They tell us that we don’t grieve the way the world does, because we have hope. While this is true, the facts remain that we still grieve and that grief is not a sin. It is a natural process, designed by God to help us work through the immense pain that culminates in the sad acceptance that someone will never be a part of our lives again on this side of heaven.
I dread the loss of someone I love. If you allow yourself to love deeply like I do, you have probably felt the same way. You simply want to hold onto that person forever, even when holding on feels selfish.
This week, my husband and I attended several home going services, they were all for parents of dear friends of ours. The most remarkable one was on Thursday and Friday; the home going celebration of Sir Chief Julius Babasanmi Fatoyinbo, the father of our friends, Pastors Biodun and Modele Fatoyinbo.
We have listened to Pastor Biodun preach the word of God with power and doctrinal precision. We have been friends with the Fatoyinbo family and have seen their hospitality, integrity and loyalty in friendship, but, this time we saw this great man of God break down and cry. Even though I knew the nature of the gathering, somehow, I wasn’t prepared to see their grief. It broke our hearts to see them broken.
In the mist of grief, there is always remarkable strength that emerges. His strength was revealed all throughout the weekend, but most especially when he held his mother. He mustered up supernatural fortitude and held her while she made her final declarations of love to her late husband at the graveside. It was such an inspiring and cherishable moment.
When someone has strong family values, I find myself appreciating them. I saw first hand the love Pastor Biodun showered on his wife and children, the care and concern he has for his mother and the honor he gave his siblings, however, all of it could pale in comparison to the depth of love he had for his late father. We could literally feel his pain as we watched him carry the burden of the entire family on his shoulders as they lowered his father’s body into the grave. As the first son, he will continue to care for and support his mother, siblings and extended family following the demise of his much loved dad.
The Fatoyinbo Family was surrounded by friends from all over the world who honored them greatly with their presence. As I was speaking with Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, one of the guests from the U.K, he made a striking statement that seems to summarize the entire burial weekend. Pastor Matthew said, “Honor begets honor. Pastor Biodun has honored me immensely, being here for him is the least that I could do.”
The Fatoyinbo Family honored their father this weekend, a man who spent his life building his children so that they would be honorable people. It is painful to say goodbye to someone so dear, but, they did it beautifully with humility, grace and dignity.
On a lighter note though, I learned a new phrase of greeting from the COZA Protocol team during my stay in Ilorin . Everywhere I met with any of the protocol team, I was greeted with “I celebrate you, Ma.” So, when I greet you with the phrase “I Celebrate you” you sure would know where I got it from. 😂😂😂
At the end of the day, it taught us something great. Honor begets honor, celebration begets celebration. Watching Pastor Biodun bid adieu to his father was a true experience of honor.
Picture credit: @biodunfatoyinbo