How do I tell the story? How can I compress all my feelings and thoughts about you into a passage? It is not possible but I will try. Komla, from the time I was brought home from the hospital, there had always been one constant in my life. It was you. Our entire childhood, we shared a bedroom together.
I suppose like every younger brother I idolized my big brother. You represented what I could become. Older, wiser, faster and stronger. Unlike daddy, I could see myself as you in a few years. I model myself after you and you are the perfect model. You understood the responsibility of being an older brother to me and a younger brother to Mawuena. You always supported me in anything I did. Gently correcting me, guiding me with the wisdom you had acquired in the 2 1/2 years you had been on the earth before me.
As kids, the family moved several times- six different homes by the time I was nine. The frequent moves meant we had to learn how to interact with new people and make new friends with ease. It also meant that the only friends I could be certain of keeping were you and my sister. It forged within us a strong and unbreakable bond. You always have a gift for putting people at ease. You could make people feel as if you had been their friend for years. In an airport lounge, you would strike up a conversation with another transiting passenger and would while away the time until it was time to board.
School for me was easy. I would arrive with ready-made credibility. I was Komla’s brother. No further introductions were required. People sometimes talk about how hard it is to be a junior in a secondary school. I had no idea what they were talking about. You always were a protected blazing path ahead of me that I would only have to walk through. Throughout our life, you never placed any pressure on me other than to be the best that I could be. You are honest and kind. You took delight in helping others. When there was a need for someone to lead, we would all naturally gravitate towards you. Everyone knew that you would be fair and often put your own needs behind those of others.
We would share our secrets, our hopes and our aspirations, what we wanted to do and how we would do it. Lying in our room late at night, you would tell me stories into the early hours of the morning until we both fell asleep invigorated by your dreams. You have a way of dreaming big but at the same time making it all seem very attainable.
For all of your popularity, you remained well grounded. You would never trumpet your own success. For you, this was not the Dumor way. For someone who could entertain a crowd, you are a very quiet and reserved individual on a personal level. “A good day for me”, you once told me, “would be locked in a library all day long with enough food to keep me”. As your star rose, you remained true to yourself. We would be together and people would recognize you. We have never gotten over how funny you thought this was. People would stop you to argue over points that you have made on the air over a month ago. Not once did you refuse to speak to them. With a beaming smile, a big handshake or a warm embrace you with engage with them. It could be a president, it could be a petty trader, you treated everyone the same. You showed them love and respect and placed the value on them as an individual.
You were authentic and people could feel this in you. Who you were in your public life was as cool as who you were in private. “Korshie what you do when no one is looking, when the cameras turn off, is what makes you who you really are.”
There are parts of you that few people knew. Starting your morning with a word of prayer, an uplifting verse. The call, or text message you would constantly send to encourage me and others. Your stories were always full of hope and a chance to edify. This was how you felt about Ghana and Africa. You loved your job and could not believe that the BBC would pay you to travel across the African continent doing what you would have gladly done for free. You have such great hopes for the African continent and the African century.
For all that you did for all those who knew you, what concerned you most, what you were truly proudest of were your
Elinam, your father talked about you always. When you would get distinctions in your schoolwork or performances, he would send us pictures of the certificates.
Elorm, every goal you scored at football I would hear about. The time he spent with you and your siblings were when he was happiest.
Araba, your every step, your laugh, the things that you said that made him smile, he was so proud to post online for all to see.
The world has lost an African giant. But you, the children, have lost much more. He would gladly trade all his achievements just to see you fulfill your individual potentials. Rest assured that he watches over you and we are going to stand resolute with you. Your father was irreplaceable.
Now here I stand for the first time in my life, I do not have you Komla to turn to. I have to forge my own path. This is unfamiliar ground. I still have you in my phone listed on my favorites list. I still grab up my phone thinking that there may be a text message from you. The pain I feel for you is deep, Komla. There is a hole in my soul that I struggle to fill.
As in life, Komla you have gone ahead of me. Tell Mummy we say Hi. Let her know we are well, Let her know that together we achieved what we all thought was impossible – We got Daddy to throw away the khaki pants she hated so much! I am comforted by the knowledge that we will meet again. When I get to the gates of Heaven once again I will need no introduction, I will simply say “I am Komla’s brother.”
You once said to me “Korshie, I don’t fear death, it comes to us all. I fear not making a difference.” You always had a spirit that was much older than your age. Perhaps, this is why you have left us so early. But rest in perfect peace big brother. You have made every difference in this world.