My heart is broken. I am in a state of cold horror. Everything seems to be without value, life included. I feel a kind of frigid numbness. I am still trying hard to wrap my mind around this finality. His death has changed my perception of life, even my relationship with myself.
I am nearly twice his age. I got sick with stage 4 cancer - one year and a few months ago. My doctors announced that I would die in days. My family and friends prayed.
I survived. I am still alive, able to work and do some of the activities that I like the best – reading and writing. The same activities Lawrence loved equally.
One of the young people who prayed for me and always kept in contact was Lawrence Randall. I saw him early this year in Monrovia. He was excited to see me. He cheered me on to speedy recovery. We laughed and hugged. I was grateful.
When I heard of his illness I felt so badly. He was in coma and I could not talk to him. I prayed ceaselessly for him. His death has caused me gut wrenching pain and grief. I want to accept his death as a part of life – to comfort myself. But then again, it is just too difficult to believe that he died just too young.
He will be remembered for his intelligence, sufficiently displayed in both his professional and personal life. Lawrence died just too young. But we all know that his achievements exceeded his age. He was the founder of the Liberia Media Center.
I recall when he and others established the Capitol Magazine, and the assortment of media outlets that have emerged from it. I was asked to write an article for the maiden publication. I did so willingly.
He had the sheer human spirit of a maverick – a man with fire in his belly to defy the odds: whether it is poverty, other life challenges – he beat them.
He was introduced to me many years back by a mutual friend, Wynfred Russell. When Wynfred called me to announce Lawrence’s death, he was equally broken as I feel as I write this tribute. We lost a good friend.
It will never make sense that a man so brilliant, so full of aspiration, and on his way to greater things in life would die when he was beating life’s odds and achieving his dreams.
His death has forced me to ask: “Do we still need to plan, hope, and dream that tomorrow will be better when all these things could be snatched by death so suddenly?”
I am shattered. I am hurt. But then again, I find comfort that Lawrence touched so many of us, and he continued to do so in sick bed and thereafter. Yes! He wants us to grieve, but he wants us to keep looking for greater heights in our personal and professional lives. He made his life to count. I am sure he wants each of our lives to count as well.
Little brother, you taught us to look forward. Through this old guy and many other young people, you will continue to live. But somehow, in my delusion, it still feels like the journey you took to go to graduate school has not ended. I am still wondering when you will come back.
By Emmanuel Dolo