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.

In memory of my beloved sister

In the early hours of Tuesday 16 May 2023, my beloved sister, Kehinde Ilesanmi, passed away. She was 37 years old.


Kehinde Ilesanmi (RIP)

Kenny, as we fondly called her, was a vivacious, strong, kind, beautiful, lively, ambitious, hardworking woman with the most beautiful smile she freely bestowed on all around her. She was the big Auntie to all her nephews and nieces, they all adored her to the moon and back. She was an Auntie as well as a best friend to my son, they were inseparable.

Kehinde was undoubtedly the most entrepreneurial of us all. She was a consummate buisness woman, a professional insurance broker, and last year she launched her christian book, KAIROS.

Kenny watcher published book, KAIROS.

This time last year, this young woman who was preparing to step into a brighter future in her profession with brand new juicy opportunities, was out of the blue, diagnosed with a rare kind of stage 4 Sarcoma cancer. It was a shock to us all and none of us was prepared for the havoc this horrible disease would go on to wreak. In the blink of an eye, the cancer took over both her lungs, leaving her dependent on oxygen mask to breathe.

I remember frantically trying to get an emergency transit visa to Nigeria as my Nigerian passport had expired. I rushed down to Nigeria to be by her side.

On arrival, I was informed by the doctors that my sister had two weeks to live.

Kenny was a strong woman and she definitely wasn’t going to go down without a fight. So, she started the tortuous journey of chemotherapy.

She was a dedicated Christian and she held on to her faith to the end. With her determination and the love and support of her family, she was able to beat the predicted end date ( an end date she was not aware of as we decided to keep this info from her).

Soon after she started chemo, she gradually started gaining her life back. She was so strong. Her strenght and determination was amazing. I remember one day after another round of tough love and motivational prep talk from me, she smilingly asked me how i even think to come up so fast with the come back quips to any reluctance she has to do a task and asked why i havent published a motivational book yet as I’ve got a way with words. Kenny, maybe one day, I would do that just for you.

Two months later as I was leaving to go back to the UK , Kenny was also finally leaving the hospital, now able to breathe on her own without total dependence on oxygen mask and was able to ditch the wheel chair and moved to her new home on her own two feet.

The first round of chemotherapy helped stall the growth and spread of the cancer tumour in her lungs and we saw great improvement in her quality of life. She even surprised a friend when she showed up at her wedding looking gorgeous as ever. When she sent me a video of her at the wedding, I remember screaming with joy, and I will forever hold on to that happiness.

Unfortunately, the second round of chemo was not so successful. It was difficult watching her go through all that pain, and the many other complications of cancer.

On Tuesady 16 May.2023, one year after she was given 2 weeks to live, her fight came to an end. Her battle is over, her pain is over and she is now at peace.

I am consoled knowing the pain is over for her. The pain of losing a loved one is for the living to bear, not the dead. One cannot be fully prepared for the pain of losing a loved one even if one knew it was coming. The pain still pierces through the heart leaving indelible mark.

My sister lives on in my heart as the beautiful, ambitious, entrepreneurial, strong woman she was. I am extremely grateful for all the beautiful memories we made together.

Kehinde mi, Akehinde gbegbon

She was a twin. Below is the Yoruba Oriki Ibeji ( praise poem of twins)

Oriki ibeji – Ejire ( Twins)
Yoruba Praise poem of Twins

Sun re. Rest in perfect peace, my beloved sister.