Peter posted this on December 1, 2021
For the past 6 years or thereabouts, at least once (usually thrice or more) every day, I’d receive a call from my Aunt, Mrs. Juliet Ogedi David-West who over time became more of a friend than an Aunt to me.
She passed on in September and I think that’s the hardest thing I’ve had to process in my life.
I’ve never lost someone close to me so this is a new feeling: loss, emptiness, expecting the phone to ring, going over old chats and voicenotes….
She was buried last weekend,
Making it so final…..
This is the tribute I wrote.
I still can’t believe I’m writing this.
One of my first memories of you, was when we came visiting with my mum, I was 5 or 6 then and I was told to stay in the car but as usual I ran out and fell straight on the gravel.
I remember you panicking and compressing the huge swelling on my forehead with ice.
Then I remember the new year parties every year,
And the day late 2013 we practically walked the entire London (I kept wondering how you were doing it with your knee).
I always wear tshirts (because of the heat) and slippers (because of foot pain) and you’d always “use style” to tell me to dress more appropriately, to wear proper shirts, you’ve always been trendy and fashionable.
You always have words of encouragement, so much wisdom and you’re one of the very few people I know who genuinely cares about others.
You’d always ask what I’m selling this time (and I’ve sold a lot of things), advice me to raise prices if I need to, give me ideas on what to do (the last thing you’d been begging me to import since February just landed in October 🙁 ) and you’d always believe in me, it gave me energy to continue so many times and I always wonder how you get the energy and coordination to do all you do.I remember how you’d be annoyed when I suddenly go on one of my impromptu trips as I won’t be reachable for days.
I remember how excited you were last year when I surprised you with a video of the car I got. You’d been trying to convince me for years to change the old one.
I remember when I was sick in February and you’d call and WhatsApp multiple times every single day, asking if I’ve taken my drugs, if I’ve taken my walks and I’d have to show evidence (because I don’t like pills).
You’re one of the hardest working people I know.
I’d usually tell mum you’ve more energy than young me because I’d always wonder how you hold everything in place and never break down.
I remember putting Google docs on your phone so you can edit your autobiography and waking in the morning to see you’d added almost 6 pages to the document over night…. with your phone!
That was about the last time we communicated.
I can’t get myself to talk about you in past tense, but I’m glad you’ve lived fully, done everything you set your mind to and left so much love and goodwill for your family. Every single day I hear someone new say something good you did. Its inspiring.
In the last few years you’ve been more of a friend than an Aunt to me. You’ve a gift for understanding people and managed to get me to open up.We talked practically everyday.
I miss your long calls, your WhatsApp broadcasts, your emails, you always asking when the next BlackBerry would be out (you love the keyboard for work), all the impossible things you’d always want your gadgets to do and your energetic voice and laughter.
I’ve learnt a lot from you, how to be kind without expecting anything, how to always look for the good in people, how to be more generous, to look out for loved ones, how to maintain my relationship with God (you never joke with church), how to work hard and go all out for what I want and how to build and maintain relationships (still working on this).I’d always smile when I remember you because I don’t have a single bad memory of you.
We’d keep everything you worked for going and I’d make sure to take care of your best friend and sister.
Thank you for being you and for every moment with us Aunty.Your Nephew, Peter Banigo.