Saturday 17 March 2012
This is going to be the second mother's day since you reastralled, to fully enjoy the glorious wonders of life that I shall not call you on the telephone, or hear you laugh.
I am writing this letter to let you know that we miss you very much, Ada Igbo. I also wanted to let you know that my wife Amaka, worthy mother of your grandchildren has already prepared mother's day meals a day before tomorrow's celebrations. O, how very much I wish you'd sit at the table with us, together, all of us blessing the good Lord for blessing us so.
I am comforted of course in the knowledge, without doubt, that you are happy and aglow in the marvellous light of God, that you are surrounded with love and the most peaceful peace, such peace that not even the most fertile mind can fathom. Continue to rejoice in the presence of the most high.
Happy Mother's Day to you mama.
Tuesday 17 August 2010
O laa la n'udo
O laa la O laa la
O laa la n'udo
Nnem nwanyi a laa la
O laa la n'udo
Ada Igbo, Igiriri Ututu, Ezigbo Nnem, Osodi ama mba.
Your great vessel; the body that I was formed inside,
that warmed me, nourished me, and comforted me
the body I hugged a million times, that beautiful body
that housed you for eighty-two years, earth,
the insatiable swallower of flesh and dust of her own soil,
ate on August 13th, 2010 and wiped her mouth.
Wiped her mouth like it was just another meal,
but it has not eaten you. It cannot eat you. It never can.
You know, I thank God because you lived every hour
as if there is heaven and up there you'd have your mansion,
even when your body was put through a Boston nightmare
for more than two years, like Job, you never blasphemed.
I wonder now, somewhat uncomfortably, if up there
another gathering of the children of God had occured
and God had walked over to that bugger and asked again
'...and have you considered my servant, Hannah?'...
Let me not think about this.
The best part of this story is that I can go to bed tonight and sleep
for if heaven indeed does exist, you are already there, no doubt.
But if heaven is just the most beautiful place, the most beautiful place
where neither pain nor rancour lives, where neither sickness nor death lives,
where the most beautiful songs are sung by the sweetest voices
of the most beautiful unstained egos in the most glorious robes,
and it is only a place to rest from your recent earthly sojourn,
have tea with Jesus the Christ and the Elders and The Great Ones
before you return to have another go down here, enjoy the wonders
in the Great Abode of your host, the creator of all, and His celestial bands...
and when you return, if as part of The Great Plan, you still need to,
oh what a privilege it will be, to be your son again, be your song again.
London 18th August, 2010
Saturday 19 June 2010
Away from our discomforted sleeps, you in
We pause to talk outside the now empty plot across the road from Chief Onyeado’s house where your little restaurant once stood. The flatness of that plot makes a loud sound like a judge’s gavel, as if it judges me and accuses me of something. You squeeze my hand tenderly, comfortingly, and I look into your eyes, distant yet happy, wanting yet fulfilled, and they say to me that whether or not I know it, given my peculiar circumstances in life, that you know that I have been as best a son as I could have been, that if I could have been better, I would most definitely have been.
Then we walk on towards Nkwonta. In silence. I don’t exactly buy the way you forgive my failings. I wonder if I had been less a coward at times, if I had been more of a risk taker at times, if I had done this, or if I had done that, if I had not returned to Nigeria from England in 1987, If I had not gone to Kaduna in 1991, if I had not gone back to England in 1997, if I had not remained in England since then… suddenly you remind me that the lights have not yet gone out in your house.
We walk on. In tauter silence. We walk past Odinga’s restaurant where some men have already taken their places eating roast antelope and drinking palm wine. You take my hand again and urge me to go to sleep, to be there for my son and for my wife and to continue to pray for you to get better. Then you say, “Ask God for the Grace to keep you from words of blasphemy. Let your every word be of thanks and of praise to the Almighty one. May His will be done.”
You are 80 years old today, mama. We, all your children have marked it in our individual homes with prayers and channeling of love to you. Not quite the party we all had in mind. If it is the will of God, we shall still hold that party to celebrate your life, and it has been quite a life.
In the forty years I have been your son, I have never known anyone more loving, more caring or more generous than you.
In the forty years I have been your son, I have never known anyone more forgiving, more peace-loving or more willing to submit to the will of the most high.
Through the many great moments of wonderful things that happened in our family and through the most tragic time in our family’s history September 1982 - December 1982; a four-month period in which you lost your husband Stephen in September, your son Chidi in October and your mother Agnes in December, you could only say, “God will give me the grace not to blaspheme.” I remember the way you have lived your life, the way you have raised me to put all my trust in God, and these are the things that make it posssible for me to keep it all together at a time like this.
I love you Ada Igbo. If there were words capable of expressing the way I feel I would use them here, there are no such words. May the peace of God be with you every minute of every day. May God send his ministering angels to you every minute of every day with the thoughts and prayers from all your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other family members and well wishers.
Today, I spoke to your old friend, Helen Leach, and could not believe my ears when she said she is starting a new course in Literature at University in May this year. Mama, Helen is going to be 81 years old in October. Won’t it be just mindblowing if you shocked us with a social or literary adventure like Helen’s sometime soon? She wishes you a very happy birthday.
God bless you mama.
With lots of love from three of us
Nnorom, Amaka and Arinze.
24th March, 2008
Going through the Igirigi Ututu files on my computer, I found the letter above which I wrote to my mother on her 80th birthday, 24th March, 2008. I never posted the letter to her, but read it into the ears of God as I prayed for her that day. I believed that God's ministering angels would deliver the message directly to her heart. I have left the letter as it was. Now I release it into the web, hoping that now she has passed away, she might have some kind of spiritual Internet where she can browse through and read this letter.
- Nnorom Azuonye