My Dear Kwansema, first, accept my condolences for the loss of your Komla, and our Komla. I cannot, for any reason, imagine the pain in your heart and how you may be feeling now. What I can only say for a start is please, cheer up!
On December 15, 2007, in my holy city, Breman Asikuma, I had the very unpleasant experience of giving a speech (that is what we nicely call a tribute?), about my beloved mother, Beatrice Acquah (aka Akua Ackom) whose body had been put in a closed coffin that stood before me at a funeral service. In the middle of my speech, I could not bear the situation any longer and had to end the speech as early as I could.
It’s over six years now but Kwansema, it would surprise you that I still weep about losing that special woman who gave birth to me and nurtured me. She cared for my siblings and me as a single mother following her divorce from my father. We were very young so I still don’t know why they divorced, but all I know is that this woman suffered greatly in providing for my siblings and me.
Sometimes, she bought things on credit, sold them and used the proceeds to pay our school fees and for our feeding. And we were around when some of the creditors would come and insult her if she was not able to pay them on demand, yet she never abandoned us. This was the woman, the special mother, whose body laid before me and I was to speak about her that day, December 15, 2007. I still can’t hold my tears, and sometimes, as I ponder over why she should die at the time she did when I was in a good position to care for her as my queen, tears roll on my face.
So my dear Kwansema, I greatly feel your loss and your pain. But you did one extraordinary thing. You showed how brave you are and how capable you are in bearing this great loss in the hope that you know Komla is with the Lord, this Lord who gives and takes at His will and this Lord who takes care of the widow and the orphans. Jeremiah 49:11 says: “Put in my care your children who have no father, and I will keep them safe; and let your widows put their faith in me.”
We had been crying over Komla’s death since January 18, when he died almost immediately after your famous and powerful prayer: “I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways, I will acknowledge Him and He will direct my path. Lord I commit my husband and my children into your hands this day.”
Though we were still crying up to the morning of Saturday, February 22 when his body was laid at the forecourt of the State House for the funeral, the situation changed dramatically. It was there that the most solemn of all the scenes happened. It was when you stood before the microphones to speak about your dear husband, just as I did about my mother that day in December 2007, that a flood of tears rolled on the faces of many, including myself.
You brought tears to the eyes of almost everybody, including those who were watching the events on television. But the consolation for me was the bravery with which you were able to say all that you needed to say about this special person in your life without breaking down in tears midstream.
Kwansema, nobody would doubt what you said that Komla was “such a great presence in our lives and my heart aches for my loss and for my children who have lost a fantastic and devoted father.” This is no exaggeration because to even some us outsiders, Komla Dumor was such a fantastic person and a gentleman.
Unlike many of my colleague journalists who worked with him closely, I never had the chance of being that close to him but we knew each other and whenever we met we easily exchanged greetings, mentioning our first names. I had planned to visit him at the BBC offices at Bush House in London on my next visit to the UK in two or three months, but little did I know that the last time I was going to see him on the screens of the BBC channel and hear him with his good reports was January 17, 2014.
I followed Komla keenly since his Joy FM days, simply because of his skills in asking quality questions and pinning his interviewees to the wall until they responded appropriately. Not the kind of interviews we see some of our journalists doing these days where they never prepare before interviewing people and, thus, ask silly and unintelligent questions.
One morning, I’m not certain about the date but it was either in 2000 or 2001. Joy FM had just acquired one of the new modelled VW Beetle cars and Komla was driving it in Accra from the airport direction towards the 37 Hospital. I was also driving in the same direction. Our cars got too close to each other just a little before the 37 roundabout. I quickly rolled down my glass and apologised for getting too close, though I didn’t know whether I veered close to him or he did. He also rolled his glass down, turned his head to see who the driver was and as soon as he saw me he started laughing and said: “Hey Frankie, you need to go for a test for a new licence.”
As we both continued driving, still in the same direction, he and the male companion in his front passenger seat kept on laughing while I also kept laughing till we branched off in different directions after the Afrikiko traffic lights. Kwansema, such was the man you and all of us have lost; the man who would smile and laugh over incidents where others would curse and insult.
As a loving husband, no one will doubt you when you said “he became the love of my life and one of the best gifts God gave me.” Truly, I say the same about my sweet wife, Vida, all the time, and that is where I shed more tears for you, as well as Elinam, Elorm, and Araba – your children.
My dear Kwansema, as you are a Christian and a good one with much trust in God, my only advice to you is to continue to trust in the Lord you have always trusted. It is always difficult for us humans to understand God, especially when things do not go the way we want. But I encourage you not to lose heart or hope and not to depart from this God who gave you Komla but has taken him away from you.
Remember that God is the only one who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. David testifies to this in Psalm 147:3. There is yet another assurance for you, my dear Kwansema, in Psalm 68:5: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”
The Prophet Isaiah comforts you in chapter 54:4-5: “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, (emphasis mine) the Lord of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called.”
Kwansema, like myself, I don’t know when you can stop mourning Komla. But cheer up, for the Lord executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10:18). Our gracious Lord will definitely keep you safe, my dear!
PS: We are still waiting, Mr Inspector-General of Police. The children and widow of Adjei Akpor, the 22-year-old man your men killed at Adenta on January 6, 2014, are still waiting for your response.
• The author is a journalist and political scientist. He is the Head of the Department of Media and Communication Studies, Pentecost University College, Accra. – [email protected]