures of the moment. Things you buy can be stolen; and even those things you believe you own, can be taken away from you. Those things that once were, may no longer be; and those you hope for, may never come true. All we have been given in this life is a permission to enjoy or hope for certain pleasures now; whatever they may be.

We labour, toil and sweat for ourselves and our kids, but who is to say either of us will live long enough to enjoy the fruit of it all?

Death has a way of showing up like a thief in the night..

His mother refused to attend the burial; and she still refuses to believe her son is really gone. Even two years on.
No morning, no grieving. Only a heart full of sorrow and pain.

No wonder he is kinder today. He has learnt to appreciate moments, people, love..

It seems a very light thing to dedicate this post to the departed brother; and so I shall not.
I have no memories of him, his life, his wishes, his hopes, his aspirations. I don’t know what course he was about to enrol in, or what he enjoyed doing in his spare-time. I know nothing of the sort. It wouldn’t be right for me to dedicated this post to him. I was not close enough to take that right. Relationships are a privilege.
However, he must have been rather special, for he had the power to change his brother into a rather loving and lovable being. And that speaks of much. A change that is not superficial or shallow in the least, but one even I could sense from miles away.

Let us not wait for death to show up for us to show love. There are no friends or brothers or lovers in death. Death parts..

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