UNN: Atheism Did Not Kill Chukwuemeka – from a Close Friend.

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People should be guided. I’ve come across posts, comments and their replies stating that Akachi’s atheism necessitated his death. I’m not advocating atheism, but religious inclination, for me, isn’t mandatory (I don’t even think atheism is a religion). The walls of choice and freedom are built around life. 

Let me say this. Akachi and I became friends under strange circumstances. You may not believe this, but I walked to him the first day I saw him come out of his department like a fugitive, dressed in worn-out attire. I didn’t know what pushed me to talk to him about it that day, his footwear in particular. He laughed… The rest was history. 

Even though he wasn’t too open, he talked about a lot of things the first day he bought mishai for me, we talked at length. (He’s extravagantly generous). He had discovered I write, too and said he also liked my sense of humour. He said he was confused about life and love. He told me he didn’t know what he wanted in life in general. That shocked me. That he can’t love because he can’t settle with anybody as a result of the inexplicable confusion. God knows I talked to him. I did. I made recommendations even. While I talked, he stayed at me interestedly, like I was the narrator in a moonlight tale. I told him my experiences; how my classmate saved me from taking poison. I was very close to doing it. We sat opposite Eyo-Ita hostel that night. It was around 7. He told me he would think about everything I said and went home. To Town. 

Again, he talked about his academics. He said he was disappointed people thought he was intelligent, but he didn’t make good grades. And it pained him. I didn’t know if this was a joke or something. I didn’t confirm. But he told me everything with sadness, that he made some C’s and D’s and an F because he registered and didn’t write a course or two course for some strange reasons. I told him life is more than grades, that he could make A’s in life through his writing. It inspired one of my posts, “You Worth More Than Those Tears.”

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Akachi talked about his write-ups. He wanted to cry when he told me a publishing company rejected his chapbook. He told me he suffered for years to write it, to make it better. I told him my rejection stories, too. He cheered up a bit. But from what I saw, he couldn’t cope with disappointment or rejection. He was momentarily disillusioned with a beleaguered life threatening to consume him inside out. He seemed helpless, like one predestined to undergo what he was undergoing. 

 

This is a very controversial one. Akachi often behaved strange, like he had had gone nuts. He could ask you to hug him tightly in the middle of a road, or under the keen eyes of trouble-hungry onlookers. He would so loudly roar in laughter over a slight joke witnesses would chill with surprise. 

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I remember I told him two things: first, he was mad. And I wasn’t joking. When some behaviours became scary, I even suggested he had an evil spirit (the idea that often accompanies a religion leaning) and that he needed spiritual help. From God. He told me He doesn’t care about God. In fact, I often chose my words to maintain our friendship. If he broke good news to me and I said, “I thank God,” he would wince. Sometimes, I even told him to take it like that. But he would tell me he didn’t entertain religious talks for long. He told me about his online therapist. But then, he closed the chapter early and said the therapy wasn’t working “effectively on his confusion about life” in particular, but he was fine, then. I spoke to him. When I tried to probe further, he said I should forget it.

 

 I may not know his reasons for atheism despite his Christian background. It was a dreaded topic between us. It was like what he swore never to tell anyone. However, considering the little hints he gave and all, atheism isn’t responsible for his suicide. Experiences and internal struggles may have contributed. Yet, I suspect there may be more to his action than meets his eye, but placing atheism as the chief reason is helplessly myopic. 

 

Some may say why I maintained he didn’t open up or didn’t show much that he needed help. Behaviourally, he presented his problems like casual problems; everyday problems a normal human being would overcome with time. Even when solutions were suggested, he didn’t take them serious, perhaps he thought they wouldn’t be effective or something made him wave them away and didn’t make himself available for a repeat of such talks, like his life was already summed up.  

 

He said he stayed with a relative in Town. I don’t blame her if she didn’t observe because he put up some fronts to mask his problems (laughter, smiles, friendliness, hospitability). And I cry I didn’t unmask them like I would have loved to, like others may have loved to, too. 😭😭😭 And I must he didn’t make himself available that much. We had our moments in flashes of opportunities. We didn’t see often as he shared his stay between Town and hostel, but whenever we did, it was significant. But sometimes, he took very long to reply my chats. Typical Akachi. 

 

Now, I’ll talk about my problem in the next post and all the suicide posts I made and the reasons behind them. Then, suicidal thoughts exploded in me like a dry pod of seedlings. I am a Christain, mind you. Life was too difficult, too demanding, too gruelling. Things were so bad I had bought poison already. 

 

I will shock you with my own struggles. I am not as normal as my posts say. If you want a hint, go the my short story, The Shock, check my reply to Ben Dike’s comment. You’ll understand my bizarre issue that often affects me, and presents me like an amnesiac patient before my neighbours, causes mood swings and causes some other unpalatable behaviours.

 

 I once collapsed twice in school. Some thought it was due to hunger in particular, but there was more untold. What you will see in the reply will tell you. I feel it inside. Strongly. I fantasise it. That’s why I love my seldom-worn white garment. It gives me the feeling. I need help, too. Although I don’t like talking about it, like Akachi. I’m not completely free from suicidal thoughts. But I won’t say I’m depressed as my problem is not a consequence of depression. People blaming Chukwuemeka’s friends (on the grounds of neglect) for his death isn’t helping matters in my forthcoming exams, my emotional stability, myself in totality.

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