Hard to say goodbye to Maami, a mother of great value | Dailytrust

Hard to say goodbye to Maami, a mother of great value

Maami, Mrs Mary Omele Moses (Nee Ochu
Maami, Mrs Mary Omele Moses (Nee Ochu

It was11:04pm on November 26, 2021. I had just retired to bed and dozed off when a call came from my immediate elder brother, Noah.   

“Hello, Peter. Iya ti lo o (Mother has gone), he told me over the phone.  

Which mother are you talking about?” I asked.  

“Maami,” he answered, adding, “You have to stay strong and be a man,” then hung up the call. 

In the family, we all referred to our mother as Maami; hence, Noah’s choice of Iya would not resonate instantly.  

“How did it happen?” I asked again, but he didn’t wait to answer the question and more.  

In my confused state, the following ran through my mind: “Oh my world! This can’t be true. Will it be? Will it not be?   

I returned the calls twice to seek further clarifications, but he didn’t pick. Noah and my elder sister, Janet, were there battling to save her life till the last minute.   

After a third attempt he picked and said, “She had developed stomachache and they took her to a hospital. The case grew worse and she was taken to another hospital, where she got an injection, but somehow, she died. Her body has been brought home.”

Upon hearing this, I asked, “Which hospital is that? Are you sure the medical personnel didn’t administer the wrong medication on Maami?” 

“This is not the time to explain that. She is dead already,” Noah said as he ended the call. 

Yes, reality seems to have dawned on me. I couldn’t cry.  

Just like that? I saw Maami last on November 8 when I went to greet her. Shortly after that, I attended Dotun Adeniyi’s wedding, a friend at Igbeti, Oyo State. 

I was with her at Kisi, the family’s base, for two days. We spoke about her illness, which she had fully recovered from since July. She had insisted that I see her, but the job would not allow me. I only used my friend’s wedding date as an opportunity to greet my mother briefly.  

While leaving the house that early Monday morning, she inquired if I would come home for Christmas/New Year celebrations. I responded in affirmative, but she was not convinced. Before leaving, she prayed for me as usual.  

“See you again at the most suitable time,” I told her. She smiled and responded, “Amen.” 

When my younger brother, James, took me to the park, I had no premonition that it would be our last encounter. 

We also had a couple of conversations over the phone until her passing that Friday night.

Maami, your death has left me completely broken, perhaps putting me in the most traumatic period ever. I wonder how soon I would recover from this rude shock.

Like every mortal, I know you would leave one day, but it shouldn’t be now that the family is enjoying some reprieve after many years of toiling to stay above the poverty line. 

Maami, I remember vividly, those hard times when there was nothing but the hope of a better tomorrow. Unfortunately, the ‘tomorrow’ could not come before you left, unannounced.

You laboured very hard, most especially after the demise of our father 20 years ago, to put food on the table and ensure that your children enjoyed sound education.

Maami, you never saw the four walls of a classroom, not due to any fault of yours; rather, you were a victim of discrimination against the girl-child. Yet, you trained graduates from your earnings as a primitive hairstylist, the skill you were known for. 

Can I ever forget how, in 2006 you exchanged some of your clothes for N31,000 to pay my tuition and accommodation fees when I enrolled for a pre-national diploma programme at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. 

That night, you handed me the cash and said, “I had to give out some of my clothes to get this money.” Tears rolled down from my eyes and I vowed not to disappoint you. 

Maami, you instilled in us cultures of hard work, discipline, resilience, and most importantly, contentment. 

Unfortunately, those sleepless nights, years of sacrifice, toiling and labour for your children would now go unrewarded?

Your death still looks surreal to me and I wouldn’t know how soon I can embrace the sad reality. I pray to God to give me strength. 

Maami, you lived for us (your children) and we are eternally grateful. I have no doubt in my mind that you lived a fulfilled and impactful life.

It is hard to say goodbye, my beloved mother. I will miss you sorely.  

Till we meet again, Good night, Maami, Mrs Mary Omele Moses (Nee Ochu). 

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