(Photo Credit: Flicker)
For the past two weeks, I’d thought of a girl I met several years ago, a girl who taught me about hope, she once told me that, ‘hope is an endless journey, it never stops because if it does, it ceases to be hope.’
This is a true story:
Roughly around thirty years ago, as I was pushing towards my tenth birthday, my dad moved us into an exclusive neighbourhood, it was an eight bedroom duplex with what we called boys-quarters at the back. It was massive with house-helps and guards posted to the front gate and all sorts of people tending the garden. The house fitted us perfectly, we were a large family of eleven. My mom had nine kids, but even at that, I desperately missed my friends.
I preferred our former house, it was a bungalow in a quiet leafy street where kids could play outside. Our new home was different, everyone I met tried to speak with a posh accent. I was wild at heart at that age, I loved adventures, running around, stealing past guards and walking through the woodlands behind our home, giving my poor parents such grief.
Then one evening in September, the African sun was slowly receding into the clouds, I sniffed the air in contentment as I strolled along the road which led to our home with one of my brothers. A girl my age walked past and waved, she wore a white dress and green sandals, I waved back, stealing one more look. She had the kindest eyes, and a lovely smile. I liked her at once, maybe I’d found a friend at last. Within two weeks we met properly. She lived on the next street, and her dad was in one of those boring clubs my dad frequented, where middle age men drink and exchange business ideas.
Ayo and I became fast friends, if she wasn’t in my house I was in hers. She was extremely beautiful, I nicknamed her ‘china porcelain,’ because my mom had a set of china plates and heaven helped whosoever dared touched the plates, I think I broke one or two though! 🙂
She was very fragile, her pale, pallor skin often gave her an ethereal glow, more like a ghost at times but we still played hard. Sometimes I’d noticed the worried expression on her dad’s face but I ignored it, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t understand why he always seemed so pensive. She was my best friend and I loved her to bits, I didn’t for once think anything could be wrong with her. Then one day I visited her house and saw her sweating on the couch, she looked very ill. I touched her forehead and it was so hot. Her dad came into the living room and walked her to the door. They left for the hospital and I couldn’t sleep well that night.
Ayo stayed in the hospital for two weeks, I was dying to hear news but my parents just told me she would fine. I knew something wasn’t right. It was like that for almost six months, Ayo would be fine for one week, then she would be sick for four. One day in March, we were almost a year in our new home when she came in for a visit. Her eyes were bright and she looked healthy, I sensed she wanted to tell me something and when she did, I was clueless. My best friend had ‘Sickle-Cell Anaemia,’ a terrible disease of the blood. When she left, I went into my dad’s library and rummaging through his vast array of encyclopaedias (there’s nothing like Google then) found information on the disease. What I read was too advanced for my age, but at best, I understood her condition.
Three weeks later, on a hot Friday afternoon, I went to her house and saw her on the bare floor, writhing in pain. This time around, it was serious, she was crying and I held her head in my hands. Her mouth was dry and her eyes were yellow.
‘I’m so sorry.’ I kept muttering under my breath. I think my voice did a little trick and she stopped crying. She managed to sit up and gave me a weak smile.
‘Seyi, don’t ever give up on hope, it’s what kept me going all these years.’ She said and I laughed.
‘You’re just weeks older than me.’ I said, still smiling, I wanted to wish away her illness and pain.
‘If I didn’t have hope, I would have gone, but I stayed for my dad…’ there was silence, ‘and you.’ She added with a twinkle in her eyes. We hugged tightly and I felt a tremor passed through her body.
‘It’s time,’ her dad muttered looking down at us. I felt lost and my heart was beating very fast.
I helped her to her feet and into her dad’s car. Her elder sister stood in the doorway, her ashen face portend sad tidings. I stood beside the car, I wanted to follow her but was too scared. My parents walked in through their gate and spoke tenderly to Ayo’s dad.
That night, my eyes stayed open. The next morning, I dashed to Ayo’s house but the gates were locked. A week later, Ayo was gone. In a way, I was relieved she was no longer in pain, for my ten-year old brain, an ordinary fever is hell compared to the endless pain Ayo endured for her short stay on earth. However, I won’t really remember her for that debilitating illness, I would remember her warmth, faith and hope. She was a girl who believed in hope, and for someone like that, why can’t we have hope?
Although she passed, but I believe she did when she wanted to, she was way older than her years. If she were to be here today, I knew she would still be spreading her message of hope. Thank God for science, people with Sickle cell lived longer and less painful lives now.
Thanks for reading my long story, I try to keep my posts short but I’ve not posted for almost six weeks and I sincerely hope I haven’t bore you. I apologise for my absence, It wasn’t deliberate. I would visit your blogs as much as time permits. I love you guys and I hope you’ll all enjoy the rest of this week.
Much love, always! 🙂
A touching story Sandra. I have family members with the trait and a great nephew with the disease. It is heartbreaking watching someone you care about in pain.
Thanks Kim. It’s an annoying disease, I still have friends with the disease, and you’re right, it’s not great seeing someone you love in pain. I’ve missed you Kim. I’m sorry I’ve not been to your blog for a while, but I would stop over today, hope you feel much better now?
Much love. 🙂
Today is a good day. Like sickle cell lupus can be crippling and I was in horrific pain off and on since the middle of March. Finally getting relief. I just returned about two weeks ago.
I’m happy to read that Kim. I hope you have less and less of pain, and more of sound health. I’ll stop over at yours now.
A well written story. It’s very sad that Sickle Cell cure hasn’t been found yet, but like you wrote, sufferers do live a less painful lives now. Ayo was a very interesting young girl, I wish she’d lived longer though. I love her cute quote on hope and yes, welcome back! 🙂 I’ve missed all your posts!!
Thanks Christy, I couldn’t take my mind off her. It was such a long time ago and yet, I still remembered her as if it was yesterday. I’m back now, and thanks for your kindness!
You’re welcome Seyi. It’s good to remember people who have impacted our lives, regardless of how long ago it was. I always love reading your blog posts!
Seyi, thank you for sharing this lovely story of hope. I’m glad that you had peace when her time here was cut short. She would have wanted that.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
Thanks for reading Wendy. I was a kid then, but I still remembered it till date. She was like an angel made flesh. Yes, I did had peace, this post was a 30 year old tribute to her. I appreciate your visit my friend.
Much love. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Seyi. You did an excellent job expressing how much your friend meant to you.
Thanks for reading Jill, it’s so refreshing to see you here and I hope your writing dreams come true!
Aw…thank you so much, Seyi.
Thank you for reading!
My dear friend, you have touched my heart so deeply. I look at the gorgeous photo and read your story and weep a little. Yet, even through this tragic story of too-young Ayo’s suffering (and your shock and deep loss), you share her very essence and all that she gave you as your best friend. I have heard of sickle-cell anemia and hope that treatment is better today…
It is so wonderful to see you back here Seyi, I have greatly missed your life-affirming and inspiring posts and there is no way you could bore anyone 🙂 Your message is one of such beauty, filled to the brim with love, hope and faith, reminding us that we must keep moving forward each and every day, and never, ever to give up. Thank you so much for sharing your heart so deeply with us. God bless you always Seyi, and much love to you ❤
Yes my dear Sherri, treatment is indeed better today, but it’s still a very vicious disease and life limiting. Ayo was a sweet girl, she has a way of touching people. I wished she was still alive, but she knew Christ at such a very young age, that was the basis of her hope. Thanks for reading.
I’m indeed happy to be back, I’ve been gone so long I wished I could recaptured everything I’ve missed! I appreciate your kindness, love and friendship Sherry. I would be at yours tomorrow my friend, have a great night rest dear Sherri.
Love and blessings to you. 🙂 🙂
Bless you dear Seyi, and I would say the very same about you ❤
I'm glad to hear this about treatment which helps a little it seems…
See you soon, have a beautiful day my friend, and love and blessings to you too, as always 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thanks Sherri, I’m heading over to yours now, and I’ve got a cuppa and some biscuits to savour my experience! I’m not working today and the kids are downstairs… 🙂
Much love. 🙂
Wow, what a write up. Powerful message and tribute to you dear friend, Ayo. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are doing well Seyi
Thanks for reading Mojisola, she was a sweet girl. Appreciate your visit. Yes I’m well, thank you, was a little bit under the weather for a while but I’m great now. Would stop by yours soon.
Very touching Sandra. God brought her into your life for a purpose and her impact lives on even after all these years. A beautiful soul indeed. 🙂
Yes I believe you Celestine. She came into my life for a reason, she was like an angel, very sweet and kind. Thanks for stopping by my sis!
Much love. 🙂
Liebe Seyi ich wünsche dir ein sonniges schönes Wochenende mit vielen lieben Grüßen in Freundschaft Klaus
Vielen Dank für Ihre freundlichen Worte Klaus ! Tut mir leid, ich sah nur diesen Kommentar jetzt , genießen Sie den Rest Ihres Woche mein Freund !!
Sometimes it’s the souls with the most pain that shines the brightest–bright enough to last us a life time! I truly enjoy this story.
Thanks for reading Dannie. I can’t believe I’ve not responded to your comment, a terrible oversight, do accept my apologies. And continue to bask in the love and attention of your lovely mum!
No worries, pretty lady.
Thanks for that! 🙂
What a beautiful, touching story. Thanks so much for sharing it. ❤
Thanks so much for reading my friend! Do enjoy the rest of your weekend. 🙂
What a sensitive retelling of one of your memories my friend, you never fail to move your readers, once again you have conveyed a beautiful message of hope and one we can all appreciate.
You summed it up neatly my friend, it was bitter sweet memories but not one I’m keen to let go. She was a sweet girl. Thanks for your comment Ste J. Apologies for my late response, I hope your weekend has been great so far? Take care and stay blessed!
Memories make us…I injured my back stroking a cat but other than that I am good. Life is keeping you busy my friend, I hope your books are coming along well and that your weekend treats you well.
I’m so sorry to read that, hope you’re better now? Take care of yourself. My books are coming together albeit slowly. My weekend was okay, rested a lot. Do have a great week my friend.
I am taking it easy when not at work, it’s my excuse to sit down and watch DVD box sets lol. I’m glad you’re writing, patience is always a good thing my friend, just keep going!
Thanks my friend, I’ll keep at it. Hope your back is much better now, I’ll be over at yours in a moment. Take care!
I am feeling a lot better, it’s been a long week but I have a whole day off tomorrow so will treat myself to chilling out and reading I think (shocker).
That’s good then. Enjoy your day of chilling! 🙂 (why the shocker?)
well you know me, very rare that I read haha! Enjoy your weekend too!
Of course you read… oh yeah! I get you!!! Have fun not reading old friend. 🙂
What a moving story. We can learn from others so much, and hope is essential! wonderful Seyi! Wishing you a good week!
Thanks for your kind comment Ute, sorry for just replying now, I’ve just resumed work and had a lot of catching up to do. Thanks, I’ve been having a great week, hope yours was awesome too. Do have a wonderful weekend.
No problem, wishing you a great weekend. it is a bit warmer and It is lovely! 🙂
Yeah it’s warm! 🙂 Hope the weekend would still be as warm and as bright. Enjoy your weekend my friend! 🙂
The world is a mixture of ills and joys, it’s abnormal to fall cleanly to a side, whatever that does to our feelings. Good people often die earliest and there’s nothing we can do about that. Hope is only hope, keeps our spirits up but incapable of compensating us for being her good friends.
You’re absolutely right, the world is a mixture of all sorts. I truly appreciate your comment, hope to see you here again and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Such a touching story, Seyi. I could picture everything so vividly, from your new surroundings to your love for your friend. Many hugs.
Thanks for your kind comment, I truly appreciate it. Do enjoy the rest of your weekend!
What a touching story. From reading your account, I can see your friend is still with you in your heart.
Thanks for your kind comment, I still think of her a lot. I really appreciate your visit. 🙂
Liebe Seyi ein sonniges Wochenende wünsche ich dir mit vielen lieben Grüßen das wünscht dir Klaus in Freundschaft
Oh dear Sayi Sandra.
What a touching story. It tugged at my heart.
I know her beautiful soul is in Heaven – an angel amongst angels.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thanks for reading. There are people in our lives we can’t simply forget, she was one of those. Appreciate your kindness Rosy.
This loving and heart
Thanks so much my friend, apologies for my late response, I’ve been swamped with work! I appreciate your visit and I hope you’ll have a lovely weekend.
Much love to you and all that’s yours!
This loving and heartfelt story of your 10 year old friend, Ayo, really had me crying. So sorry she had sickle cell anemia and you were there while she writhed in pain. Just horrible. I love how she told you she kept on gong because you and her Dad’s Seyi, it is a tiny skinny box I am trying to typeing there.
What a touching, inspiring story, Seyi. Thanks for sharing about your lovely friendship with that beautiful soul.
Such a heartwarming story! Its always the ones who are ill that never complain, who have the most hope and cheerful expressions.
Most of us find people like your Ayo(How ironic, her name means my joy.. And that’s what she brought to many in life!), in adulthood.. People like her are a reminder to remember how short life is and how important,however brief, good friendships are.. She bought joy to others,and you bought joy to her!