Saying Goodbye

Three weeks to the day today, I laid my close friend Ty to rest in South London. It was the hardest day of my life. Hands down. But I’m grateful that I didn’t have to do this on my own.

I did this together with a village, MY village, a family that has adopted, due in no small part to my big bro Ty who connected me with many of them and vouched for me.

Ty, this is hard for me and for so many others who love you. We can’t just get over you and get over your death from this cruel virus that is sweeping the globe. But I know that if you were able to talk to me right now, you’d acknowledge my grief, acknowledge my love for you and tell me to “keep it moving”. I’m trying bro, I’m fucking trying, real hard.

Thank you for reminding me that in order for me to be “a good player” I need to recognise a “good coach”. I’m sad you’re not here to coach me in person, but you are continuing to coach me with the example you lived while you were alive.

I need to go through whatever process that grief is taking me through. Please allow me that. Please. But as I start to heal, I’m going to get busy doubling down on the work you and I spoke about during our last dinner together, the week before lockdown. You called it my “Pursuit of Happiness” project. I remember you nudging me, motivating me to pursue this project…

“Haroon, you’re sitting on a ‘lottery ticket’, the experiences you’ve had…the story you can tell…”

Man…just quoting you reminds me of how you’re able to spit quotable lines the way most people use punctuation.

But yeah, there’s work to be done. Since your transition, we’ve been holding Pass The Torch sessions on Instagram Live where we celebrate your life and try to help each other heal. Your early collaborator Soliheen has featured on there and he said it best…

“It’s on us to amplify Ty’s legacy.”

I’ll do my part.

As you said on your track “Work of Heart”:

“We all return to dust, that’s a must….”

This a painful reality. Made all the more painful when I hear it from you in your voice on one of my favourite songs by you.

No little brother should have to bury their big brother. And as your mother said during your funeral, no mother should have to bury their son.

My time to transition will come too, that’s a must. And when it does, my lips to God’s ears….I’ll have so many stories to tell you..of adventures, of the stages I’ve performed on, of how I brought my “Pursuit of Happiness” story to fruition, of the new family and life I’ll have created. I’ll tell you about your new Godchildren and all the tales I told them about you and how much you would’ve loved them.

I’ll tell you tales of how I did my best to contribute to a brighter tomorrow, of how I did my best to make you proud.

Thank you for teaching me to look Upwards. I’ll forever keep my head held high. Insh’Allah.

In loving memory of Ben(edict) “Ty” Chijioke.

August 17th 1972 – May 7th 2020.

11 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye”

    1. Brother, thank you, it means the world for you to acknowledge the letter and bear witness to it.

      The bittersweetness continues.

      Sending love and healing.

  1. This is so beautiful.
    I miss Ty’s words of wisdom, he always came with a different twist to situations, and I can definitely hear him say, ‘keep it moving’. So that’s what we have do. Blessings to you 🖤

  2. Pingback: It's Ok to Not Be OK... - i am haroon

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