A Memory of Death

Oluwafemi Ojosu
3 min readMar 9, 2021

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They say death is a memory, but I have no memory of my death. Only the stuttering of my lisping tongue remain as memento of the time when I visited the doors of death.

My name is Oluwafemi and I am a stutterer. However, I was not born with my lisp. No child is.

I think I was about 3 or 4 years old at the time I acquired my lisp. I do not particularly remember which now. Carrying the AA genotype; particularly in Lagos, Nigeria, meant I was one in a legion of “malaria” prone children and like any other AA bearing individual of that age, my illnesses were legendary. I was in and out of the hospital on a regular and I think the volume of anti-malarials and anti-biotics that must have passed through my system are what have made me almost immune to malaria today… but I digress.

I remember we lived in Somolu then; the day of my death, in a three-storey building off Fakunle. My memories of that time are like fractured little pieces of time. Here one day and gone the next. I digress again.

Family lore has it that one minute I was being bathed to bring down my rising temperature, the next I was on the floor thrashing about, tongue bulging, teeth chattering, on my way to death. They say it took the quick thinking of my minder who put a spoon in my mouth to prevent me from biting my tongue, and called upon the neighbours who rushed my prone body to the hospital that saved me from certain death.

Some say I died and it was a miracle I came back to life. A friend of the family; Bro Go Slow had even taken it upon himself already to inform my dear mother of my demise, telling her to “take heart” and “ma sad” that “the Lord that giveth had also taken away”.

I do not remember dying, but if I did, I’d probably tell you an elaborate story about how I met St. Peter at the pearly gates and just like in that Coldplay song he didn’t call my name, how like with Ireke Onibudo; he gave me the tour of heaven… or was it Anubis? Again, I digress.

I do remember waking up though. I remember waking up to the sound of crying at the foot of my bed. I remember seeing an elaborate network of tubes and wires and it took me a while; blinking and shaking my head before I realised, they were all connected to me.

My elder brother would swear on all that he holds dear that my first words upon returning from the dead was a laboured “ mo mo mo mommmy “ which was stuttered out with all that I had although the veracity of that oath has admittedly, never been put to the test.

And sometimes, I wonder. I just wonder… I wonder that pe boya if I faint again, just one teeny weeny little small faint, that pe boya my brain will rearrange itself and my stuttering which emerged as a result of “fainting” will also just magically disappear beyen as a result of “fainting”. Abi kile think?

Ps: As at the time I set pen down to paper to write this, Facebook notified me that it was Sister Funmi’s birthday, I whooped as the memories came rushing back, I mouthed a silent thank you and I said a little prayer for her wherever she may be. Without her quick thinking, I probably wouldn’t be here now and I definitely would not have my memento from the time I visited the doors of death.

Originally published at http://femiojosuwrites.wordpress.com on March 9, 2021.

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