Thief In The Night

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I wake up at 6:45am on Mashujaa Day and reach for my phone. There is a message in our family WhatsApp group. My younger brother Julius had sent a message shortly after midnight. I read it. Then I read it again. I want to quote it word for word in its entirety.

00:29

“Biko and June [my small sis] , remember my neighbour who was suffering from cancer, the one that you did some Christmas shopping for last year? She just passed on at 11pm. Her ravaged body lies on her bed now, mouth wide open. The duvets are all folded up. The wind is fluttering the curtains. It’s as if her spirit still lingers before it eventually leaves the window and heads up to the sky lit night. Beyond the moon and stars. To the world yonder. Her KQ bags hang above her bed, never to get to the airport again for work.

00:30

“Olly the little boy sleeps despite the wailing. He will wake up to a gone mother. Gone. With the night.”

00:57

He sent a picture taken in the dark of the night of the glowing windows of his neighbour’s house. (That’s the pic we have used up there). His caption for that picture read: ‘Death is here. The body lies beneath that window.’

Then he sent some pictures of the car that took the body away in the dead of the night. The body wrapped in sheets like a mummy. Tail lights glowing red in the night. Cancer in a body it can’t ravage anymore.

8:58

My big sis writes: “How old is the boy?”

8:59

Julius: “5 years old. She has three boys, one doing KCPE next week. She was the sole bread winner.”

9:02:

My sister replies: “It pains me. Of late I think of death and what would become of my children. I hope the Lord adds me years to see them on their feet as adults.”

I bet she cried after that. My big sister, Melvine, is very compassionate and a bit of a crier. I bet she didn’t even have breakfast after hearing of that lady’s death. Long-faced, she probably sat in her living room, staring at the cartoons on TV with her last born son, Gavin, without actually seeing it. I bet she thought of Olly, 5 years old and now motherless, blowing her nose amidst silent tears. I bet she will think about that woman for days and send Mpesa towards funeral arrangements. A year from now she will still be asking Julius; “Do you see the woman’s kids? Do they go to school? How are they?”  She reminds me so much of my mom. Actually, she is my mom now.  

I called my bro and said, “Do you have your laptop?” He had left it at work, he said, but he had an old one in the house. “Fire it up,” I told him, “Write for me something about that lady. Can you do it?”

“I can give it a shot”, he said.  

I said, “Don’t write it tomorrow, or this afternoon, write it now, right this moment when it’s raw, when you can still picture her lying there, still warm, when you can still see Olly sleeping, when you are feeling defeated with death. Kick the kids out of the bedroom, lock the door and write it. 1500 words.”

An hour later he emailed me something. I loved it. I asked him to spend the night with it, let it simmer and then look at it again the following day, because writing is in the rewrite.

Here it is. This is my last installment of the breast cancer awareness month. Thanks for reading.

***

By Julius Ougo

October, 19th, 2016.  We have managed to get a holiday in the middle of the week. Friday came early, midweek, something we all look forward to in this town. I retire early as I am wont to do every single night.   And then life unravels in a very short span.  The time: 11 pm.  

Somewhere deep in my sleep I see my wife (Anne) leave the room, and then in the same sleepy haze I see her come back and shake me awake.  Perhaps my daughter is dreaming for I can hear some wailing. Awake, she informs me that death was around. Of late, it had started looking like he was bound to visit, making it look a matter of when and not if. He had finally made it. And what timing!

I walk to our front balcony. Faintly, I hear the water pump whirring. The first thing I do is look up at the sky. It is a clear October night, the moon is out and the stars are shining brightly. No trace of any clouds.  

The front yard lights in the next compound are on. I can see them from my elevated position. I go downstairs to my front yard; I look at my neighbour’s bedroom window, the lights are on. We have been neighbours for 10 years. I have been fixated with this glowing window for the last one year. Normally, standing at my gate, my front balcony is to the left and the window to my right. That is Mama Olly’s home, her bedroom window. She has some nice yellow modern curtains that transfuse the light and cast a spell on the outside when the bedroom lights are on at night. And every single day I have returned from work, for the last one year, I have always stared at that bedroom with its curtains and lights as I open my gates or ring the bell. I have marveled at them, but been very conscious of the desolation behind that window. On some evenings, upon reaching the gate and ringing the gate bell, my daughters have exuberantly burst through the door to the balcony chanting, ‘Daddy!!  Daddy!!’ with the small one jabbering incoherent stuff that only she understands. Yet it is joy. The sounds of joy. And my eyes have always darted from my noisy happy balcony to the quiet yellow light window. A window so encased with pain. Emanating a light that seems so bright and yet depicts so much dimness. A window with a story. The story of man.   The contrast of the joy on the left and the pain on the right, all in one small space, has always gnawed at my very depths. How joy walks hand in hand with sorrow.  How sorrow talks to joy. And most importantly, the brazen truism, that one day roles might shift, in another realm, and the yellow window light might be me and the childish jabbering might be someone else.  And so the train of life chugs along.  Dropping some at the stations and moving on with others to destinations beyond.

There are evenings I have arrived at my gate, and found that light off and the window dark.  In one such instance I worked myself into such a frenzy, I almost flew into a fit. I ran upstairs and looked for Anne, to ask why the lights are off, only to be told, “Kina Olly have gone shags.”  Relief can never be described fully, so I will make no attempts at trying to illustrate the feeling that swept through me.  In yet another instance, the pit of my stomach tightened when I found the same lights off, only to be informed that she had gone for chemotherapy and was not yet back.  Even on the few Saturday evenings when I have come from having a drink, tipsy, I have not in one instance forgotten to pay homage to that window.

There is wailing today, muted but loud enough to pierce the still night.  I walk out of my gate with Anne and head to Olly’s gate.  The courtyard parking is empty. Everyone is probably out partying, getting the best out of this mini Friday.  Emmanuel, the young man, opens the gate. We dart inside the house and make our way hurriedly upstairs to the bedroom.

Mama Olly’s ravaged body lies on her bed. Her mouth wide open in the last motions of gasping for that elusive final breath. The duvets are folded neatly in a corner of the bed. The husband is standing next to the bed, with two older men.  They are trying to reach the local Officer Commanding Station (OCS) to report her demise. The ever diligent house-help is slumped on a seat next to the bathroom door. Inconsolable. The deceased sister’s chest is heaving, heavy sobs wracking it. Anne is standing totally still right beside me, she seems to be staring straight through the window into the darkness. For a moment I thought she had gone back downstairs.

I notice the wind from the window flutter the nice yellow curtains (I hear they are called sheers) like her spirit is still lingering, still hovering in the next bedroom, in that final act to kiss her beloved son’s head. Olly, five years old and daughter’s friend, sleeps through the din, ruckus, and wails. Oblivious that death is right here with us, in this room, running away with his mum. The wind flutters the curtain again and in my head, I see Mama Olly’s spirit filter through the window and head up towards the sky lit night. Up and up she goes, beyond the moon and stars, to the world yonder.  Looks like she is waving, bidding us bye, wondering why we are so sad and yet God has stepped in.  Is it that she is happy? Olly remains deeply asleep. He will wake up to a gone mother. Gone with the night.   

As the husband and the gentlemen leave to go to the police station to report the death, seems they have not been able to reach the OCS on phone, we also prepare to leave. I throw one last glance at the room. I notice her cute KQ bags which will never again make that trip to work at the airport, for death has visited and lowered the final curtain.  

And so we trudge back to our compound, to try and continue sleeping. Sleep eludes me. I walk back to the balcony and stare again at the stars in the sky. Walk back downstairs unconsciously to the front yard. I throw my eyes up to my neighbour’s window, the light filtering out through the yellow curtains, in a final gesture.  I take a photo of this moment, which in a short while will be gone forever, and freeze it in time. I know I will now be met by a dark window whenever I come back from work. I stare hard at that window. Mama Olly’s body is behind that window.

These last three weeks have been intense. She has been missing from the backyard where often we used to meet her basking in the sun, in her wheel chair, very jolly and chatty and confident.  Lately her distinct voice on phone at her backyard has also been replaced by the sight of laundry hang there to dry. Her calls to my wife dwindled and eventually reduced to nothing. Her mother, Olly’s grandma, has become a constant here now, always shuttling between Western province and Nairobi.  We used to bump into her occasionally at the 7 am Sunday mass, a woman so resolute and steadfast amidst the storm raging in her life. And she would always say hello. The husband, and I took notes about him, has shown no signs of betraying the very tumultuous time he is going through, nursing a sick wife, staying in India with her for several months, coming back and seeing the wife improve, only for the situation to turn around and hurtle downhill.  He has maintained the smile on his face, always calling me ‘jirani’ every time we met. What strength in the face of such intense adversity.

But death seemed to have run out of patience. And today he came. It’s almost 1.00 am. I switch off my water pump, as if to seek some final moment of peace for my neighbour in her transition. I wonder whether she heard the distant humming of the water pump as she drifted off to Elysium.

Cancer stalks the land, claiming lives, silently and stealthily.  It has just paid us another visit. In its wake it has left pain and despondency, brutally flung three young boys to a motherless life. Of the two, of Olly brothers in boarding school, one is due to sit his KCPE exams in a week’s time. Recalibrated a man’s life to not only be a father, but to become a caring mother as well.  It has reached for their hearts, wrung them dry and fled.  Mama Olly has fought for these boys.  Fought to stay with them, tooth and nail for the last one year.  I remember her leaving for India in December 2015 for treatment. The journey of hope.  So that the boys should never have another Christmas without her again.  Instead she came back after several months in a wheelchair, not able to walk. She underwent chemotherapy, and she fought. But the last month has seen the disease rise above her effort, infiltrate her fighting spirit, subdue her and drag her slowly but surely to the abyss.   

A lot of vehicles have now arrived, and a few older and wiser women are here too. They transfer her lifeless body into a vehicle and leave. Probably to the morgue. It’s around 1:30 am. I watch quietly from the window of my house, in disbelief. It’s the second hour of Mashujaa day. And I pay homage to the true shujaa, the unspoken shujaa, decorated by her family, a neighbour who has fought the good fight and fallen in the arena. I look again at the skies, and strangely enough, there are clouds that are covering the stars while the moon peeps at me behind one, perhaps acting as sentry to the big gates of heaven.  And I imagine that those big cloudy gates of heaven have now closed.  After allowing Mama Olly safe passage to her final destination.

Love is stronger than death, even though it cannot stop death from happening.  And no matter how hard death tries, it cannot and will never be able to separate people from love.  It will not be able to take away Olly and his brothers’  memories either. In the end, love emerges stronger than death.   And therefore death is conquered.  Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us every single day, unseen, unheard, but always near.

Dedicated to all those walking the cancer walk and fighting the cancer scourge.

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219 Comments
    1. It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things

    2. Like a thief in the night. Without warning death just takes (the wrong) people. Considering she was the sole bread winner what happens to her kids now? Sometimes i don’t know what to make of this life.

  1. “….wondering why we are so sad and yet God has stepped in… ”

    O the tears in my eyes…

    One day we will all die , but on all the other days, we will not…. so we will live for all the other days and make them count…

  2. Another life, gone, from cancer..May Jehovah Comfort little Olly and his two brothers and the many other children left parentless by this disease.
    …on another note, Biko, Your brother has a poignant way to his writing which I now think runs in your genes.

  3. This is saddenning… Sigh. October pieces have been so heavy for me. Some have given me hope, some have crushed my heart and made me think a lot about life. May Mama Olly rest in peace.

    1. You spoke my mind. I detest how cancer brutally violates us. Yet I have seen heroes in every story of triumph. Even the triumph of those who held on as long as they could before it whisked them in the dead of night. RIP Mama Olly.

  4. That last paragraph, ‘Love is stronger than death……love emerges stronger than death….those we love dont’t go away, they walk beside us….’
    So poignant, so true.
    This article reminds me of my Dad…..
    I wept

  5. “Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us every single day , unseen , unheard, but always near” May God comfort that family.

  6. They say God couldn’t take the pain his child was going through. He therefore took her with Him. But for those three kids left motherless..I don’t know what to say.

  7. May her soul rest in peace…”Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us every single day, unseen, unheard, but always near”. Amen

  8. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day… unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, …So true and sad…

    1. I think the cancer awareness campaigns have done there part, what we truly need now is to focus on a cure for this horrible disease.

    2. Cancer has cure. All you have to do is eat right so as not to give cancerous cells a supporting environment to breed. It is called alkalizing your cell environment. Avocado, lemon are some must eats.
      Take this seriously.

  9. Very sad….Lord I pray that you may comfort and give strength to Olly and his brothers so that they may overcome the death of their hero.
    R.I.P Mama Olly

  10. Condolences to her family. Sad & emotional.Tears dropping while reading. May Mama Olly rest in eternal peace and watch over her children

  11. When I became a mother I knew what pure love was. Motherhood knows no tribe, religion or race. Loves superceeds everything /anything. And now to think of mama Olly’s children and many out there who have been left motherless breaks my heart. It’s we pray about this dragon called Cancer for its not rally normal losing lived ones day and night. Rest in Peace Mama Olly.

  12. Love is stronger than death, even though it can’t prevent death from happening”. It’s been a very sad month. The stories were very painful. May the good mother rest in peace.

  13. It’s sad though,I was 14 when I knew my mom had
    It,the fear of waking up one day to a gone mom
    Still keeps me up,its been 6 years since
    she left,still hurts

  14. May perpetual light shine upon her soul. Nice piece Julius. May God strengthen the family during this trying moment. Rest In Peace Mama Oly.

  15. Somber piece..thank you Julius for being there and honoring the life of this beautiful soul, mama Olly.
    Love is indeed stronger than death, reminds me of Robert Fulgrum’s quote: ““I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
    May we continually hold on to the memories of cherished ones whose lives have been snuffed out by this horrendous disease.

  16. Really, really sad, but a reality check.. cancer has become a monster.Thanks for your dedication to Cancer month.
    PS: Your brother’s got writing skills too..

  17. Cancer: The worst scourge of mankind. I’ve read all
    the pieces about Cancer.
    Some pieces give me strength and hope others totally
    crush my spirit and resolve. It this thing has left me
    scratchy.
    ….How joy walks hand in hand with sorrow. How
    sorrow talks to joy.
    I shudder at that thought.
    Thank you Biko.

  18. This has brought back memories of 27th October 1995 when cancer robbed us of our father at 4:00am, I was only 5 years old, the body was not taken until after 7am..I had no idea what was happening at all,I just thought they took my father to hospital as it had become normal.Little did I know I would never get to see him again, My small brother was only four months in my mothers stomach he was later born in March the following year a spitting image of my father. My heart goes out to that family. It will be difficult but they shall pull through. We did.Love is stronger than death indeed.

  19. Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us every single day, unseen, unheard, but always near.
    So sad, rest in peace mama Olly. May God comfort her family.
    Your bro is a good writer too!

  20. This story has left me in pains. It has also reminded me how much of a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and/or return to bed in the evening. Fare thee well Mama Olly n may God comfort the young lads you left behind. 🙁

  21. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every single day, unseen, unheard, but always nice near. I really feel for the little angels. Until God knows when Mama Olly, see you again.

  22. Rest in peace Mama Olly, may your family find
    Peace and solace in knowing that you are always
    by their side. May God guide and keep them.

  23. Reminds me of my mum, dead in that morgue. Her body still warm but her hands so cold. The next morning I realized you don’t have to be awake to cry. My pillow was drenched in tears. Rest in peace Mum and Mama Olly and all the others cancer has taken away.

  24. May God see the family through their grief. May Love truly conquer in their lives.

    Beautiful writing…Can see the gift of writing runs in the family!

  25. Just today one woman who is very close to my heart, a second mum has been diagnosed with/of breast cancer. There was no lump, no tumor just an inflammation on her skin. The doctors did what they called a biopsy and found the cancer cells. The cancer hid itself from the numerous mammograms she did. When she called me earlier today to tell me that it is cancer, we cried over the phone. You do not realize how much death lurks around until someone so close to your heart is the target. All i can think of is, i do not want her to die. I have been on the internet since morning researching on this type of cancer and everything i read is scary. To mama Olly you fought a good fight,you finished the race and you remained faithful. May God grant you a peaceful rest and be with your family. To the cancer survivors, the ones that have just learnt recently that they have the cancer, i pray for strength, that God will be with you always and watch over you and your loved ones. Love will always triumph over death, over sorrow. The thing about losing a parent is , you feel like instead of going in to every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone.

    1. That’s my greatest fear,losing a parent because that’s the thing,this life requires you to always have a person to fight for and with you!

  26. Reading this in public place, trying to fight tears , but I can’t.My grandfather succumbed to cancer 4 years ago, and it still hurts,yes I knew it was coming,but I guess one can never be ready for the eventuality which is death.Praying for the father and the boys.
    Rest in Peace Mama Olly

  27. ‘I wonder whether she heard the distant humming of the water pump as she drifted off to Elysium……this got me thinking, its been an emotional month and this has made me not to fear death but to live my life to the best i can. Yes, one day death will come through any mean but will we have lived our life

  28. …the October series of these posts begun with victory, those who’ve conquered,
    and has now ended on this poignant note…*sighh
    Too much to ponder on

  29. Oh… sadly. God loves His people.
    It has been a great one month of reading the cancer stories that have left me with indescribable mixed feelings of relief, anger, sadness. But i know Jesus is alive and watching his children/brothers/sisters.

  30. Death is a monster that follows us behind the shadows, sometimes wearing cancer; we may not escape it, let’s appreciate the times we are alive.
    May she rest in peace.

  31. Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us every single day, unseen, unheard, but always near.
    May her soul rest in eternal peace

  32. I’m speechless… Cancer is a cruel thief but it will never rob us of the love we have for each other… To the three brothers and everyone else fighting cancer we shall conquer

  33. 20th October at around 4:30 pm, I receive a text from a friend of mine, the kind of text that gives you some shivers even before you open it.
    My 3yr old cousin is playing beside me, and I open the message, Hi, just to let you know my dad passed away earlier today. I don’t know what I
    felt at that time but I looked at my cousin and said to myself you have no idea what cancer has done again…keep playing.

    CANCER IS A DEVIL, REALLY TERRIFYING DEVIL THAN THE DEVIL HIMSELF.

  34. Her distinct voice ringing through the airport….May God grant her family the comfort they so desperately need. Great write Julius

  35. I do not have words, why is it that most cancer patients pass on in October? My dad and Mama Olly the same, tears will never dry, sad thing about loosing a parent, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you are shaken to the core, you feel the world staring at you, you have questions but no answers. I still see my dads lifeless body in the morgue, with him mouth open too, i guess he was fighting so hard to breath but the pain was so much, i cried and i looked at the skies too, clouds and dad waving at me, wondering why i was crying and he had gone to a better place, cancer has robbed another life, has taken Olly’s mum from Olly, i pray that love will help them get through this, tears will not stop falling, i celebrate all the fallen heroes, it shall be well.

  36. Rest in peace mama Olly. Such a lovely person with a good heart. May God give strength and peace of mind to the family. Cancer has robbed us so many loved ones. God I know you’re listening. Give us good health. Let there be more cancer victors.

  37. May her soul rest in peace. Everytime i read about your cancer I always remember your “cancer is f..king us big time” comment in one of your blogs. And Julius can really put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard too. It runs in the family.

  38. I know mama olly,we call her mum at work…so sad but refreshing that her love will live in us,those who walk in love,rest mama,rest now….it is well

  39. Great piece, Julius has walked us through this walk with Mama Olly and family. Truly love conquers and death has no place here. Mama Olly will always be remembered by her family. I’m feeling sad but happy that no sad moment lasts forever.

  40. Very Sad….My heart goes out to her children. Cancer has again robbed us of a productive person. Love indeed wins in the end. RIP

  41. As I was reading this I just thought about my children. Like Olly and his brothers… the love of a mother is comparable to none. May God see them through. I can’t stop crying RIP sister

  42. Fare thee well Mama Olly….may God comfort the family and give them strength during this difficult time..
    Cancer will never defeat love..but one day Cancer will die, and go forever, defeated

  43. My prayer always…God grant me long life to see my son grow into his youth…I know many of us do…our fears are almost tangible….we have no control over death.

  44. We shall not rest until cancer is dead and buried..RIP mama Olly. No greater pain than the loss of a mom/child. It shall be well..Love is stronger than death..It is well

  45. October has been a hard month for me. Haven’t lost anyone, but I have felt the pain of all the people affected. We shall beat Cancer. God give us the strength and know how. Amen.

  46. May she RIEP, tears for her shall drop and the reality of a scourge that we can overcome with early diagnosis shall be with us again………..and again in the near future…. let’s embrace yearly medical checkups as African brothers and sisters, That check up MATTERS!!!

  47. Mama Olly, You lived, you laughed, you loved. Fare thee well mum. Jehovah will take over from where you left off with the boys now. Oh how I pray for them; this is so painful. May He who sustains life and all things, be fiercely with them.

  48. Very sad but inspiring thank you Julius for being there and honoring the life of this beautiful soul, mama Olly.May she rest in peace and may God comfort the family

    Love is indeed stronger tha

  49. Only prayers may take the family through this hard time,He is our Comforter and our Strength..We got to put this family in prayers,young,determined boys with no mother!!it truly moved me…..its so sad….Rest in Peace Mama Olly…

  50. The world is full of pain but the same world keeps lying to us that all is well. All is not well. It is only Christ our only Hope of Glory that will have us by taking us home…Mama Olly, may your family see you on the other side someday.

  51. This could be the saddest story I have read this month. May mama Olly’s soul rest in eternal peace. For us soldiering on, may we have strength for the fight ahead.

  52. “This is my last installment of the breast cancer awareness month” – if only cancer would leave us alone like a last instalment – May Mama Olly rest in peace and comfort to her loved ones

  53. This piece is raw. And it’s true; Love is stronger than death. Love lives forever. For those who believe, death is not the end and Mama Olly will one day surely meet with her dear boys and long suffering husband. And then, “Oh death, where will be your sting?”

  54. Rest in peace Mama Olly.
    May God come through for Olly and his brothers.

    Julius, you write beautifully, even in such pain.

    To everyone battling cancer, and all other untold illnesses and issues, May God give us strength to fight harder to victory.

  55. Your brother can write. Words clearly flow in your veins. It must be a family thing.
    Such a sad story.
    May Mama Olly rest in peace. May God comfort the family and the young boys.

  56. Rest in peace Mama Olly and may the Almighty come through for the boys and the husband. Nothing prepares you for death, nothing!!

  57. May she Rest In Eternal Peace. May her kids never lack of anything. May God’s grace be with that family n all those affected by cancer

  58. Wow, a great piece. Amazing! I enjoyed it more than other novels. He has deep description that sent chills and sadness to my heart.
    I am deeply sorry to the family and friends. May she rest in eternal peace and may God give the family unbelivable strenght and grace. May God engulf them with perserverance and undying patience to understand all this and open a new page. Lord have mercy I beg you. We need your intervention in this bitter disease.

  59. Fare Thee Well Mama Olly. Brings back painful memories of my mum passing away 2 years ago, in the same manner after breast cancer ravaged her body. It will be well, she is at peace and free from the pain.

  60. death is a form of healing especially in the case of cancer patients in the advanced stages. May her soul rest in eternal peace and may the children together with their dad and the family at large find comforting peace and grace to brave this season. It shall be well….

  61. Sad story! May the comforter comfort the family and friends and grant them the grace needed in such moments. It seems like Cancer is having its way with man but there is something we can do, albeit to keep it at bay: Proper nutrition, exercise, drinking enough water, having proper sleep/rest, temperance in everything (doing things in moderation), breathing fresh air, sunlight and trust in God. These are in our power to do. Together with medical intervention, we can stay the tide of cancer. If with all these cancer still rears its head, we can claim the grace of God. Cancer has taken Mama Olly and many others but we can dare escalate the war against cancer.

  62. the light from her window will not stop shining… It will illuminate from her soul to remind Olly that she will always be around and near… RIP.

  63. Dance with the angels Mama Olly..Iron lady as we knew her..Such a beautiful soul gone too soon..May our good Lord watch over her sons.

  64. Baba Tamms, you ever wrote another piece with almost the same title….I think it was
    Like a Thief in the Night…
    If am not wrong it was your grandfather whom you had gone to visit. And his earthly life was fading away…so was his hearing.
    And you had to shout to his ear, you and your brother….
    That was the very first time I discovered you…

    Cancer, we can only pray to God to give us the grace to accept things beyond us and bravery to override such adversities.

  65. I was working on a death story when I remembered I had not read Biko this week. And then I find this.

    It is sad,Biko. Very sad, Biko. The time is 1:32am here in Nigeria. And here I am, thinking about death. The only comforter I find in all this ‘deathish’ life is that love is strongly than death. And I will use that sentence in my death story.
    Thank you, Biko and Oga.

    Sleep on, Mama Oily. Live on.

  66. Julius, you are an excellent writer, you’ve captured the raw emotions, I actually feel the “chills” as I read the story, you know? Kind of like a song that resonates deep within you and when it plays you stop everything you are doing and let it flow through you…. but I digress.
    I can almost see Mama Olly’s spirit leaving, waving as she leaves, kissing sleeping Olly in the next room and finally being engulfed by the clouds (in a sky that was cloudless before). Thanks for capturing this moment. One day, one time, Olly and his brothers are going get a chance to read this story, and feel the neighbourly love flowing through the story and they will realize that their mum touched many.

    Bless you good sir. RIP Mama Olly. Dance with the Angels.

  67. I have this urge to see a photo of Mama Olly during her healthier days. I want to put a face to this narrative. Truly sad. I feel for the kids. Biko your stories made me kick out some bad habits I had coz damn, life cannot be undone.

  68. I had avoided your posts all October, I was sure you’d be posting about cancer. I deleted the emails the minute they’d pop up. On this Tuesday, seated in a training, the post came through. I can’t explain why I didn’t delete it, I did glance at the preview on email, the something pushed me to open on browser, the second paragraph is as far as I went. My aunt has had cancer for the last year or so, I’ve seen her get worse, the last three weeks she was in hospital where I’d see her after work daily. Barely an hour after your post, I got news that she was no more. This cancer!

  69. I cant bear it to read this post. Its almost 2 weeks now since I started reading it. And my sisters death from cancer 10weeks short of her 33rd birthday 4 years ago is still as sore as it was that terrible Friday morning that she gained her wings.

  70. In the end love emerges stronger than death.. true those we love and loose to death live forever in our hearts. Sad, and yes mama Only fought a good fight. May she rest in perfect peace among the heavens angels. May she always watch over her boys from up yonder..

  71. In the end love emerges stronger than death.. true those we love and lose to death live forever in our hearts. Sad, and yes mama Olly fought a good fight. May she rest in perfect peace among the heavens angels. May she always watch over her boys from up yonder..