Tribute To OluwaDolapo Ajayi: When There Are No Words, By Bisi Fayemi

My darling sister Eniola Olaitan Ajayi

I don’t know if I am going to be able to make any sense but I will try anyway. There are no words to describe what you are going through right now. I know there is nothing I can say to comfort you, so I am not going to try. I am also not going to tell you not to be sad, to take heart or to stop crying. What has happened to you is the worst nightmare of any parent.

As if the tragedy of losing a beautiful young woman so suddenly was not bad enough, the fact that it happened the day you were burying your father is too much to bear. As I sat with you and other friends staring at the lifeless body of your first-born child, I felt a sense of hopelessness and helplessness I have never felt before. I know we have said all kinds of things to comfort you, to hold you up and pull you from the darkness we all know you feel surrounding you. What I am writing to you now, I have shared with you in private. However, I want to share this publicly so that others who have experienced such a devastating tragedy and truly know what it feels like can reach out to you through their thoughts and prayers, even if they have never met you.

The only thing I want to do is appeal to you not to lose your faith. Through faith we have hope. With hope we can overcome and see the light at the end of the very long tunnel. Some things in this cruel world make no sense and the loss of your beloved daughter is one of them. Even as you feel your whole world collapsing around you right now, please know that you are surrounded by people who love you and will be there for you.

You might feel you are alone when you are left with your thoughts and deep personal agony. I can’t tell you not to despair. I can’t tell you not to feel pain. In fact, all these things are crucial for your grieving and healing process. It is going to be a very long and painful journey, one which I know you will be on till you draw your last breath. I am therefore begging you my sister, when you feel sad, remember the moments Dolapo gave you joy. When you are angry with the sheer wickedness of this world, remember her gentle spirit and the pride you took in all her achievements. And each time you remember what you shared I want you to smile, mentally at first, then as time goes on your smiles will become laughter again. When you look into the faces of Dolapo’s two sisters, I want you to always know she lives on through them. We all go through life scared of losing one thing or the other. We fear the loss of loved ones, livelihoods, material things.

On Friday, when we were in the hospital, as I took off the head-tie that had been so carefully layered on my head as well as my jewellery, you told me to stop and I shook my head. At that moment as I was removing all those things I was doing it because I wanted to acknowledge that we own absolutely nothing in this world. Our houses can get burnt or washed away by floods, our material possessions get stolen, we gain or lose positions. Spouses might leave or pass away. Our children are loans from God, and we go through life hoping that we leave first before the loans get called in. No matter how bad things are now, things will be better for you someday my sister.

Oh Lord our God, please comfort my sister

Let her not regret serving you all her life

Let her not have cause to doubt you exist

Please bless all those who are in pain at this moment

Please let them feel your light and the warmth of your spirit

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