It’s exactly 10 years since you transitioned to the great beyond. TEN years! How time flies.
Time heals every wound they say, but they lie. Big time. Or maybe this wound is just too big, the pain too poignant for time to deal with.
It all seemed like yesterday when we were in Ikeja for bro’s wedding ceremony and two weeks after, you were gone. Horribly blown away beyond my grasp. On my birthday.
I remember I could barely function the months after. Just one week after burying your body, I had to leave for NYSC orientation camp in far away Adamawa State. I could barely recall the events of that one year as I went through the motions like a zombie. My best friend was gone and fate chose my birthday to strike.
I cried, wailed and howled. How could God allow that to happen to you…to us? He knew your struggles, pains, sacrifices and all. I would wet my pillows with tears every night asking whys and why nots.
Even though I pretend to be all grown now, I still ask those questions sometimes. Permit me to be human, please.
I still ache and hurt all over even though I sometimes consciously blank you out of my mind to keep out the pain forgetting that the most strongest picture resides deep down away from the ravages of time, the fine lines of your face are etched permanently on the walls of my heart.
Death took one of the finest to grace the surface of the earth.
You were my mother, confidant and friend all rolled into one. We could talk about any and everything. You remember the love letters I used to leave on your table/purse whenever I left home for school? I called you sweetheart in those letters, always letting you know how beautiful you were and that with God on our side, you would laugh in the end.
Letters of love, hope and assurances of a bright and rewarding future. Reward for your labour of love over the years, slaving yourself to the bones just to give us the best within your means without support.
Alas, those hopes and aspirations were taken away with your demise.
I also remember the preparation that went into those letters. I would go over the letters several times to ensure there were no grammatical errors therein. I knew you would mark and correct the letters and then keep same until I came home again. Once an English teacher, always……
You encouraged us to read, watch and listen to the News when all I wanted was to watch Soaps. I think I picked my love for literature from you, your library was not safe from my wandering eyes and hands.
I still have your copy of ‘Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta till date. The front and back pages are long gone now, I could read it over and over again as it became my most read and one of the best books I’ve read so far.
You practically sold all your prized possessions acquired over the years and borrowed unashamedly to see us all through school. Seven of us. Living on a schoolteacher’s meagre salary and pension back then.
I remember you were passionate about your career, you were one of the best and rose through the ranks by working hard and dreaming big. I still see the many awards from UNN in the corner of my eyes. You were a ‘lioness’. Even at 60yrs, you were still planning to go back to school for another degree in Law. Such passion for education you had.
You eventually retired from the teaching service commission thinking that things would become better, but they became harder and you had to resort to business, putting part of your gratuity into business, selling foodstuffs. We ended up eating into the business, you had mouths to feed nah…lol…capital + profit, down our hungry tummies they went.
All those tiring 4days journey to the Eastern part of the country to buy stuffs for sale. How comfortable were those trucks then not mentioning the hazards of the poor Nigerian roads? We would all mope around praying and waiting for your safe return. No mobile phones to track your movements but we all trusted God to always bring you back and He was faithful.
I remember how you used to lighten the dreary atmosphere back then. You had a wonderful sense of humour and had hilarious nicknames for almost everybody. You always were quick to see the bright side of every seeming dark situation.
Even though marriage was a huge disappointment spiced with infidelity and betrayals yet you kept the home together. You were the reason why we all kept up with the yearly ritual of celebrating Christmas and new year at home.
You were our anchor and support, rock solid.
You were tough and resilient and I still wonder how and why you gave in so easily when it mattered most.
You were a Christ-follower, always resolute in getting us to church even when I personally didn’t feel like going. Weekly services and sunday services were a must-attend for you and you encouraged us to develop a personal relationship with God. You taught us to pray fervently, in your own words, ‘pray so that you would not pray later’
You loved children and served in the children ministry till the end. You embodied peace, exuded an aura of calmness through your life. You were love and forgiveness personified.
You sacrificed all and yet when it was time to reap the harvest, the grim reaper struck. And not in a gentle manner but very brutally. Thanks or no thanks to you, others are now reaping the rewards.
My little chatterbox, your grandson D1 whom you never got the chance to meet before you departed pesters me unendingly with questions about you. You would have loved him, D2 and darling hubby like you loved us.
You had only 4 grandkids when you left now you have 17. Wow. More than a football team.
When you departed we were still struggling to find our feet but now everyone is okay, all 7 of us well settled. God has been so good to us and for this, we will ever be grateful.
You would be proud, mightily because it came at a colossal price.
I never had the chance to take care of you, even for a month. That has been my only regret. To have the chance of giving back and seeing your face light up taken forever away from me, from us.
I am happy I gave you that ‘Kampala’ I bought for myself during my internship.
My heart bleeds just thinking of what was and what would have been had you been spared but I am still thankful.
Thankful that I was privileged to come through you, thankful to have shared your life, struggles, pains and joys.
Thankful to have been held and loved by you.
Thankful your legacies live on in us.
Thankful we are now in a position to give back to the society you left behind.
Thankful you are free now from all the pains and struggles.
Thankful to be alive above all.
Today, as I celebrate another year added to my years, I celebrate YOU; my heart overflowing with all I want to share with you but I leave you to keep resting, sweet mum.
I love you, now and always.