Jackie Uko: My heart is heavy (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Jackie Uko


I started appreciating life more. I started making the best use of time. I learnt to love and care more, and say the things that I need to say. I never pass off an opportunity to give a compliment or lend a helping hand.

I relocated to Lagos sometime last year. I didn’t have any friend in my area. Life was super boring. Weekdays were all about work, weekends were all about preparing for the next week of work. Boredom knew me by name. So I decided to join a social club that met every Saturday and Sunday.

On my first meeting I met Sara. She was all full of smiles, so hospitable, and warm. I liked her at first sight. It turned out her residence was close to mine, so we hit it off immediately. She was good company. She was an answer to prayers.

It was so refreshing spending weekends with her after a crazy week at work. We went shopping together, went to the salon, ate, played games, we practically did everything together. We had mutual interests and hobbies. In no time she became a friend I couldn’t do without. She was a big sister. She was very principled. She taught me many things about life.

I guess you’re wondering why I’m using past participles. Well, Sara passed away. It was a very sudden and sad departure.

Sunday afternoon we were together, Sunday night she was shot dead by robbers. My heart is still heavy even as I write this. Here come the tears again!

The time I spent with Sara remains evergreen. It was four unforgettable months.

She left without notice, many things were left unsaid. The week she passed was the hardest. Crying couldn’t cut it; I had so much I wanted to tell her. I wished for the pleasure of one more day with her to tell her how much of a blessing she was to me, how much of a positive influence she was, how much I appreciated her friendship, and how much I loved her.

I continued to dial her number everyday unconsciously. I was only zapped back to reality when I hear “the number you are calling is switched off”. Then it hit me that she’s not at the other end of the phone anymore, and never will be.

Sara’s demise was a wakeup call for me. It became real that the person I see today I may not see tomorrow. I understood why they say, “Live everyday like it’s your last”.

I started appreciating life more. I started making the best use of time. I learnt to love and care more, and say the things that I need to say. I never pass off an opportunity to give a compliment or lend a helping hand.

So, let’s take time out today to say the things we need to say? Tell your parents how grateful you are for raising you to be the person you are today. Tell your teachers how much they impart your life. Tell your colleagues how they help you keep it together when you’re so consumed in work that you’re almost losing it. Tell your friends how their sarcastic criticisms make you a better person. Don’t hide your feelings. Get things off your chest. If you like a girl, tell her! Say what you need to say before it is too late.

A song writer once wrote that “it’s better to say too much than to never say what you need to say again”.


30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (5)

  1. SO sorry about your loss. Your message is put across so heartfelt and sincere. I pledge to be a better person from today and learn to say what i need to say and appreciate those worth appreciating.

  2. Dear Jackie,
    You’ve reminded me not to take any day or anyone for granted. This really strikes at the heart and I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. Thank you for finding the courage to share such a touching tribute to your friend Sara. May God grant her eternal rest and grant you the fortitude to carry on.

  3. Jackie, what a nice write up! When a person loses a loved one, its cathartic to hold on to the good memories and make new memories that you know honors the person’s memory (pardon the long winded sentence). Seriously though, its great that you have chosen to be a blessing to others and from this experience live with even more purpose than before.

  4. This is a touching story and I am especially impressed by your ability to distill the life lessons. May God comfort your heart on this terrible loss. Best wishes.

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