Loss is a horrible thing… dear Lord, loss is a horrible thing.
My mother used to tell me that the day I was born, there was a rainbow in the sky but it didn’t rain. My father would always laugh and say; ‘Of course, a woman in such dramatic labor would see the heavens and beyond’. Then he would say; ‘Are you sure there wasn’t an angel too; maybe painting the rainbow’. My mother in her gentle nature would smile and say; ‘I gave birth to the angel’. These were the kinds of amazing words I grew up listening to. My mother; she was an angel… and not even in disguise. But before I go on, it feels weird saying ‘my mother’ because in her lifetime she let me call her by her oriki – Aduke. So, hereinafter, I’ll refer to my mother as Aduke.
Like I earlier said; Aduke was an angel… and not in disguise. She was the most graceful woman to have ever walked the face of the earth. I mean, even at her funeral, everything seemed to be in a liquid sort of unison (although, in retrospect, I was crying a lot on that day). She was so beautiful that I honestly sometimes worried for her. It felt both like a privilege and a joke that I came out of that woman. She was never really a ‘make-up woman’, and I mean, do I blame her? The concept of make-up highly rests on the notion that there’s something to be made-up for. She was perfect… entirely complete. She was a good woman, a good wife; an awesome mother; a good cook, a fantastic hairdresser (seriously) and a professional banker.
My father never thought of himself as deserving of her. I remember one day during my ss2 Christmas break when my father and I went to check some house at Ikoyi (as he is an estate agent). The house was utterly beautiful; like I had never seen before. I remember my father say ‘This is what we call a blue moon.’ The ordinary selling cost of the house itself was huge; not to talk of my father’s commission. I remember that we had to go every evening to show different people the house: that’s how high in demand it was. Most of them could pay just the original sum for the house and a little below my father’s commission. So my father said we had to keep searching until we found someone who could pay the whole sum. However, I remember that we ended up selling the house to some man. His car was not as sleek as the others’, he was apparently well-to-do but not as much as the others; in fact he offered the lowest price for the house; The selling price plus N500,000 extra (Father’s commission was 1.5m).
I remember however that the man was more swooned and captivated by the house than the others. He looked like he was ‘in love’ with the house. He ran his fingers along all the frames and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the lights, high ceilings and the garden. He had a look in his eyes; a ‘How I desperately wish’ look. On our way home, I remember asking my father why on earth he’d do that. He sighed and said, ‘Oh honey… The way he looked at the house. Reminded me so much of how I look at your mom. The feeling of getting what you think you don’t deserve is priceless’. And I nodded in understanding. Even as a child, I didn’t think I deserved to be mothered by such an awesome woman.
I remember when I had my first period. Like almost every other mother, Aduke had foretold me about it. When I got home that evening and told her about it, Aduke did not give me the; ‘Now, you’re a woman who shall immediately conceive once a man touches you’ talk. She smiled and had a twinkle in her eyes. Then she held my hand for a long time and just stared at me. Finally she said, ‘Wow, you know you’re getting old when your baby can be a mother’. Then when I rolled my eyes and acted grossed out, she smoothened the back of my hand and said, ‘I know… I know… sorry. Couldn’t resist it. Only thing worse than that kind of talk is listening to that kind of talk while you have cramps.’ At this point, she was the one who rolled her eyes. She continued; ‘Me, I have anger issues when I’m on my period so, if you do, don’t worry. It simply means I’m a good mother- already giving you your inheritance before I die’. And we laughed. Then she looked at me again for what seemed like a thousand years, and in her eyes I knew that I was safe, loved and ever welcome. She was so…warm. Then she hugged me and said; ‘Seriously, I know this lawyer lady’. I frowned and said; ‘For what?’ She smiled and looked at me as though I was insane and she said; ‘For when you almost try to kill someone out of anger na…’ And I just shook my head, laughed and said ‘Aduke!’
I remember that we always had visitors at my house every Saturday and Sunday. At first, I thought it was just customary that human beings visit other human beings during the weekend. But then as I grew older and my brain began to think broader, I wondered why my own family never really visited other people during the weekends. One day, I asked my father why we never visit other people and he said, ’Well, apparently, until your mother starts to cook badly, we’re pretty much locked on to hosting guests every weekend’
Aduke was so amazing. I could go on and on and on and talk about her inventive hairstyles; her diligence, her kindness, her hilarious jokes and whatnot; but I’ll just say, Aduke was amazing.
I put myself in the shoes of the reader and I wonder if he’s irritated and utterly bemused by my apparent worship of Aduke. I feel pity for him; if he is. I feel more pity for him if he has decided to compare Aduke with his mother. No offense, but this would yield no palatable result; for Aduke was an angel.
She died in labor; she and my baby sister. Lucky little girl. The world without Aduke is a pot of rotten beans.
And although my father tried to restore our joy, we both knew we had lost everything. We had lost our sunshine, our smile, our coolest G, our life; yes, our life. Sometimes I wonder if I was the child she truly deserved. I wonder if I could have done anything differently. I wonder if I would ever meet up to Aduke’s standards. I have become crazy. I have lost Aduke, my baby sister and everything Aduke took along with her.
But of everything I lost, I miss my mind the most.
**image culled from huffingtonpost.com**