By Michael West
The shocking news of a suicide reportedly committed by a telecommunications company’s employee, Folake Abiola, an accountant, last weekend, shook the news media space. Largely described as a good woman, unmarried and an active church worker, Folake painfully ended her life abruptly.
Several issues have so far been speculated as likely causes of her action but since she’s no more to tell us exactly why she did it, let’s leave out the speculations.
However, what is glaring is that she was troubled. She kept her pains to herself until they snowballed into a mental health issue which eventually led to suicide. For those who may care to know, depression is a common mental disorder.
On February 8, 2020 edition of this column, headlined: “Heartbreak: Suicide, Never an Option,” I addressed the issue with real-life encounters. In fact, the woman I counselled against suicide who was jobless, frustrated, and depressed at the time is now a lecturer in a state university.
Because of the relevance of the article to the issue at stake, and for the benefit of those who have not read it, I hereby present a part of the February 8, 2020 article. Read on:
A number of people have expressed despair about life generally, while two of them confided in me about their plans to end their lives gruesomely and prematurely through suicide.
On January 4, 2020, precisely, God ‘arrested’ a woman on her way to drown herself in an undisclosed river. “I was in a public vehicle to the river to drown myself when suddenly I saw a man with a flaming sword waiting at the bank of the river. I could hear him loud and clear while still on the bus. He told me to go back otherwise he would cut me into pieces. That’s how I alighted from the bus about two kilometers to the river and I came back home.”
On January 23, 2020, I had a late-night WhatsApp chat and later a call with another woman and a friend who had made up her mind to end her life in a matter of days. I decided to publish our chats here because of several others who are still mooting such an evil idea in their minds.
Please read and share this article as a way of stopping the needless cases of suicide. Our chats:
“Good evening, sir.”
‘Evening my dear. How are you doing?’
“I’m fine, sir. And you?”
‘All glory to God, I dey kampe.’
‘Are you into another relationship now?’
“I’m yet to”
‘How about your job?’
“I’ve not got anything serious”
“But nothing interests me anymore. I want to go”
‘Go to where?’
‘By what means?’
‘You should talk to me. Are we no longer friends? I want to invite you for a talk’
“That’s nice. Anyway, I just want to tell you, sir, not to bother about me again. The game is almost over. I will soon go. I don’t want it to come to you as a rude shock. It is well with my soul.”
‘Are you saying you want to end it all by committing suicide?’
(No response – Silence)
‘Are you still there?’
‘Answer me now’
‘You don’t mean it. Do you want to commit suicide and throw your parents into mourning at old age? Do you want to commit suicide and leave your three beautiful children to suffer? You want to commit suicide so you go into eternal condemnation in hell for committing murder?
Who said your soul will go into eternal rest or peace if you kill yourself? How will your untimely death be the solution to your problems? Already your straying husband is dating another woman, enjoying himself as if he’s never been married. Is death your only response to his action for deserting you and your children even when you are not at fault?
‘Have you forgotten the saying that: “when there’s life, there’s hope”? Let me assure you, my dear, nobody has ever committed suicide without regretting it yonder. God doesn’t accept sorry or repentance in hell. While you are alive, you can make peace with God, your Maker. You have ample opportunities to repent and restitute your ways before death. There’s no room for repentance inside the grave.
‘All the prayers and wishful expressions people make for the dead have no impact or relevance in the deceased’s eternal destination. You can’t pray for the dead and the dead can’t pray for you either. Prayers for the dead are mere religious rites that are of no effect on the departed.
The only prayers that are very meaningful and effectual at funerals are those offered for the friends, family members of the deceased, and the other mourners. Sermons at funerals are meant for the living while the entire burial ceremony is just a reminder to everybody that it will be an individual’s turn someday.
‘Therefore, think deeply about your decision to end your life prematurely and unceremoniously. Think about the negative news report the incident will generate in the media. Think about the image, embarrassment, and grief your death will bring to your family and children.
If after your death Nigeria becomes a haven of opportunities, do you think there’s a way you will benefit from it? How will you feel, if God permits you to look back in the torment of hell and see your children attaining greatness and success when you should still be alive to reap the fruits of your labour?
‘If because you are no more, (God forbid) your children become deprived, molested, oppressed, and enslaved by other women, strangers, or callous people, how will you feel if you are allowed to see their condition from the pit of hell? Lastly, how will you feel, if you look back and see your husband, despite his wayward lifestyle, later repents and make it to heaven while you languish in the eternal abyss whereas you are in hell because of his bad behaviours?
‘Jesus the Lord says that what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul; or what will he use in exchange of his soul?
The simple understanding of this profound statement is that the entire American dollars ever printed plus the whole British pound sterling including the choicest mansions and the best of cars, yachts, and jets put together are not worth the value of one soul in the sight of God.
The spirit in you that makes you a living soul is that of God and not your own. Therefore, forceful termination of life is a grave offense punishable by eternal condemnation in the pit of hell where God does not answer prayers or accept apologies for any wrongdoing. Think about these things and make your choice.’
‘What’s your response to what I have stated?’
“Thank you, sir. I’m grateful”
‘You’re welcome. Are you still going ahead on your suicide mission?’
“Hmmmm. I don’t think so”
“I have changed my decision, sir. I will give life a little more push (weeps)”
“(She sobs) Yes, sir”
‘You’re not a mistake. God created you and everyone else purposefully. Be positive about life. Stop searching for who will bear your burden with you. Whoever God has ordained for you will certainly locate you. Get your acts together, pray the more, double your efforts at engaging yourself in productive ventures, and be positive about life and about yourself. Make yourself happy, my dear. By this time next year, your life will be a testimony of a great turnaround!’
“Amen, sir. Thank you. Good night (weeps)”
In conclusion, regardless of what life may throw at us, courage, patience, unrelenting efforts, prayers and faith in God for a better tomorrow will sustain us. Vicissitudes of life present diverse people with diverse problems; and solutions will come in diverse ways also. The greatest treasure God gave to mankind is life, and whoever terminates his/her own has committed an unforgivable sin and the judgment of God awaits the person hereafter. Therefore be strong, courageous and hopeful. Your tomorrow is great and God will see you through. Amen!
- West wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org 08059964446 08035304268