FRANQUE’s FRIDAY: Science and Faith

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I recently heard about the passing of a friend thrice removed. Being thrice removed insulated me from most of the pain, anguish and confusion the family and closer friends would be going through.

There is always that pain and anguish we feel when we lose someone close, someone dear; a parent, a child, a friend, a sibling. In her case she was all of these to different people.

How do you explain a mother’s passing away to a one-year old? The loss of a daughter to a mother? What do you say to the grief stricken family?

I can tell you for free, it’s not easy.

A friend of many years had been told by doctors that his wife could never conceive. Different doctors gave different long winded explanation. They gave blood, he gave semen, they viewed pictures and reviewed charts. In the end it was usually the same verdict they had heard before: his wife could never conceive.

They accepted their lot and lived their lives for each other and the people around them. Nephews and nieces, for these they have a carton, preferred to vacation at their house. Their house was always crawling with people during the holidays.

When a year ago, they announced that she was pregnant, it felt like Christmas. We were all so happy for them. She glowed and radiated a light some needed sunglasses to look at, and he just beamed and floated through the days at work, racing straight home to his wife after. She took things easy, ate healthy, went for her check ups regularly, and he would not let her lift her fingers to do anything.

Their joy was complete.

She lost the baby.’

I read those four words over and over again, not comprehending. My life bottomed out and I felt like someone was sucking all the oxygen out of me.

‘No!’ I finally typed.

Very sad….God knows best abi?’ He sent me.

‘So they say. What do I know? I won’t even try to drown you in faith speak…’ I replied him.

I was just quiet, and sad, and weak.

A year has come and gone and we all carry on, still each time I remember, I send them each a couple of hug smileys.

Two days ago, I was visiting a colleague when her mother came home. She had barely sat down when her phone rang: an elderly uncle of hers had just suffered a stroke. She had been called because she is a nurse.

She quickly got a few things together, giving instructions to the caller over the phone as she got ready. Less than five minutes later, she was gone.

I called that colleague this morning because we planned on going swimming today, and she told me we had to first go and deliver some more items to her mom.

On the way she told me how her uncle, aged 76, had survived the stroke only for his son-in-law, aged 52, to pass on the night before. And no one knew how to break the news to Baba.

Throughout the drive she kept muttering, and when we got to the house, it was a sombre mood that greeted us. Mercifully, since some much older relatives came around, Baba had been told. They said he took it quite well.

It was there that we learnt that the in-law who died had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. At least that is what the doctor who pronounced him dead on arrival at the hospital suspected.

They said he was hypertensive and went for check ups from time to time, but he never got his medication reviewed.

In a lot of the deaths that I know, speculations are rife and a lot of questions are asked. Some people turn to science. Medicine can answer most of these questions, science can supply what else is missing – most of the time.

We want the truth, we want closure but then not a lot of people can handle whatever truth, so we find those who turn to religion and faith.

“God gives and God takes”, “If God did not will it, it wouldn’t have happened”, “God knows best”.

PS: When people are grieving and they turn to you, sometimes they do not need your version of the truth, nor do they need you to shove God down their throats. Sometimes, they just want you to sit there with them with your mouth closed and your heart open so that they know you are trying to understand, in your own way, how they feel, and more importantly, that you are there for them.



"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.


  1. a colleague in d office said off handedly dat if u came through 2012 without losing family or dieing in a flood,dana crash(whether up or down),accident,kidnappn or boko haram,u hv plenty reasons 2 b thankful even if u didnt make a billion…as human beings,we’ve been thought 2 see things 2 a logical conclusion,and when we don’t, we just loose it.dying prematurely never sits well wt any human we switch over 2 science cos it has a semblance of wt we want 2 hear-logical xplanation of wt happened…and when science does not,faith takes over.whether blindly or otherwise…nengie hw u d?

  2. Qhaycee is right, I for one have a billion things to be thankful for.

    I learnt first hand how painful and annoying the ‘remember Job’ talk can be a long while ago. Now, I just try to be there, sitting quietly, hugging when necessary.

    Sober friday Franque? The next one should cheer ppl up!

  3. Just lost an inlaw to robbers in rivers state,he left behind my sister who’s just 29yrs old with a 1year old baby and a 3wks old pregnancy he didn’t even know about.How u console someone like that is totally beyond me.

  4. D has been soooo much death dis year its beyond ma comprehension. I tink I’ve gone 2 more funerals nd hav knw soo many pple who hav died dis year more than any! Its been such a sad year. I pray God protects everyone I love for 2013!

  5. As for me, i just sit there and say nothing, all in the hope that a gentle touch/squeeze of the hand, a hug or offering a shoulder would mean more than empty words. No words can console in this case so i gladly chose to break my heart for what breaks that of the bereaved.

    By the way, i like the use of the title and album art of The Script’s 2011 album. Nice

  6. Hey Family, Faruk went bonkers earlier. We are back now. For now 🙂
    @ qhaycee: good to see u back on here. How’ve you been?
    @ Kay: I envy you that ability. I should learn it.
    @ nengie: let’s just say some will consider next week’s post sickly sweet.
    @ Lorlah: we gotta live life, yes?
    @ Taramii: There’s never an easy way to do that. Just be there for her and be strong too *hugs*
    @ AjSarpong: My dear, we havta make it past Dec 21st, yes? 😀 U handled yourself well last time I saw u. *hugs*
    @ Gionezta: Bless ur heart.
    @ Goodness: My regards to your mom. Bless your heart.
    @ Deoye Falade: U caught me there 🙂 I thought that worked best.

  7. 2 close friends’ mom died in the last 2 months. I am a fixer so when i can’t fix, i go into panic mode and want to run away. Couldn’t run away from these though. Need to learn to not be a fixer and just be a silent comfort. Such a hard lesson to learn. Great post and gave cause for reflection. Thank God for his mercies on us.
    This came in time because my heart is very heavy over the shooting in an elementary school in CT right now. At least 27 families that will be spending xmas in sorrow. Keep them in your prayers~

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