One of the most difficult things to do is to pen a tribute when tears still drop on the paper you write on. I have no choice on the matter. Nearly two months after my mother took an unscheduled flight out of this realm, I still live in disbelief, perhaps because I have not gone to the morgue to see her body. Certainly, I will come out of my delusion on Friday, December 4, 2020 when she would be laid to rest. As she is lowered to her grave, it would become clear that she has gone to the great beyond, where all mortals are bound to go.
My mother’s mode of exit was so sudden, it could as well be termed an accident. I got a call that grim Saturday afternoon that Mama went to ease herself in the toilet and slumped there. It was her house help who raised the alarm. I got the call, and sent one of my younger brothers to take her to the hospital. He reported that mama said she needed to rest a little before going to the hospital.
My brother obliged her and I told him to keep me abreast of developments. You can imagine my bewilderment when the next call I got in less than 30 minutes was the three letter sentence: Mama is dead! I have hardly recovered from that shock. My brother said she was conversing with him on their way to the hospital and suddenly her face began to twist towards one side of the body, and she stopped talking. That was it. He still drove to the hospital where the doctors confirmed that they found no life in the patient. You see why I said it was like an accident.
You were not told that your mother was sick. You were told she was dead. I would face reality on that interment date, and still see the body; the reality I have shied away from confronting. Her lowering to the grave would seal the fact that I would never see Lolo Mercy Chinaka Ewuzie again in this life time. Her husband, Chief Lucius O. Ewuzie, of Umuenyi-Umunkwo, Isiala Mbano L.G.A Imo state, had his ancestors four years ago.
My mother was in her teenage years when she got married, and in fact, also had me in those teenage years. She grew in her husband’s home, although it was the vogue in those days for girls to marry at that age. I have often wondered how those people managed their marriage in contra distinction with what we see now. But that is not a matter for this piece. Permit me to still dwell in my delusion and write to her.
‘ I was the ‘boy’ for which you were named ‘Mma Aboy’, later to ‘Mmamboy’, by which you became known by everyone in the family, and even extended members. You were very tender, in fact, still in your teenage years when you had me. It was in line with the early marriage for girls that was prevalent in your days. I can never forget the tears that dropped from your eyes the day you joined take me to college as a boarding student from class one.
You remained concerned about me and my siblings until you boarded this unscheduled flight out of this side of the divide. You were not sick, never admitted into any hospital: just slumped and passed away before you could get to the hospital. In all things we give thanks to God.
But from my human perspective, and inferring from what I knew about you, I can vouch that it happened that way because you did not want to subject anybody to any form of inconvenience. You would have felt bad if, after taking you to the hospital, and giving the care we could, you still passed away. I wish you gave us that opportunity. But the extremely loving mother that you are would not allow you let your children go through such wasteful stress.
I find it hard to bid you farewell, because as far as I am concerned, your death was untimely.
At 77, you ought to have begun to savour the care of your children and grandchildren. I was full of hope, and even assurance ( now false), that you would also welcome your great grandchildren. I take solace in your extra ordinary kindness and generosity. You touched scores of people with your kindness and generousity. You kept taking care of your children until this unscheduled flight. I am grateful to have had you as my mother. I would not have wished for anything more. I love you, but God loves you more.’
There is no good time to die, but everyone knows that these are not the best of times for Nigeria, with a recession on the heels of the Corona Virus that has virtually crippled every sector. We still would be the rather natural sequence of her children burying her, not anything in the contrary.
Again we have faced the reality a fate that awaits every mortal, and the fact that we need to get set for the life hereafter. It is real, and we would all face it someday. Good night Mmamboy. I pray that you would awake at the sound of the trumpet, and if I have joined the saints triumphant before the sound, we shall awake together.