I was on my summer holiday in Nigeria.... My dad woke me up saying, "Mama is gone!" It took a while to sink in, but after about 30 minutes, it did. My grandmother was dead. That was the first time someone I was close to had passed away and even though we had known for a while that her condition was deteriorating, it was hard to take. I cried that day, and a couple more times over the next few weeks.
When the ambulance came to get the body, I couldn't bare to look at her. I retreated to my bedroom so I would have to see her body. I was in no way ready for that. A month later, when her open casket was placed in our living room, my mother almost had to force me to come downstairs and pay my respects... I remember seeing her, so frail and so pale... I was like a confirmation, she was gone. I remember someone trying to console me by saying, "It's ok..." No it wasn't... and it never would be. Someone I loved dearly was gone...
I wrote something down, for the funeral program:
Mama was a wonderful person. I have so many memories of her and I don't even know where to start. She lived with us even before I was born so she had as much to do with bringing me up as my parents did.
When I was in primary school, I would look forward to coming home to the meal she had prepared for me. Most of the time it was ogi, but when I was lucky, she would surprise me with 'small-small fish'. In the mornings, mama would feed pigeons in our backyard, most of the time, I would join her. I also remember that every year, after we got back from church early on New Years Day, we would start the year off with a prayer from mama. She was a deeply religious woman and she had a lot to do with bringing me to Christ.
Many times, I would go sit with her and just talk, something I will definitely miss. Whenever she saw me, she would say, "BABA!!" and I would jokingly respond saying, "MAMA!!" I also remember her as a disciplinarian. She always had her canes by the door to her kitchen, ready for us if we were naughty.
It was really painful for me to see her when I got home in May. It was hard for me to accept that she couldn't remember me. The last memory I had before that was of her crying when I left for school in August 2002. I know that she is in a better place now, but she will be sorely missed. You don't meet people like my grandmother everyday. She was a loving, caring, funny and extremely friendly person. She got along with everyone. It was impossible not to like her.
I don't know what exactly was going through her mind in her last days, but when a person's last words on earth are 'hallelujah', you know she was thinking about meeting God.
Mama, I will always love you. I will never forget you. I know you're looking down on us all from heaven. Rest in peace, you've earned it.
2 years later. I still miss her greatly.