On the 28th of August 2012, my life ended. My mum died.
Let me tell you about my mum.
I started life hating her. As far as I knew back then, she was dedicated to making my life miserable. She was the person who would wake me up at after one in the morning, sit on me and beat the sleep out of me (of course I deserved it, but I did not think so then). I still have some scars immortalizing those sessions. She insisted we boys stayed in the kitchen with her as she cooked, because in her own words ‘just because all I have are boys is no reason for me to kill myself’. She made sure we learnt how to make every meal she could make whether we liked the meal or not.
I did not think I was learning anything then. As far as I was concerned she hated me and therefore was making life miserable for me. So I pledged to make life as miserable as I could for her.
Being the in-house black sheep, it was almost too easy. I got into trouble as often and as regularly as I could, just so I could see that drowning feeling in her eyes. The cliche thing is – I thought making her feel that way would make me feel better. But all I felt was a lot of hurt.
I became more and more withdrawn. I was not friends with my siblings – I felt misunderstood and rejected. Going through secondary school as the butt of a lot of jokes did not help matters either.
And then I went to the university. And things changed.
I met someone who helped me understand that there was a lot of good in me – a lot of good worth saving. That person helped me let go of a lot of the pain, anger and hurt…helped me through into some inner peace. And even though things still get a lot ‘dark’ now and then – it’s clear there’s been a lot of changes, a lot of growth…for the better.
Because of these changes, I began to understand my mother more. I grew slowly and gradually closer to her – and began to understand that she loved me.
She really loved me.
I could cook. I liked making meals for her (like once in ten years) just to hear her say ‘I taught you well’.
Sure it wasn’t a smooth road. But we were making progress. In fact, it was such that everyone – family, friends neighbors always referred to me as her husband. We were close and it was obvious; in public or private.
We talked a lot. She confided in me and I in her. There was almost nothing I couldn’t tell her. ALMOST NOTHING.
She knew my friends, the girls, the writing, work, issues, the depression – anything that bothered me she knew about it. We discussed issues of faith – she had an idea about my struggles but I did not give her details. I always thought it was better if she didn’t know. Whenever she asked, I just gave the usual response; ‘just pray for me’. A response she took seriously.
My mother prayed for me. All the time.
Another cause for consternation – I just lost my most reliable source of free prayers.
I keep asking myself – ‘what now’? ‘What next’?
Everybody keeps telling me to shake it off. They keep telling me how my mum would have wanted me to be happy no matter what. That annoys me.
If she had any say in the matter – I think she would have stayed – at least for a bit more because she knows just how devasted I would be. I look at her picture and cry. And ask myself – what do I do now?
Where do I go from here?
Suddenly I feel so purposeless. I feel like life has no meaning for me anymore. Like…I don’t have any reason to try any longer.
I should be focusing on the positives; I know. But it’s almost impossible to see light whEN the eyes are closed.
I can’t write anymore for now. This is enough for a day.
But I can say this – so far this has been the worst year of my life.
If I was asked; back in January on one of my trips to Ojota to Occupy Nigeria, if someone had asked me ‘what are the things you expect this year?’ I’m sure no matter how crazy my answer would have been – loosing my mother would NOT have been one of the things I would have said.
But here I am. Nine months into the year. Motherless.
I really want to ask ‘why me’?
I went through a lot between July and August…and just when I thought it could not get any worse…
My mother is dead.