Folashade, Feyisara Laniyan: A Painful Earthly Loss, A Monumental Heavenly Gain

Folashade, Feyisara Laniyan, LL.B, B.L.:
A Painful Earthly Loss, A Monumental Heavenly Gain

On the 14th of January 2010, the earth lost a spiritual giant and heaven gained a saint.

Folashade Feyisara Laniyan, nee Ojedokun was not born into this world alone, I, Olukayode Oluwole, had the privilege of being her twin. Folashade was everything I seek to be, bold, decisive, caring and forthright. She was a leader and brooked no barriers, accepted no obstacles, a lady of immense Christian faith.

She was also a madam protector and as adolescents she always offered protection to Adebowale, Akinola, my younger brother from my sometimes inexplicable wrath. Her strength was immense, her determination clear and her mission certain. She was a pillar of support to my mother and a benefactor to so many too mention. At home, a formidable friend to her husband and a home maker/organiser per excellence. Together they always found a new goal and a new mountain to climb.

Whilst she got most of her ebony looks, the better looks, from my father, Dr Olasupo Ojedokun I settled for a mixture of resemblance from both parents.

She graced this earth for close to 44 wonderful and productive years and was married to a remarkably generous soul, Mr Ademola Aderemi Laniyan and had four wonderful children until she was triumphantly translated to heaven on the 14th of January 2010.

She did not allow the ‘return’ of the ravages of cancer to affect the valour of her fight nor the stoicism of her faith. In the fight she was a sight to behold and example to follow. She indeed won the war and today many others and I stand inspired and stand in awe for the defeat of death and the mark that she left.

For me, Folashade, was a pace setter, while I displayed every sense of lethargy in secondary school education at King’s College, Lagos, she, Folashade made remarkable progress and as an arts’ student recorded a distinction in Mathematics at Federal Government College, Oyo. She went on to Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife to study law while I aspired to be a local champion at King’s College. I confess that through doggedness rather than pace I followed in her footsteps and eventually read law at the same institution. After a hard day politicking about, I could always look forward to a nice meal in her room while she was at Ile-Ife. It is remarkable that when I was rusticated from university it was my twin sister’s concern rather than my mother’s rebuke that made me turn over a new leaf.

After she qualified as a lawyer she was posted to Ogun State for her youth service and I followed after her a year later. She choose to remain in Nigeria, got married while I departed for the shores of the United Kingdom.

In Nigeria while many others went to work for banks in the short term boom of the eighties she settled into the Law firm of Bentley, Edu & Co and worked her way to the Associateship position, before departing for Jackson, Etti & Edu where she became a Partner and worked in the specialised area of trademarks and intellectual property.

Her generosity knew no boundaries, when I was called into the Christian ministry of Friends International; she and her husband generously provided my family with a eight seater vehicle as a gift. When I was awarded my Ph.D, she surprised us with her presence, arrived on the Friday and returned on the Sunday after the ceremony. I say, a remarkable lady in every material particular.

Style came to her naturally, she graced her homes and her person with elegance, again a sight to behold and appreciate. The world will certainly be poorer with her absence.

Today she stands, gloriously victorious in heaven while the enemy is astounded, she graces God’s presence after life’s fitful struggles. Some may say have they not won? But I quote from the Bible, the book of 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 and ask:

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

’Shade, now you have departed, who shall set the pace for me? Now you have been translated to glory who shall challenge me? I wonder, I do wonder. But to Ademola Laniyan, to Moshope, to ‘Tomife, to Temiloluwa and to Boluwatishe we, Adebowale, Morayo, Olajumoke, the Laniyans and I owe it to follow in her footsteps as mighty vessels in the hands of God. We the Laniyans, the Ojedokuns and other relatives will not rest till we attain the fullness of God’s desires for our lives. We will give our all for your children, for you would have done the same for us.

I choose to begin my conclusion by addressing Ademola, Moshope, ‘Tomife, Temiloluwa and Boluwatishe, also to my dearest mother and all those that mourn:
Joy cometh in the morning, for the scripture tells us so and I know so. I do not know if life would be worth living if it did not. There is evil in the world, there always will be, and we can pray against it and we know that when our saviour comes triumphant it shall be banished completely.

Today, with Ademola’s permission but with God’s help I promise Folashade, Feyisara that your dream lives on, that the future you worked so hard to build will become a reality.

We remember the scripture Psalm 113:3 that:
“The Bible says: From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.”

Therefore we all make a promise to Folashade Feyisara, a soldier extra-ordinaire of the Lord:
In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we will remember to praise the Lord.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of the water, we will remember to praise the Lord.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we will remember to praise the Lord.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we will remember to praise the Lord.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we will remember to praise the Lord.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we will remember to praise the Lord.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we will remember to praise the Lord.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we will remember to praise the Lord.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we will remember to praise the Lord.

So long as we live, Folashade too shall live, for you Feyisara, are forever a part of us, and we will always remember to praise the Lord Amen.”

Ejire mi! Adieu! Till we meet again my dearest and elegant twin, a mother and above all a wonderful wife! You are irreplaceable Folashade whose beauty and compassion, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.

Written by
Olu Ojedokun
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21 comments
  • Panaf, even though its over a year i still mourn my dear friend, but reading your tribute over again just gives me the assurance that my dear friend is in a better place and also thanking God for a wonderful life she lived. MY prayer everyday is that God should continue to strengthen you, mum ,bros Ade and the children. Indeed it is well. Amen

    • Dear Abiola, how are you? How was Christmas? Trust all is well? I have now written and published another book, ‘Folashade Feyisara Lanyan nee Ojedokun: Joy in Place of Grief’. I hope you can launch a copy so generously to immortalize your friend for whom she was, proceeds from the book launch will go towards the ministry am engaged in…

  • We praise God! Thank you for sharing this with us. God bless you real good, I would love to keep in touch as you walk the walk of faith.

  • My dear sir,

    I saw your response today and it set me off in tears, I do thank you exceedingly for the encouragement that it brings to me. The truth, however, is that I feel completely humbled and almost a fraud, for I do not deserve any of the ‘accolades’ you have directed towards me. The truth is that I am a deeply flawed individual who but for the grace of God would have been exposed to ridicule. Your response inspires me today, to be, through, Christ, to be a living sacrifice. May God bless you, may he keep you and may you continue to be a source of blessing to many of us. I would love to keep in touch.

  • This is an exceptionally brilliant and thought provoking response to Dr. Ojedokun’s eulogy. I was at the Wake in Kent and must commend the family for their unwavering faith and total submission to the will of God. May Shade’s gentle soul rest in perfect peace. BTW, I have experienced a ‘rebirth’ after listening to, and now reading, both the eulogy and Pastor Femi’s response. Thank you so much. You’ve saved a soul. Shade’s passing-on is not in vain.

  • Deeply moving…We cannot mourn like they that have no hope. Nothing…absolutely NOTHING can seperate us from the love of God. At times like these, words cannot ever be enough, it is our belief..our faith..our conviction of the death and resurrection of Jesus that is able to carry us through. Her spirit is free of her weak body..free to worship the Lord our God, our creator. What amazing grace.It is well.

  • First of all please accept my condolences on the painful loss of your sister. Twelve years ago I lost my immediate older brother at the tender age of 43. Like you, I looked up to my sibling in many ways and was often conscious of his superior abilities and achievements. But I cannot pretend to understand what it means to lose a twin. I recall the words of one of the twin publishers of the Guiness book of records, the late Norris McWhirter, when his identical twin brother Ross was assassinated by an IRA bomb in 1975: “It’s as if half of you has been taken.” May the Holy Spirit, “the other Comforter” promised and sent by our Lord Jesus Christ, whom you evidently know intimately, comfort you and strengthen you in all His grace and mercy, through the love of our Almighty Father!

    The other reason why I write is to express deep gratitude for ministering to us, your brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world who have read your eulogy. I read it in today’s Guardian online and immediately HAD to send it to a dear friend who has just lost a relative – a deeply devoted Christian with an outstanding testimony – in the Haiti earthquake. The friend’s response was immediate and positive.

    You may not be conscious of what you have done. You merely set out to express your heart about your beloved sister. But God has used what you wrote to accomplish “exceedingly abundantly” above anything that we can imagine. Indeed, our best deeds as Christians are often done when we act in character without any thought of reward or recognition. Paul never intended to write scripture: it was his deep pastoral love and care for the church that made him put pen to parchment, often in tears and anguish over the little flock scattered about in Asia and Europe. The Holy Spirit used this to create masterpieces of theological exposition that have been of immeasurable benefit to the church through the ages.

    As a church pastor, I often have to deal with grieving, questioning brethren. And herein my other reason for gratitude to you: a large part of helping the bereaved is often educating them on the true import of death for a true believer. Increasingly I find that I must start by first deprogramming them of a mindset that sees physical death as the ultimate disaster. Unfortunately, we pastors are at fault, since we have taught them (either explicitly or by implication) that success is measured in material terms, so it is entirely logical for them to come to that conclusion or adopt that mindset! The symptoms are everywhere: two examples should suffice – (i) testimonies are focused on material breakthroughs (when last did you hear a testimony of greater consecration, a besetting sin overcome, etc.?); (ii) a child of God dies ‘unexpectedly’ (you know what I mean… either suddenly in an accident, or in defiance of a whole string of “prophecies” promising miraculous healing) and no one talks about it, or everyone acts as if nothing happened; when in fact it was an occasion for celebrating someone’s graduation! I once had to confront a fellow pastor who spoke as if death was the worst thing that could happen. Unknown to this pastor, a young person in the congregation happened to have lost their spouse after a painful struggle with cancer. Both of them were devoted Christians. This person was distraught and I had to spend some time ministering to them to restore their equanimity.

    In complete contrast, in your article, you exhibit the type of faith and character I often urge on my grieving brethren. You do not minimise your loss or the reality of your grief; at the same time you are not mourning like those who have no hope (1st Thessalonians 4:13). You rightly recognize that your beloved sister has run her race and finished her course, and to paraphrase Paul again, has received the crown of righteousness laid up for her (2nd Timothy 4:8). I am not easily moved but I must confess that what you wrote brought tears to my eyes.

    I hope one day to have the privilege of meeting you in person – I know it will ultimately happen, if not here on earth definitely in glory. I would also love to meet your pastor or whoever it was that brought you up in the Lord to have the right outlook in these matters. They are to be commended for contending for the true faith.

    May the Lord who gives peace that passes understanding, fill you with joy and peace as you remember your sister’s life. May the Father of all mercies and the Lord of all comfort comfort her husband, children and other loved ones. Once again, thank you for sharing not just your grief, but the One who makes our lives worth living; the One of whom David testified that His lovingkindness was better than life itself. To Him who sits on the throne, the immortal, invisible, and only wise God, be glory for ever and ever, amen!

  • A beautiful and touching piece this is..The death of aunty Shade is indeed very painful and sad…i wish i wasn’t her..but who are we to question God!!Thank God she knew her God,she will be resting in the Lord’s bosom now.May God grant you and all these she left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.

  • Panaki, i share in your grief at this time, Shade was indeed a good example of a virtuos woman, Our consolation is that she knew her God and that we will meet in glory. My heart goes out to Ade, Mummy and the kids too. It is well.

  • I never knew her, but I know people that knew for the longest time, and their testimony of her is so heart warming like yours, the world is indeed poorer for her loss! Sorry for your loss

  • What an emotionally moving article! I am so sorry for your loss. May Folashade, Feyisara Laniyan’s soul rest in perfect peace.