Exactly 12 years today, Mrs. Mary Musa, ‘mama’ to us children and ‘aunty’ to husband, Mr. Musa finally ‘slept’. I say finally because this woman never slept an entire night for as long as I can remember.
Mr. Musa, who is usually up about at 5am to pray didn’t hear you stir and found it strange. When he got off his praying mat about 6am and went to check up on you, you were lying prostrate in bed…he almost went crazy when he discovered you had gone.
You had been given the clean bill of health from that stroke, you were walking to church on your own, and your hand was fine. You were fine, but you just slept and never woke up. I say it was a ‘good’ sleep. You didn’t go in pain.
All these years, I have never really done an ‘in memoriam’ for my mother, because I never really remember, although the first year was bad and difficult; my oldest brother died exactly 6 months after her.
I am not remembering her today because there is something special either, but because I now understand why she did a lot of the things that she did; things we despised her for even then. For example, I just would never listen when she told me to please change my trousers for a skirt in order to accompany her to visit her Apostolic Church pastor! Also, she always used to pray all night and read aloud from her Hausa bible (I am really sad to say we lost this well-thumbed Bible to some Adamawa tradition, really sad to say) and because we used to sleep in her room back then whenever we visited, we would complain and bitch about how she was disturbing and wouldn’t let us sleep. We also resented the fact that she was a simple and peace-loving woman; no matter the cost, she always would let things go ‘for peace’s sake’ Duh.
As I remember her this 12th year, I recall some of the things about her life that I now admire and hope to inculcate as a woman who would one day be a wife and a mother.
She was so gentle-spirited. She was quiet, to a fault but oh, a woman of steel! Its in her quietness that you know exactly what you should do. You cant be slack around my mother.
She was a too-generous giver, I say ‘too generous’ because she gave and gave (to my father’s disgust) even when (especially when) it was not convenient! With her I learnt that it is not possible that you have nothing to give, there is always something you have that someone else needs. Throughout the over 30 years of marriage to my father, who, I must say, was not the easiest of men to live with then, I have seen her pack her bags times without number to leave, but I never saw her take a foot out the door with those bags! Also, my mother would never eat before any of her children had eaten. Never. And at those times when there was nothing, literally nothing, she stood in faith and believed for us all. She was an incredible woman. I say that now.
My mother was a woman of intense prayer who also lived a fasted life. Gosh, I can still hear my father complaining about how she would hurt herself fasting so endlessly! Even we joined him in that rebuke!
So today, in her memory, I would like to appreciate all mothers, and I pray to be a good mother, an ‘enduring’ wife, a woman of prayer who is totally dependent on God. One thing I learnt from my parents (not perfect marriage) is that, no matter what, you can make it work. A marriage can work.
Mama, I know you are at peace, finally. You don’t have to worry anymore; we are doing well. You would be proud of the girls especially, although I try to imagine what you would think of me still single - you would probably say I should stop wearing sokoto, and to stop ‘perming’ my hair, but what would you say if you knew that I have cut off the entire hair sef??’ Lol!.I remember the last time I saw you, 2 weeks before you died, you had brought out all those old pictures because you wanted to show me a particular one in which I had such a great shock of hair! You claimed all the ‘perming’ is responsible for me going bald!
‘Ba Baba’ misses you still oh! He has refused to marry again, though he tried it briefly, six whole years after you had gone! He gave up after one year saying it’s not the same. We are now asking God to intervene because he can’t be left to live alone.
You also have a 3 year old granddaughter Karimat Maryam, very smart but oh, she has such a temper. What do you expect from a child of Bala, alias 'kura mai chin nama? Another grand’someone’ is also on the way this September!! Yay.
Having said that, in your absence, I am blessed with 3 mothers; indefatigable women in their own right. I salute them all because I got 3 in place of 1.
Readers, celebrate your mother (and indeed fathers oh), in fact celebrate the people around you as much as you can today, for ‘if tomorrow never comes…’
Be free oh.