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To Hajiya Jummai Hajarah Isiyaku Gwamna (1935-2020)

Kulli nafsin za’ikatul maut (Every soul shall taste death – Qur’an 3: V185). Wa likulli ummatin ajalun, fa izaa jaaa’a ajaluhum laa yastaa khiroona saa’atan,…

Kulli nafsin za’ikatul maut (Every soul shall taste death – Qur’an 3: V185). Wa likulli ummatin ajalun, fa izaa jaaa’a ajaluhum laa yastaa khiroona saa’atan, wa laa yastaq dimoon (And for every nation is a (specified) term. So when their time has come, they will not remain behind an hour nor will they precede [it] – Qur’an 34: V7.34).

The death of Hajiya Yaya on Thursday, December 10, 2020, came with a real shock to all of us in the family and outside the family. It was like an earthquake. Missing a mother like Hajiya Yaya cannot be compared to any loss.

When I left you at home to travel to Abuja on Thursday, December 3, 2020, I came to greet you in the morning and found you not feeling too well; you did not show any sign that your days were coming to an end. You were having a mild fever and catarrh. My doctor friend came and prescribed some malaria drugs for you. I wanted to cancel my trip that day, but you insisted I should go ahead with the trip and that you would be fine. So I travelled that day.

On Monday when you were admitted in the hospital I spoke with you and you kept insisting that you would be fine; even the doctors assured me that they were keeping you for observation because of your age.

When I returned on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, and went straight to meet you on your hospital bed, you looked stable. I sat by your bed throughout the night and you did not show any sign that you were leaving us in a few hours. That is why your death in the morning has brought me an everlasting shock.

Hajiya Gwamnati as she was fondly called by her grandchildren was a mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, adviser, guardian and counsellor to everyone that came her way.

After the death of our father in February, 1983, we thought that it was the end of the world for us, because baba meant everything to us and to many people who came across his path.

However, Hajiya Yaya was strong enough to pick up immediately after baba’s death; becoming the guardian, adviser and unifier of the family.

She was the matriarch who was always there for us and anybody within and outside our family. Visit her anytime and you would receive that sumptuous welcome with a smile, in addition to what to eat. Fall sick and you would feel her motherly care and affection. For a wedding in the family you would receive the best reception. When you gave birth, she would make sure that the baby received the best granny care and affection.

Hajiya Yaya was magnanimous in her conduct and character. She would not disappoint you in whatever her involvement was needed. So losing her comes with a thundering shock, confusion and pain that will last through our lifetime.

She taught me different things, but the one that’s most remarkable is resilience.

Many of my friends lost their mothers and I condoled with them, but none told me of the pain that comes with it and how severe it will last a lifetime.

She told us time without number that her life was fulfilled when we (her children) started having her grandchildren who were always keeping her company and making her the queen of the family.

Mine has come with a different pain, because as the only male child among eight siblings, the attachment to her was natural. She was always there with me on my journey to adulthood. She was my life and I was hers. I was with her physically or on phone daily. Whenever she wanted to travel, I was by her side driving her. That was why everyone around her called me Tankon Yaya. I will miss her for the rest of my life and the pain will be severe as time goes on. But we have to take heart with what Allah SWT has ordained; which is part of the Iman.

It is not only the late Isiaku Gwamna family that will miss your absence mama, but the widows and orphans around our vast neighborhood who you had been a caregiver and a guardian to. Also, the people you sent early morning breakfast to within the neighborhood will miss you. You were really an epitome of good character and a real mother who added substance to the people around.

Hajiya Yaya; as you travel to the hereafter, you will be with me in my prayers every minute, every hour and every day of my life. May Allah SWT forgive your shortcomings, lighten your grave and grant you Al-Jannat firdaus, Ameen.

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