Dbanj, on his first son
So begins the sonnet On my First Son by 16th century English poet Ben Johnson in which he laments the passing of his first son and his namesake at the tender of seven.
I couldn’t help but think of his elegy when I heard the news of yet another father losing his first son and his namesake.
Daniel Oyebanjo, better known as D’banj of course, suffered a loss no father should have to last week as his 13-month-old son Daniel Jr. drowned at home.
According to reports the singer was away in Los Angeles for the BET Awards and while he is yet to make an official statement, his black Instagram post shared last Sunday with the caption, “Trying times. But my God is always and forever faithful” seemed to confirm the news.
The news went viral fast with condolences flooding in from politicians, celebrities and fans.
“@iamdbanj, I am really sad to read about the death of your lovely son. Death of a child is the saddest thing for any parent.
On behalf of my family and I, please do accept our sincerest sympathy,” wrote Senator Ben Bruce on his Twitter page.
Fellow singer Banky Wellington wrote, “Having a hard time finding words to pray, but I’m praying for both of you.
May God give both of you strength and comfort in this terrible time. I’m so sorry bro!”
Tiwa Savage, D’banj’s former Maven label mate, also chimed in with, ““I was just holding you last month, celebrating your birthday.
I am in shock; my heart is broken. This is unbearable.”
Messages coming in from the fans of one of Nigeria’s biggest stars were equally sentimental and empathetic.
But along with the good came the bad. For any sensible person who musters the empathy to offer solidarity with and prayers for a grieving family, there is always that one or thousand olodos who have not had their fair share when God was giving out common courtesy and the milk of human kindness.
“Who was minding the child?” they asked. “Where was the fencing?” they questioned. “D’banj, we’d warned you!” they commented.
A 13-month-old was gone and here were a bunch of kidults already demanding answers and placing the blame unfair and square on the heaving shoulders of a grieving mother and father.
One Tobi Samson, on his Twitter page recalled that no fewer than seven followers of the singer had raised security concerns after D’banj posted a video of himself and his son walking beside the pool.
He said, “Not 1, not 2, not 3… up to 7 angels in the form of followers raised the alarm five weeks ago when they noticed the indoor pool in a video D’banj posted with his now late son. My heart is crying.”
This heart-breaking news came only a fortnight after the 19-month-old daughter of U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife, the professional beach volleyball player Morgan Beck Miller, drowned in a Southern California swimming pool.
While many on social media showed Miller and his family support, there were a few dissident voices criticising what they perceived as poor parenting which led to a 19-month-old to drown in the neighbour’s pool.
From Los Angeles to Lagos, two devastating stories of lives cut short, parents presumably coming to terms with the loss of a baby, through the seven stages of grief. One of which includes guilt.
Being a parent naturally comes with the responsibility for the wellbeing of your child and a sense of guilt that is never too far away should any harm come to them.
How many stories of children hurt or killed in accidents we’ve heard of which often involves a parent second-guessing their actions prior to the event.
“I should have…” or “had I done such…” are phrases built into the vocabulary of any parent, whether it is a broken leg, a bruised knee or the lifeless body of a child.
According to multiple reports, D’banj’s wife, Lineo Didi Kilgrow has been placed on suicide watch. We are yet to get an official statement from D’banj but doubtless he is a broken man.
Accidents happen. They are no joke, especially when a baby ends up dead. Most certainly an investigation will find out how little Daniel got to the pool.
Regardless there is a time and a place for that. Until then, instead of apportioning blame, can we not let the parents have some time and space to fully grieve for the loss of their beloved son?
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