Letter to the Dead: I am Sorry, I Broke My Promise

Johnson Babalola
July 1, 2023

Dear Friend:

As I write this, I am emotional. Not because you are long gone. I have gotten used to that, but because it has been ten years since your demise and most importantly, it has been 7 years since I last fulfilled my promise to you.

Remember our younger days? lol! (not sure you are current about what lol means.  It is the acronym for laugh out loud!). The girls, the drinks, the travels, and the mischiefs.  Sadly, the drinks that you had in moderation, that gave you so much joy also sent you to your early grave. I still cannot get over the fact that as you were jogging early in the morning on a quiet weekend in a quiet neighborhood, you got hit by a drunk driver. Just learnt the drunk driver is now a free man giving talks about the consequences of driving drunk. I guess your death brought a positive change to the man and possibly others.

I recall your burial. It was emotional. Everyone that spoke had one positive thing or the other to say about you. Not a single negative word was said about you.  There is a Yoruba adage that one becomes a deity at death. I am sure if you had paid attention, you would have wondered why they did not heap all this praise on you while alive.

I can still picture the faces of your parents, siblings, wife, and children. The anguish. The sense of loss.  Then the promises. Ade, our good friend, said he would take on the financial responsibility of your parents for the rest of their lives. Why not? Your parents were our parents too.  They fed and housed us. Then Chidinma, your cousin that you helped raise, through tears, promised to take over the costs of educating your 3 children. She reminded everyone present that you were responsible for her success in life. I can go on and on about the pledges and promises.

On my part, there was no need for open promises. I made my promise to you silently and to your wife and children privately. I said I would be there for them. I promised to support, care for, and mentor them. I meant what I said bro and I started well.

For three years I was there. I learnt a few others did too. Ade unfortunately lost his job and could not assist your parents any longer after a year of supporting them consistently.  Chidinma did her best for 2 years but had to stop because she had a serious matrimonial issue that affected her finance and mental health. That will be a gist for another day. Many others could not fulfill their promises or sustain them. They meant well but life just happened and is still happening. I don’t know about heaven, but here on earth, everything is expensive. In case you have not checked this side recently, just read the papers online …. if you have access to the internet in heaven!. Jobs are lost. Groceries are expensive. Rents? Don’t even talk about that and the twin brother called Interest Rate. I guess in heaven, you are not concerned about these things since we are reminded often that everything is free. I am sorry. I should not digress.

I am sorry my dear friend that I recently realized that the last time I connected with your family was 7 years ago. I felt shame when I was updated by your wife that things were  tough for her and your 3 children in those years. She told me the stories of men that had taken advantage of her and the struggles she went through to send your children to school. She added that she was abandoned by your siblings too but was thankful that your old parents remained steady in their support. She simply decided not to disturb any of us with her own issues. As you might already know, since we understand that those of you in heaven know a lot of stuff, that the children are now graduates and working. They have done well. One is a doctor. The other is a Nurse and the third is a Psychotherapist. Perhaps their experiences dictated their career choices!

My dear friend, I felt bad. Even though I have been through my own situation that I will speak about someday, there should be no excuse for abandoning your family for seven years. I am glad that I have reconnected with them now, and I hope you forgive me for breaking my promise to you and your family. I am sorry. I will keep working on myself.

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.