From you oh Lord we came and unto you we shall return at your appointed time. John Donne, an English poet once wrote “Death of everyone diminishes me because I am more involved in humanity’’.
But in actual fact, I am more being diminished and terribly devastated over the sudden but recent demise of a rare gem, late Mrs. Deborah Woleola Ajoke Olatunde because I know she is more needed here than the heavens does. Forgive oh God!
Albeit, with a heavy heart, but with total submission to will of God, I must confess that a better part of 2019/2020 has been a terrible one for me, given the numbers of good people I know and even close to, but are no more today. How many of them do one have to start mentioning?
Do I start with late Agboola Ebenezer Adeniyi, a promising young man whose grief we are still trying to manage? Or that of Tunji Abel, an already appointed Commissioner III in the State Local Government Service Commission who died few days before assuming office?
What , about Ademola Olatunde who just clocked a year in the grave? Also a young promising and hardworking chap too. And now they said Deborah too is no more. And one became curious to ask why was heaven so much in a hurry to have you all at a time like this. God, we should not question you, but what really happened? As mere mortals, we don’t know. But it is an understatement to say we will surely understand it better by and by.
And for Deborah! Yes, we weep, we sorrow, because of a good woman like you. Because of your simplicity and kindheartedness. Because of your love and good heart to everyone that have encountered you.
Because of your worthy virtues and what you stood for, but not like those without hope because death itself shall die. The scriptures confirms that in the book of Revelation 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”. I agree completely with this. Yes! I agree.
It has taken me a week and four days of shock to be able to muscle the strength to write this tribute and condolence in honour of the deceased, as I am still left in awe to come to terms with the shocking news, but like every mortal, we must taste death when it is time.
Irrespective of age, status and social standing, but then it is undeniably certain that when we lost our dear ones, we are left in pains, emotional trauma, grief and nostalgia. Such is life!
A wife, mother, friend, humble, prayerful and God-fearing. Deborah symbolizes these virtues and many others. Little wonder John Donne in his poem titled Death be not proud, had written “Death! Be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.
One short sleep past, we wake eternally. And death shall be no more. Death, thou shalt die”. For me, I believe strongly that Deborah will rise again to life eternal. And death, the enemy of man, shall die. Death, thou shalt die it’s not a curse. It is just your inevitable end.
As mere mortals whose days are already numbered, it is obvious that we are all guilty of thinking we can live forever and thus forgetting the fact that every day is a bonus from God, yet we live in a world where people disagree and practically boycott reconciliation.
We live in a world where people disagree and see forgiveness as a crime. We live in a world where people claim they worship God yet backbite, blackmail and believe in rumours as their guide. When the world itself is a small place?
When nobody knows when death will come knocking? And people will still not forgive one another? Yet we call ourselves believers? Heaven will definitely be filled up with surprises. May God help all of us.
Deborah! It is clear to many that you built your home. You left behind legacies worthy of emulation. You trudged through thick and thin with your lovely husband Prince Rueben Olatunde for several decades in marriage.
In reality, your love tango could have been extended, but for the untimely and cruel hand of death. And now you are gone? At a time when we all need you most? Just like that? Mummy Dammy what happened?
May I, even in death, inform you that your sudden demise had already left a vacuum that will be very difficult to fill for Damilola your first and eldest daughter. You have bestowed on her a burden of responsibilities that seems to be heavy to bear especially at this critical time.
But the assurance is that the Lord will manifest himself through his words in Mathew 11:28 which says “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Damilola, who automatically becomes mother of the house, am sure will strongly be there for Oladiran, Olaoluwa, Oluwajuwon and Victoria.
Iya Dammy, who undeniably lived a spartan life style, died on 24th June 2020. Had she been alive, Monday 27th July would have been her birthday. Sadly, she would be clocking 40 days in the grave on Sunday. Painful!
As a mother, loved by all. Who else can be like you? Who on earth can? How dare you leave? Is that how to say good bye? We searched and cried but you were nowhere to be found. For taking away from us a treasure like Deborah! Death you are cruel.
In retrospect, going home every year for Christmas and New Year celebrations at Elesinmeta has always been interesting, especially with Iya Dammy in the kitchen. She had through her welcoming spirit and hospitality almost made her home my second home that I take my three square meals in her house almost every day. Iya Dammy attended the naming ceremonies of my children without considering distance as a barrier.
A gesture she was able to extend to many others too like me, but when a family member with whom you shared loving memories dies, it’s always very difficult to fathom or process the sense of loss and the accompanying pains. And now I strongly believe that what we do for ourselves, we take to the grave, but what we do for others leave forever. Indeed your death is one but too many for many of us to bear.
That one can write about Iya Dammy today, means she lived her life in such a way that offered meaning to her existence. She lived her life in such a manner that put no one doubt that there is no compromise when it comes to the issue of her faith and the living God she served.
Our consolation however, should be established on fact that she lived and died in Christ. After all, life itself will end someday.
As we however, mourn the illustrious daughter of Elesinmeta, my thoughts and prayers are with her family members, particularly the grieving mother, her siblings, Mrs. Abosede PRO Lawal, my brother Mr. Segun Oloyede, the Baale of Elesinmeta Chief Solomon A Ishola, Elesinmeta Community, ECWA Church Elesinmeta, Fundamental Baptist Church Ilorin, her place of work where she diligently served and died as an official of the Environmental Health Officer, and most especially, to her lovely husband who doubles as my uncle and former Secondary School Teacher (He taught me from JSS1 to SS3) Prince Reuben Lanre Olatunde, now a retired principal in the Civil Service of Kwara State, at least for trying to learn and adapt with the situation at hand which automatically demands that he move on with life without having a partner.
Iya Dammy, being an introvert by nature will never ask for a tribute, but I know she deserves this and many more to come. May God in his infinit mercies console us all and put a lasting end to bitter occurrences such as this.
Adieu Iya Dammy.
Ishola Gbenga writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.