Death is a debt all mortals owe. The circumstance or timing can sometimes compound our grief: yet, there is hardly a good time to die. Every day is a gift that we must cherish, until that final moment.
Abongo, was a brother in every sense of the word. His teachers called him Stephen Asamoah, His first family called him Stephen, for us his second family, we simply called him Abongo.
Wednesday, February 9, began like any other day in my life, little did I know that, it would end up as one of the worst days ever. It was a day, I wish I could not wake up to, if I had known what awaits me.
The following message was how the passing of our brother, friend, and mate was announced on our whatsapp platform by Dr. Senyo Gudugbe.
It is with a deep sorrow that I announce the passing of Abongo this morning.
Stephen was battling an aggressive liver cancer. Unfortunately his biopsy showed the tumor had spread to his entire body, giving him very little time . Our brother is gone home.
In spite of our individual circumstances, we showed great love and support. God bless you all.
Let's keep each other in prayers.
After reading the message, I immediately went numb as if I was in a trance. Abongo your untimely death is a big blow to us all - it is more cruel than terms could give out. I am yet to come to terms with the harsh reality that you are gone and I was never going to share the rest of my days with.
This is arguably the hardest article I have ever written since I began writing some few years ago. How can I pen down my thoughts about a mate, a friend and a brother who was larger than life for me, our colleagues and everyone that came across him?
I didn't imagine myself writing a tribute to any of our friends, much less you, now or even in the next 30 years to come, because we have still memorable journeys to travel.
Abongo lived for 15695 days, he was alive in this world for 515.999 months, he spent approximately weeks and he breathed for 2.26e+7 minutes.
Our journey to manhood that ultimately fostered the bond we have built together as a group, begun in January 1996.
Bishop Herman College was where everything started, if it was a movie, I will say that was the crime scene.
We embraced each other, became each other's keeper, our love for each other grew from being class and school mates to brothers.
We were young, innocent and fragile, we found ourselves in an environment where we were answerable to two masters, i.e. the last batch of form six students and seniors in SSS 3, to survive we quickly formed a bond that stayed with us till today.
Abongo, throughout our three years stay on Bishop Herman campus, you were bold, brave, and courageous- and your heart was a fountain of human kindness. You epitomized love, you lived, breathe and shared love to everyone who came across you, your juniors, just like your mates, have a lot to say about your kindness.
At the first sight of you, because of your stature, one will mistake you for a bully, but you were not only huge in body, but your heart too, it accommodated everyone, even those who chose to mock you.
Life, as they say begins at 40. Many of us last year celebrated our 40 years journey on earth, the group organized a get together, and as usual everyone was expecting to see your towering figure, but sickness, which eventually took you away from us, kept you away from attending. It would have been the last gift you had for us.
When the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the world like a tornado or even worse, primitive fear overtook humanity to a level unprecedented in modern times, it prevented us from having our regular meetings and outings, and so we never got the chance to have our last meeting since last year, to say proper goodbye, before you went the way of all mortals.
Abongo, you had the brain of an elephant, your vivid and graphic recollection of everything that happened when we were on campus, will be missed. You were our historian, you have a story of every single one of us.
Your encounters with Bob Gilly, who will warmly welcome you in heaven, is always a delight to listen to when you tell them. You can mimic the man, who initially was all out for you, but later became your friend.
Our meetings, get together, programmes, will be empty without your presence. You light up the place anytime you appear, your wild laughter, is something we can all tell miles away. I will forever miss the few times you drove me to our meetings and the stories we shared.
Although, I am a journalist, you had 'filla; about happenings in our dear party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that amazes me. I have picked a few pointers from you, which have helped me in my work.
Many times, I am asked by our colleagues if I ever get angry, that question suits you most. In more than 20 years that I have known you, I have never seen you angry or frown, you were always building bridges. BHOBU 98, will miss your kindness, you give even if that was the last thing you had. You were lively and accommodating.
One thing that I never came around to ask you, was your popular saying 'Saatakayas', I never understood, what you meant, I am sure when we meet in heaven, I will not miss the opportunity again to ask you.
Abongo, you lived like a man not counting the days in his life, but the life in each day.
You are not going to be buried but planted. You are a seed planted in a fertile ground by the river which doesn't grow into a plant, unless it dies first. In us you will sprout and continue to live with us.
God rest your noble soul Abongo, till we meet again.
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