Farewell to a Gentle Soul: Tribute to Edem Kwabla Dugbenoo – Best Student; Aerospace Engineering class of 2013
If you ever lost a loved one, you’ll understand why this post had to be written. Beyond the comfort against grief, that sharing your pain brings, it’s important that people worthy of remembrance are made to live on beyond the evanescence of memory, and into the boundlessness of written words.
Do not index
Do not index
If you ever knew Edem, you’d understand
News of Edem’s death was a shocker. I’d three months prior taken a bus to Kumasi with three friends to attend Edem & Mercy’s wedding. That day we had decided that if anyone deserved travelling 5 hours across the country for, it had to be Edem. His unspoken influence on our university years was unmistakable. Edem was a pivot, and most endeared of all. On our way, we had laughed about his shy mannerism, and his inability to “dance to save his life”… but not a single one of us had imagined that in March 2023, we’d be called upon to pen tributes that should be read at his funeral. No, none of us could have imagined this for Edem.
Tribute by Samuel Edward Koranteng
It's easy not to have noticed Edem in a room if he was seated. He's what we'd have termed “a gentle giant”, despite his long fragile 6’ 2” frame.
But Edem was a giant in all respects. He was the very depiction of poise, of kindness, and of genius.
When the news of Edem's passing got to me, I was at work, seated across the desk from my office colleague. An old man. A former pilot who'd had the opportunity to work closely with Edem at the airport sometime post-university.
I broke the news to him. His words in response: "the tall gentle young man? I remember him. HOW! WHAT HAPPENED?!" — those words resonated with me.
For in truth, though Edem may have been many things to many people, to most of us he was a tall, gentle, selfless young man. An incredibly gifted, unassuming, yet noble in-his-own-way kind of person.
Edem had this characteristic shyness he displayed when he was ever put on the spot, and his wide gap-toothed smile prominently gave him away.
When I met Edem again, last December at his wedding, after what seemed like a decade, he still hadn't changed.
He had his soft-spoken-ness, and the trailing sway that he called walking. It was very much Edem, although he did appear slightly thinner.
I remember the sudden dash of rains that interrupted the wedding reception and added to the thrilling fun of the day. I remember the quaint, pretty decor, and the violet floral work that they had chosen for their big day. I remember his clumsy dance steps, as Mercy bested him, and the uproar that followed. I remember that it was a beautiful ceremony.
I wish I knew that it wouldn’t just be another 10 years before I’d set eyes on him again, but forever, for: I'd have told him that his genius was always a marvel to me,
I'd have thanked him for his many years of selflessness during University, when we'd be sleeping as he slaved through the night solving a 'hairy' aerodynamic assignment so we could simply copy in the morning,
I wish now that I'd thanked him for the seasons unending when we made his hostel room our class meeting point, messing up his space with sweaty bodies and empty takeaway food packs — Edem rarely complained about anything.
I wish I had thanked him for this, and for that, and for all the things he'd helped me privately with. I just wish.
But I couldn't. He was busy, it was his wedding day, and of course he'd be busy, and I'd have another opportunity – only I wouldn't. I can’t. My alibi is ruined.
I know I whispered that we'd come find you in Canada this year, but now God has determined that our next meet should be in heaven above, away from the decay, plague, and sorrow of this world. He alone is the Grand Architect of immense wisdom, and you know His plans are final.
So in the words of the Great Apostle Paul I take comfort, knowing that "...concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
Till we meet again in heaven Edem, farewell and Amen.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”