In kind and loving memory of Lawrence Emeka Okechukwu

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DEAR Emeka, I came online this night to read a post made by my younger brother Amaechi Nwora about your passing. I couldn’t believe it. We all had spent Christmas 2017 together as we normally do. You, shuttling between Nimo your hometown and Enugwu-Ukwu, my hometown and your adopted second home as usual.

By uche Nworah

Nothing prepared me for this rude shock. You were so full of life, smiling and bouncing as usual. You shared with me your plans of setting up a branch of your business in Awka, an idea I welcomed.

I was 15 and still in secondary school when your mum and dad entrusted me with the responsibility of becoming your Godfather. This made me become a father long before I had my own children. I remember vividly carrying you in my arms that morning many years ago as we stood before the officiating Reverend Father at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Aba waiting for you to be baptised. The Reverend Father had read to me my responsibilities to you, to love and care for you like my own son. As young as I was then, it never ceased to amaze me why your parents sought me out to play that role.  Thinking about this now, it was as if he had a premonition that he would shortly join his maker and so needed to ensure you were alright and will be looked after. I hope I tried.

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It could also be as a result of my role as a love emissary back then when your dad was still wooing your mum. He would normally pass messages and gifts to her through me. He was living at Aba then as a tenant in my father’s house, your mum, from Ogbunike was studying at the Teachers Training College (TTC) Enugu while I was a secondary school student at C.I.C, Enugu.

Over the years, I watched you grow and become a man taking over the duties of your dad who unfortunately passed when you were quite young. This made me to step up in my responsibilities to you, caring, supporting, advising and of course scolding where necessary. I scolded you this past Christmas over an issue and as the responsible son that you are, you took it in your chin and apologised to me. I called you all sorts of nicknames and you simply called me Chief. Always with that your trademark smile.

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I watched you grow, graduate from the university, become a man, set up a business, get married and God blessed you with a son. You told me last Christmas that you will bring my ‘Grandson’ and the mother to greet me. Unfortunately, this.

Though you were living in far away Abuja but we always managed to keep in touch through Facebook and occasional phone calls.

Dear Emeka, I wish there was something I could have done to prevent this. I never expected that I will describe you in the past. I loved you like my own son, in fact you were a son to me. I still don’t know what happened and why you had to go so soon.

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You were supposed to reverse the role in my later years and care for me too. Words fail me. Now I have to think of your young son, Emeka Jnr and the young wife you left behind.

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