Thursday, 29 May 2008

My mother swore.

So apologies for the silence but the wheels have been spinning and rubber has been burning and life has been moving at the speed of light. What? Another week gone by? You don't say. So much has been happening, is happening, was happening.

However this post is all about my mother. It all started with the death of one of her best friends as detailed in my previous post. The fact that this lovely lady was younger did not help matters. Bad enough when you are at death's doorstep at 72 but when 68 year olds are leaving you behind well it preys on the mind. And it has been preying on hers. So much so that she has been quite poorly. However this is not a shout out for sympathy.

Last week after knowing her for some 40 odd years I heard my mother swear and cuss for the first time ever. The reason for this was understandable. It was that old foe NEPA. Having been deprived of electricity for weeks and with both generators having decided to give up the ghost together she found herself having to sit out on the balcony all day just to breathe. Maybe it was unfortunate that I chose this very time to call her to check on her wellbeing. It was then that she swore. The dam broke. The years of quiet middle class respectability went out the window.

To be frank it was quite scary. It was only one line but still it was like a blow to the solar plexus. It was like I was speaking to a stranger. As is my wont I have spent a long time deliberating about this outburst and to be honest with you I am scared. Not for her. She will be alright Insha Allah. But for me. For my children. It seems so long ago we would be sitting in front of NTA and then all would go dark. "Ahh NEPA" we would all scream as we scrambled around for candles and torches and made our way outside to play various games or tell scary tales. We would also catch crickets and roast them as a snack. This is all a good thrity years ago!! Thirty years and yet here we are with my mother sitting on the balcony sweating because NEPA has struck again? After thirty years? Nothing has changed?

So I pictured myself thirty years from now. In the twilight of my years. Is this the fate that awaits me? Will my children phone me only to hear me cussing out the bastards that run NEPA \ the Government whilst I sit sweltering and bloated from the heat on the verandah of my home sucking in fumes from slow moving traffic? I feel ashamed. I feel I should have done more. I feel I should do more.I must do more to make sure it does not happen.

But what can I do?

Monday, 5 May 2008

Goodbye Aunty

My aunty, Mrs Jade Akande, passed away suddenly last week in her sleep. Her death hit me very hard but not as hard as my mother who is trying to be strong but we can tell that her emotions are boiling beneath the surface. What made my aunty special to me was not all that she accomplished but the humility and grace that she retained till the very end.

I now regret my procrastination in telling her something that I had wanted to tell her for some years. How proud I was of her. How she motivated me without knowing it. How I was in awe of her. How I became dumbstruck every time I was around her even though she was the most comfortable person to be around.

When I read about her organising the march for mothers following the Sosolido crash I was so proud but not surprised. She was one of those people that do rather than talk about doing. When planning my return to Nigeria one of the things I promised myself to do was to tell her to her face how proud I was when I heard about the March. But alas it was not meant to be.

I also wanted to ask her to be my mentor. To show me the way in making things better for others as she had done. Now I will have to find my own way. My own causes to fight. In her name. To honour her and to let her know it was not in vain. To let her know she left some torchbearers behind. I am sure I am not the only one.

Rest In Peace Aunty. May God be with you always.