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Letter to my son

My dearest beloved Chike;

Was that your shadow in the hallway today? Was that your face in the distant crowd? Did I hear you laugh out loud? I saw a rainbow in the sky today - tell me beloved son, did you send it my way with love? I see your likeness at every turn, you're with me still son, in oh so many ways - through every minute, every hour of everyday .

All I ever wanted was to give you strong wings, to be there when you tested them against the windy places and newfound spaces.

All I ever hoped for was to be there if you needed a cushion if you fell. Now it must suffice that you are soaring in places, new spaces I cannot see; that someone new watches over you, helping you watch over your family, till we re-unite in our heavenly celestial home.

While you were still a young boy, your grandfather named you 'Ozuomba'; how prophetic, because in your short life span, you connected empathized and positively impacted everyone, from every walk of life you came in contact with. Witness my son the outpouring of love your memory evokes. Your friends from Kings Canterbury Secondary School in England will be in our midst for a last cheerio; I know you'll be over the moon as you watch in dignified silence.

After law school you were adamant you wanted to relocate from England to Nigeria to try your hand in the oil business, you said it would provide you the foundation you needed to make the difference in your country you dreamed about. I thought then son, it was a marvelous idea, now, I know for sure God sent you home to bond for a prolonged sweet goodbye. And what a goodbye it was! Your boundless youthful optimism brought me untold joy at a time I needed it most in my life. You opened my heart to untold untapped emotions.

Memories come flooding in of our times together these past couple of years. Thank you son, I will forever cherish them. Our vacation in Dubai was a blast and I chuckle now at that promise you made when we saw that beautiful diamond in the store window, I thought it was too expensive but you thought it would not compare to the one you were going to buy me someday! I'll always remember son, you said I was worth it and more! Sunsets in Mauritius and Johannesburg will never be the same. You had lofty dreams and were positive Nigeria would be at par with all the exotic sites you saw, after your generation was done transforming it! While some were cynical about your dear country, you called it the land of milk and honey!

Your steely determination never ceased to amaze me. I can still hear the tenacity in your voice those days things did not go quite the way you planned them. You always assured me you were young and not afraid of failure. You were always going to dust yourself off and keep trying 'till you met with success. I will miss our evening sessions reviewing your day's activities. You were so quick to grasp how business worked in Nigeria; you were poised to beat your mother at her own game on her own turf! I gave you shoulders to stand on and you saw farther than I ever could have imagined! These memories are forever seared in my heart and I thank god for having given me YOU.

I am tempted to say goodbye Chike, but beloved son death is nothing at all. Yes, you have turned the bend and slipped into eternal life, but I am I and you are still you, what we were to one another, we still are! I'll still be listening for your calm soothing voice when things get tough. Though you are now out of sight, you will never be out of mind. There will be unbroken continuity.

"A light from the family is gone
A voice we loved is stilled
A place is vacant in the home
Which never can be filled
We have to mourn the loss of one
We would've love to keep
But God surely loved him best,
Has finally made him sleep."

Saying a permanent bye would have been the hardest to do but what hurts the most is not having the chance to say it to you. "If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you back again", but my grief can never be such that I would challenge the Master's plan. Your departing left me with precious memories that I will fill the void with remembered joys. I will always see your face in the morning sunlight and your reflection in the stars and moon at night.

Eternal Love,

A heart of gold

It is difficult to fully describe a man as phenomenal as Chike Edward Obiora Nnabuenyi Okoli (Ozuomba!!!).

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