The wife of the former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Florence, has disclosed that the death of her husband made her stop praying to God.
She noted that a year after his death, she still sits by his tomb to take morning coffee.
The widow wrote this in a tribute written to mark the first anniversary of the passage of her husband which was held at the International Conference Centre, the University of Ibadan on Friday.
She said, “I won’t lie that it has been easy to ‘move on, as a lot of people have advised or would expect. He is the love of my life, moving on won’t be a walk in the park for me, but I am willing to take things one day at a time.
“When I visit our home in Ibadan, it has become a routine for me to sit by his tomb and take my early morning coffee. The fact that I know he is there with me makes me happy and I plan to relish these moments.”
Recall that Ajimobi died on June 25, 2020, from COVID-19 complications at a Lagos hospital and was buried June 28, 2020, at the family home in Ibadan.
Florence said it was painful that both of them never discussed death in their over 40 years of marriage.
Recalling the great moments they had together, Florence said, “When my heartthrob, Biola, and I decided in 1980 that we were ready to get married after a very short friendship of six months, I was very excited.”
“Believe me, we had the best relationship anyone could have asked God for in the 40 years that we were together.”
“Unfortunately, loss, heartbreak, and death are no respecter of persons. We watch dreams die, see people leave, lose their careers and even lose their loved ones but we never really know how it feels until we experience it ourselves.”
“On the 20th of May, 2020, Biola and I tested positive with COVID-19 and we started our isolation at our Ikoyi home together, taking our medications and doing all we were advised to do by the doctor.”
“On the 26th of May, we both went to bed together but early in the morning of the 27th, I had to rush him to the First Cardiology Consultant Hospital, in Ikoyi.
“You cannot even imagine my confusion because this husband of mine had never fallen this ill in our 40 years of marriage. Anyways, he got admitted and it became the beginning of my journey without him around me.
“Oh! I prayed like I had never done in my entire life. I must at this point commend my children and their friends who prayed tirelessly during this period. It was a period filled with fear and hope for me.
“I believed God was going to answer my prayers and bring my husband back home, but alas, on Thursday, 25th June 2020, the loss came knocking on my door and my world stopped when I was told my other half had left me to be with our Maker.
“I ran out of the house and headed straight to the hospital with a glimmer of hope for a miracle. When I saw my beloved husband on the bed, my heart was shattered.
“It dawned on me that my world had actually come to an end as my own best friend and the one who gave me strength was dead. I just could not take it in. How? Why? These were questions I asked every minute but none could answer me, no one could help me, it seemed like I was going crazy.
“I went back home from the hospital and the place was filled with friends and family who had come to sympathise but none of them knew what was going on inside me. I was too confused to understand what was happening around me.
“On Friday, plans began on how to take him to Ibadan, Oyo State to be buried. I left for Ibadan on Saturday filled with shame because I felt that God had abandoned me despite my ‘supposed’ relationship with Him.
“My trauma began as I stepped into our home in Ibadan for the first time after the incident. I went into our bedroom, laid on his side of the bed and I cried out my heart, calling unto Biola and praying that all I was going through was just a dream.
“That night, sleep eluded me as I tossed and turned on the bed throughout the night. I opened all his side of our wardrobes and kept talking to myself – honestly, I felt I was going insane or believed I was to think he was dead.
“I longed to die..no thrill in life again.
“During this period, I had stopped praying to God. I told God I did not want His help anymore since He took the one person I cherished the most away. When pastors or my friends came to pray with me, I looked at them as time-wasters.
“Sometimes, I was filled with hatred for them – why would they be talking about God who didn’t hear me when I prayed and cried unto Him to spare the life of Biola?
“The loss of a loved one hurts, and learning to live with it is a long, difficult but necessary process. What I have learnt and can tell you for free is this; in our loss and grief, we can feel so alone and isolated, but God never leaves us when we hurt. He actually promised to be close to us and bandage us up in tough times.
“I was filled with so much sadness and pain that I went to bed every night praying not to wake up in the morning. When I woke up the next morning I asked myself, ‘you are up again?’ Then finally, the mandatory Islamic mourning period came to an end.
“My fear after the mourning period became how to start going out to face people, still carrying my load of shame and failure.
“My Biola was unique. Talking about him makes me happy and thinking about him gives my heart joy. To be honest, it is the only thing that has made me smile lately, besides my wonderful children, of course.
“After a while, I felt some sort of relief or so I thought until we had to celebrate the first Ileye (an elaborate Islamic celebration) without him. Ileya was normally a big celebration for us as a couple and family. I was hoping I’d wake up from the dream of him being dead and he would ask me for his new outfit for the celebration.
“It was not a dream. He was really gone and we had to celebrate without him. It did not feel the same. It would never feel the same without him. I cried bitterly on that day and went to his tomb asking him amidst tears why he left me?
“You know, there’s really no timeline for how long grief and pain last. One really does not know how or when he or she will find closure. I will be honest with you, I still feel like I am on a rollercoaster.
“One minute I’m feeling strong and confident, next minute, I am overwhelmed with grief but I am grateful for the good and bad days.”
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