I can’t remember when I first met Lawrence but I am sure it was when we were both Jambites and were in the same faculty – Faculty of Arts. We had to take some general courses together in first year and sometimes sat near each other during lectures at the Large Lecture Theatre (LLT). Somehow, we became friends.
I remember the last time I saw him: it was after our final papers. We gisted about our hopes for the future, NYSC, our relationship with God and our love life. I gushed about my then fiance (now my husband) and he also gushed about his girlfriend. After that time, we only contacted via phone.
The phone calls stopped somehow during youth service. Then, after NYSC, someone sent me a lovely text message from a strange number and signed ‘from L’. I wasn’t sure if he was the one because I had two friends whose names started with the alphabet L. I procrastinated about calling the phone number. I don’t know if it was from him. I guess I was too caught up with my personal struggles – especially job hunting as a fresh graduate. I am sure he was, too.
I was browsing through Facebook recently and I saw a group page for graduates of departments in Faculty of Arts, UI for the year I graduated. I looked through and I saw someone talking about Lawrence’s death and funeral. I was shocked. The tears flowed down my cheeks. I did not care that I was at work and I could not afford letting my then boss see that I was browsing on Facebook. I wept bitterly in front of the computer. The most painful part was that the Facebook post was dated over a year ago. And I did not know that a dear friend had died! I remembered his smile and how he encouraged one with his words. He was truly a gentle soul and he loved God and his neighbour.
He was one of those people who are always smiling even if they are going through hard times. I remember a day we had an impromptu test at a 7am class in 100 level and the results were generally woeful. Like everyone else, I was complaining but this guy was still smiling. I figured that he did well in the test. Later, I learned that his grade was poor – almost poorer than mine and I was awed. It was as if he went to smiling school.
I wished I had spoken to him more and tried to contact him. It made me think about life. We should do the best we can for others because you never know if that is the last time you will ever see each other. The same goes for opportunities, connections, potential life mates etc that many people might have missed.
Goodbye Lawrence Ezediunno till we meet at the Lord’s feet. Good night. May your gentle soul Rest in Peace. Truly, goodbye is the saddest word ever.