By Chike Anyaonu
Nature has it’s own uncanny way of bringing you sorrow, even when you thought you were in for happy times. It’s just inexplicable that at one moment you are on and high, and at the other you are in total confusion in the wilderness, not knowing which way to go.
And so was it about a week ago, at about 22.47 hours on April 30, 2022, when a part of my heart stopped working, further shocking my already troubled life. I’ve seen deaths, in many colours and bizzare manners, but I’ve never seen the type Joe Chukwudi Anatune posted to me on the said date. A journey into a long lasting friendship that started since October 1969, just ended on a devastating and sad note, without any form of farewell. And I am still asking, Joe where are you? Why the sudden departure? What happened, upon the usually comical you, reeling out jokes from your hospital bed that ill-fated night, making me and others in the room, including your wife Ify, to believe that all was well. When I led him to the restroom to ease up urine, he boldly and assuredly told me not to worry that everything will be fine. I believed him, led him back and helped him to lay back on his bed. I then stepped out for a few minutes only to come back to be greeted by his lifeless body. I wonder if this is the way God designed for us to part. Too bad.
You will not know the confusion this has brought to the lives of relations and teeming friends. Awa was thrown into total darkness. The entire Team Soludo members are still in shock to date. Odenigbo (Prof. Soludo) and his amiable and adorable first lady have been asking questions I found extremely difficult to provide answers to. I am yet to talk to Chinedu and Ada, the two children he toiled to give first class training as computer engineer and medical doctor respectively. What will I be discussing with them? That their father is gone at a time they are calling him up to be rewarded and honoured for being an exceptionally dutiful, caring and loving father and husband. Joe, Lizzy, your lawyer, my wife, is still stunned and in endless tears for the obvious reason of the depth of your closeness to Anyaonu family nay Isuofia community.
A friend ever resourceful, ever committed, ever supportive, ever reasonable, ever unassuming, ever sincere, ever compassionate and ever forgiving. He helped me to till the ground for cultivation, contributed immensely to the success of the planting season, the turbulent and bumpy Soludo ADT project, and now, again, no more to be seen at the banquet. For sure, Goodbye may seem inevitable but is not a choice word to say at this time. Do not say goodbye Joe. Just pray God to grant him grace and mercy, to be benovelent in judging him, and to receive his soul into eternity.
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