In Loving Memory of my Son’s Dad

Stephen, my son’s beloved dad, took his last breath in his son’s arms yesterday. He was 55 years old. We met 30 years ago and 28 years ago we both became parents to our only child, named after him, Stephen. We separated 25 years ago but remained friends for life.

After experiencing chronic back pain for months and undergoing all medical tests possible in the States where he resided, he was finally diagnosed in November with Pancreatic Cancer. It was a shock to us all.

Stephen was there for me and my family when my sister had her battle with cancer last year. Stephen was close to my siblings, however, Kehinde was the closest to him. Kenny spent her last Christmas with Stephen at his house in Nigeria.

Stephen took care of himself, ate heathy, didn’t smoke or drink, always in a great mood, never one to give in to anger or hold grudges. He was generous to a fault to family, friends, and acquaintances. Unfortunately, the terrible disease didn’t care about all that.

Cancer is cruel and pancreatic cancer is one of the cruelest one out there. It doesn’t have a single cause and it can’t be prevented either. It kills rapidly as it is difficult to detect early. It is often detected only after it has spread to other parts.

I was privileged to spend some hours with him shortly before Christmas on his transit journey from the States through London back to Nigeria, I knew it was most probably the last time I would see him. Despite the pain he was in, we managed to have a good time with our son.

Stephen was my first love, a friend for life who never judged me. He was a Mountain of Fire senior pastor and I, a vocal Atheist. No, he was not a pastor when we met but became active in the church shortly after we separated 25 years ago. We had our quips, but we always knew what was most important, our son and our friendship. As we grew older, we got better and better at co-parenting.

He was a great dad and a wonderful person to co- parent with. He was a much beloved member of my family, a big brother to my siblings, who seemed to care more for him than me. He was a son to my parents until their death. He was a friend to my childhood friends who somehow still managed to stay connected with him after all these years. Everywhere he went, he was loved, and that was one of the traits he passed on to our son.

His son was everything to him. Last time we spoke he told me how his son knows everything about him, was his confidante and how he doesn’t keep secrets from his son. We both felt so grateful for the blessing that is our son. He took his last breath in his son’s loving arms.

Death is cruel, it is also a reminder of our mortality.

To all who have lost loved ones, especially to untimely death, a part of us dies with them. We try every day to fill that void with good memories of them but yes, they take a piece of our heart with them.



Stephen Agadagba Jones, you have started your journey as an ancestor too early, but we will always remember you with love, respect, and reverence for the good-hearted person you were on earth. Rest in peace.


  1. Jazzlet says

    Far far too young, cancer is horrid, but pancreatic cancer is one of the worst for taking people too young. Sympathy and especially for young Stephan.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    My sympathies -- my dad and several uncles and aunts have died of cancer. I hope we will see massive medical breakthroughs against “the emperor of maladies” during our lifetimes.

    • Yemisi Ilesanmi says

      Thank you. I am so sorry cancer has taken so many of your loved ones. Let’s hope we find a cure soon.

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