LOUD WHISPERS: The Debt We All Owe

We all know about the life-long debt we owe. We pray, spend money, get lucky , treat, and tip toe around it throughout our lives. Yet the debt collector is very patient, knowing that one day the inevitable will happen. The arrival of death triggers reactions relative to the person concerned. Some deaths cause profound suffering and misery. In the cases of older persons, after the initial grief has worn off, the families get down to preparing a grand celebration. In many African cultures, the departure of an elder is something to celebrate. And there are some deaths that a friend of mine calls ‘in-between’. The departed is middle-aged, with children and even grandchildren, mostly in their fifties and sixties, a category I call ‘Youngish’. They usually still have living parents, so while their children might want to celebrate a life well spent, the funeral rites are modest. I have been thinking about this a lot lately due to some recent experiences. I got a message in the first week of March that an elderly man who is like a father to me has been ailing. He is almost ninety, so that did not exactly come as a surprise. I went to see him and was shocked at his appearance. He is one of those old school gentlemen who had been meticulous about his appearance, well into his old age. I had not seen him in four months, and the change was remarkable. He looked very frail and struggled with his words. His children told me that the week before he had almost passed away. It was clear, looking at him, that he has received his ‘boarding pass’ and is waiting for his ‘flight’. I did not want to leave, thinking that this might be the last time I saw him. I took some photographs with him (just in case), and I left with tears in my eyes. One of God’s greatest mysteries is that we don’t know when his flight will depart, all we know is that right now, he seems to be in the ‘departure lounge’.
A few days after seeing the old man, another grand old man actually ‘boarded’ his flight. The late General Adeyinka Adebayo, father of Otunba Niyi Adebayo, one of my husband’s mentors and political leaders, passed away peacefully the morning of March 8th 2017, one day before his 89th birthday. General Adebayo’s death was met with encomiums from all over the world, and his homes in Lagos and Ekiti became a Mecca with a steady stream of visitors. General did not have a lingering illness that drained the fortunes and energies of his children, causing endless anxiety. He boarded his flight ‘sharp sharp’ like the soldier he was. General’s funeral will be a wonderful celebration of his life.
Two days after General Adebayo’s passing, my mother called to tell me that my maternal grandmother who we call Mama Ayo, wanted me to visit her so that she could pray for me. This is not good, I thought to myself. When a 96 year old woman is asking you to come for blessings it can only mean one thing – she is in the departure lounge. I got the message the day before I was due to leave for New York, so there was no way I could make it to Ilara-Mokin in Ondo State, a good four hour drive from Lagos. I called her so that she could at least hear my voice.

Full article in Loud Whispers cover final

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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24 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: The Debt We All Owe

  1. Femi Diipo April 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    The death topic is always a very sensitive one, and this article has been moderate and delicate with it as much as possible. There’s no best way to prepare for death and may we all live long; long enough

  2. Dom dom April 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Before reading this article, the title got me wondering on the dimension this might take. Of course there’s just this only one debt we all owe, sadly it’s never an easy subject of conversation. The prayer is and will always be that will live long and not experience premature death, neither for us nor our friends and relatives

  3. D'apoet April 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Yesterday a friend texted me to tell me about the death of his uncle, a man in his early forties who had gone to church with his family, conducted service and slump to death before the end of the service. Death is evil, perhaps it could be less evil if we get to live long enough before it’s our time. May we pay our debts only when it’s due

  4. Olakunle Olajide April 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Death oh Death… It always stings either at old age or not. It comes with that awkward feeling that the dead person cannot be seen or interacted with. I really love the way you broke it down ma’am. I remembered someone asking why didn’t we tell him that the deceased was sick at a funeral service. I was so livid that if i was not ushered away by my brother, i would have made some horrible comments to the elder man. I hope people get this message out there because i am surely sharing.

  5. Samuel April 3, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    What a topic this week. The debt we all owe, simply non negotiable, timing unknown, probable symptoms and unprecedented farewells. After reading this post, i will just work on living right and leaving a good legacy. I pray we all fulfill our purposes on this earth before saying goodbye.

  6. Julie April 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    The sting of death is a terrible one, I lost a friend of mine early this year and I haven’t recovered from it. the most painful thing is that she died leaving her new born baby to suffer, who will breast feed that baby? I wish I could bring her back.

  7. Princess April 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    This write up is way too deep and emotional, I just can’t stand it but death is the surest thing in life. The truth is that not everyone will get rich or make it in life but everyone must die. My prayer is just that every youngster grows old before they finally erase from this planet earth.

  8. Branny April 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Death oh death! you are one thing we humans can never escape. I can’t remember the last time I wept over any one and may it be like that for a very long time. Amen!

  9. feranmi philipps April 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    The recent loud whispers have been quite emotional, deep for character restructure. This is what we need. Social etiquettes not junks. Painful realities that will make us better persons for the life ahead. God bless you mama.

  10. kolade Ayodele April 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    This is so extensive. Life is just a journey and at any point the end might come. We need to takecare of those around us whether young or old.

    I remembered when my dad died and my mum called me to come home, i was in a middle of something so serious that I didn’t want to but because of the haste in her voice. I ran home all the way.

    We were both there during the last moments and looking back, I thank God i didn’t postpone because he died the next day and i was the only support system my mum had being an only child.

    Every moment is important.

  11. Modupeoluwa April 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Hmmm, Death. This as always be on my mind the day I depart from this world and reign with the saint. Moreover to lost love ones is not something easy no matter how aged the person can be.

  12. olakitan April 4, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Death is a big debt own by all. The most important thing before we all pay back our debt is how well we live our life’s, which is normally referred to as “live well spent”. We need to be conscious of whatsoever we are doing because there are recording for it. Live you life wel and let people speak good things concerning you.

  13. DSEED April 4, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I was made to realize what death really is the day I lost my dad. I wasn’t around him but I felt it. Losing love ones is what is unbearable. But let have this at the back of our mind that leaving good legacy behind is the best.

  14. simpson Bukola April 5, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Hmmm. This is extensively inspiring. The attitude of people to death at times, is very annoying. Some people come for the story, they are just into the gossip instead of sincere condolence.

    When it’s time to mourn, mourn and don’t be in for the show. The tragedy itself is enough story.

  15. Olushola Aderanti April 5, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I don’t know if i’m the only one noticing this, but the loudwhispers for some weeks now have been mind shaking! Deep and emotional to the bones. I must say, i am becoming a better person and seeing a better perspective to life. I am deeply inspired

  16. joy Mark April 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

    “If you are over 40, you should have a Will. Don’t be superstitious and say having a Will means you are inviting death. Death does not work on an invitation basis, it works on a time-table only God knows.” This is the punch line for me. I’m working on this ASAP.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  17. Detutu April 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Wow. I have missed reading this, I am glad to be back. Death is something that cannot be taken off humanity. It’s a dream we must face but what is left after facing it matters.

    I am totally in support of courtesy

  18. Bisi Fayemi April 5, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you very much dear brothers and sisters for all your comments. I have an update to share.The old man I mentioned passed away this morning April 5th. His name was Chief Obafemi Famuwagun, the father of my late friend HE Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka, the former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State. Papa died one day before the 4th anniversary of his daughter’s passing. Mrs Olayinka died of breast cancer on April 6th 2013.

    May Papa’s soul rest in peace and may my dear friend continue to rest with the Lord.

    • Femi Diipo April 5, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may our eternal debt be paid only when it’s due

    • Olakunle Olajide April 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

      I commiserate with the Famuwagun family. May Papa’s soul rest in peace.

    • Samuel April 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

      I am so confident Papa has left remarkable and credible achievements. Rest on Papa.

  19. modupe April 5, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Hmmm. May his soul rest in perfect Peace.

  20. DSEED April 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I felt the pain of the demised. How he will wish to be the one late and his daughter alive now. God knows the best. They will both meet now and parted no more. Rest on papa.

  21. Oluwatosino April 10, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Hmmmmmmm, Death is indeed inevitable. The thought of death brings fear and a sharp pain on my chest at times. I just quickly wave it off and say a word of prayer… I pray that almighty God keep us and may we all live long and fulfill purpose in life ijn.
    Thank you ma for the beautiful suggestions you gave on how to handle death news.


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