One year on, it makes perfect sense!
So its one year today. And its so difficult to put these lines down. This day a year ago, it was a Saturday, the day showed no previous sign that anything was going to change by night. There were no signals in the sky(probably there were, but I failed to notice). There wasn’t any unusual foreboding. The day was almost closing. It was dark. (It has been dark ever since but we thank God for sunshine here and there).It was few minutes before 8pm when I got that call.
Last born just said ” she is no longer breathing”. Simple yet tragic. I couldn’t believe it. No, she can’t die, not even in a number of years. She has fought death and won so many times, death can’t even win now. But alas, the end had come subtly.
Death had crept in and stolen my dear mother while I wasnt aware. We had spoken the previous day and even when she said “tell your father to start coming home, my spirit is gradually departing”. I didn’t believe.
And so, what I saw next was a flurry of activities; people sitting in groups, calls from here and there, tent and chairs, gloomy faces, pats on the back, casket bearing her body, loud wails renting the air etc I saw myself adorned in a white iron and buba(first time in my life), sitting and watching the casket but it still didn’t make any sense.
When I arrived the previous day, I had gone to look at the dug grave ” six feet” as they call it. I stood for long watching it closely. I remember the times she had walked on that soil, at exactly that spot where she would be buried. No one had an inkling she would forever be committed there. We stood there to talk many times.
So, sitting in front of the casket exactly six days after she left, I could not bear to look at her face. I sat there as people stood up to take their last view. I saw them crying more loudly. And when it was time for the dust to dust, the casket having been lowered, it still didn’t make any sense.
One year on, it now makes perfect sense.
It started making sense when I kept checking my phone and she never called. She didnt even call to ask me what she should send(iru wooro, eran didin, some facial creams for pimples etc) She wasnt aware of my birthday again so there was no long prayers starting with the familiar family cognomen that makes the head swell like garri. I remember when laolu, Mr Banji’s driver stole the perfume she sent to me. She started using a big padlock for my bag and the key would be given to me by Mr Banji. That big Ghana must go from home was always like a treasure box, full of every goodies you cant possibly imagine.
When I felt lonely, so lonely that the air around me became thick with silence and all I could hear was just my faint heartbeat and the voice of my inner man, and ‘Iya Yet’ wasn’t there to pull me back to my feet, then it registered.
When I deliberately began to trek to work instead of take a cab just in order to have time to cry privately, then it made sense. It made perfect sense crying from Area 1 to Area 2 in Garki on foot. Then, wiping my tears and smiling at the office.
When life’s travails began to hit me hard and there was no one to talk to, it then made a lot of sense. I knew I was practically alone. I felt so lost in a foreign land. I felt so naked, so deserted. I gave brave responses on phone but I died a million times inside. Now I fight life’s battles alone.
A good friend had called me from Port Harcourt and he said to me “Olasiyan, to tell you the truth, the pain never goes away. Don’t let anyone deceive you. You can only learn how to live with it. You will always think about her”. I think that was the most real advice I ever got. I found it to be true actually. Having gone through the loss of his mother as well, he wasn’t like every other person who would say ‘I know what you are going through’ when in reality they don’t. He knew what he was saying, he understood what it felt like. And like a true friend, he walked me through it for a while. He kept on checking and checking.
I am grateful to this friend, and a whole lot of others who reached out through Facebook and my blog to send their condolences even when I said I didn’t want any. It still isn’t a walk in the park. No. Because I never saw it coming. Her own mother had lived to a ripe old age but she had died in her prime, at just 55.
So, on most days, I simply float with life. Sometimes I try to live life. But it has drawn me closer to my creator and made me more conscious of that final destination. Who knows when it would come?
My eyes are somehow dry as I type this. And I hope I can keep the facade for long. Today isn’t a day to remember her, I do think about her every waking moment.