LifestyleNewsNigeriaJonathan mourns demise of only sibling

…Says eight of his siblings died before their one year birthday

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has mourned the death of his only sibling, saying that eight of his siblings died before their one year birthday.

Jonathan had penned an emotional tribute to his late elder sister, Madam Obebhatein Jonathan, who died on January 11, 2024 at the age of 70 years.

Jonathan in an emotional tribute wrote, “Sister Obebhatein is gone! How I wish I could turn back the hands of time. How can she depart the world now when our mum is in her nineties and knowing that our mum has only two of us as her surviving children?

“No! I still find it hard to believe that the only sibling I have from my mum is dead. The news of her death was the most devastating and unkind news that my ears suffered to hear for as long as I can remember. It was too hard to process and bear now that the family has come to accept the Grim Reaper’s cold jab.

“Yes, I knew she was ill, but I believed she would pull through. Little did I expect death to come knocking so soon?

“I was in Bayelsa State on December 27, 2023, and stayed through the New Year period. During that period, I spent some time with her. I noticed that my elder sister was up and about, even attended some ceremonies but a bit frail in her gait.

“Even then,  she assured me that it was no longer so much of a concern. I still insisted that her doctor should conduct a comprehensive check on her and advice on the best course to take for her full recovery.

“I had a personal matter to sort out abroad. As I travelled on January 8, my thoughts were squarely on my sister. In my head, I had worked out a plan to send her to a specialist hospital for a follow-up and comprehensive examination once I returned. But that was not to be.

“Later, I got to hear that the Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa did their best to avail her of the necessary care, especially when her condition suddenly worsened. They assembled many consultants, including endocrinologists and neurologists, and carried out an MRI scan and other required tests in a bid to stabilise her.  But her health deteriorated so fast, such that the cold hands of death could not be stopped.

“Her death is terribly traumatising. We know we will all die, but the time and circumstances of death are critical and significant.

“Now that she is gone, can our mother take this news? Can she survive it? I did not brief my mother in detail about why I had to travel abroad, but I reckon that someone might have told her that I could also see a doctor during the trip.

“That must have been a piece of information too dense for her to digest. Is she losing her only two surviving children at the same time, at such an advanced age?  This is a woman who had ten live births, but eight died before their first birthday. I could only imagine the devastating storm the development had triggered in her psyche.

“Sister Obebh exited this world at the wrong time. Mama will have to contend with the eternal absence and loss of a daughter who had, over time, become a mother and grandmother and her companion in her old age,” Jonathan stated.

“Since she retired from teaching ten years ago, my sister has become our mother’s associate, friend, confidant, and key support system.

“There was a special bond between me and my sister. She was the only sister I knew growing up, and I was her only brother from childhood. Together we lived, dreamed, played, laughed, loved, fought, and stood for each other.

“In the tapestry of my life, there are threads of love, humility, companionship, and an unbreakable bond that belongs solely to Obebh, my dear elder sister. As I write this, my heart is heavy with sorrow yet overflowing with gratitude for all that God led her to do for me.

“Obebh, from the beginning, you were not just a sister but also a guide, a confidant, and a fellow dream-weaver. Together, we navigated the labyrinth of life, chasing shared dreams with a determination known only to those who truly understand the power of close sibling camaraderie.

“I’m eternally grateful, blessed beyond measure, to have grown up alongside you, my beloved sister.

“Even though you are no longer with us in body, your memory, and the love we shared will forever remain in my heart. Thank you for the cherished moments, the unspoken understanding, and the unwavering support. You will always be a part of me, and I will carry your legacy with honour.

“We’re all grieving now, but we’re hoping for Almighty God to comfort and strengthen all of us. We will take solace in the fact that you were an exemplary woman and role model who lived a dedicated life of service to God and humanity.

“Farewell, my dear sister, until we meet again,” Jonathan added.

Uzoamaka Ikezue (Staff Reporter)

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