First, thanks for commiserating with us. But really, for me, I give thanks to God that He has given me the grace to look after my parents, not just my mom. I thank God that I looked after them till the last minutes they left. It’s a grace that’s not given to everybody.
There’re people who pre-deceased their parents, but one is permitted to see one’s parents off at old age. That alone is a grace. For my mom, sometimes when you talk about your parents in superlative, people think it’s an exaggeration. Let me just give you a brief history of her, and I will them tell you about her fully. This was a woman whose mom died very early in life. She was just about six years when her mother died, in a polygamous setting. I thank the Almighty again that one of her aunties – late Alhaja Sariat Alapafuja took her from Ijebu and took her to Lagos as an apprentice in the chin chin industry then.
That’s how she got married to my dad in Lagos. We were all living on Lagos Island before e later moved to Shomolu. This was a woman who by dint of hard work and determination made a good wife, made a good mom, brought up good children and lived a good life.
So, if you’re to tell me how to paraphrase my mom, how would you have described her? She was a woman that we never heard her and her husband fight even for once. Even, when my daddy took a second wife, and we her children were about to revolt because we never knew our daddy could marry a second wife, our mom would tell us it’s not our business. It’s between herself and her husband. She would tell us not to get involved in it so far she has not complained to us.
She would make us understand that our father was looking after us, he was paying our school fees and all that. “What else do you still want? What’s your problem? Leave your father and myself alone. Don’t get involved in our matter. He’s my husband and I love him.” So, my mom would say. So, everybody just kept quiet. That’s how we had peace in our home despite being a polygamous setting. She made it possible. And through her life, the cooperation between her and her husband was unbelievable. Was it our education or upbringing? Was it in building house and that?
She was just a dedicated wife, a wonderful mom. And in the religion aspect, she was dedicated to her faith. She was a devout muslim. That’s why we’re giving her a befitting Islamic burial because she lived and died a muslim.
How would you describe her exit now?
Even this morning, I still cried. Even though I know it’s not necessary to cry when your parents pass on because you only tie them down. That’s what I know in my knowledge, but then I am a human being. Also, when they’re doing the prayer I still cried a bit because any time I remember that she’s no more, it’s a big void in my life. But then, we have to move on.
I am a grandfather myself. So, a grandfather can’t be crying all the time over his late mom otherwise his children would be wondering what’s wrong with him.
I miss her, and I know I would miss her for a while. I wish her the best in her sojourn up there. I know it’s not all over. She’s on her way upward home, and I wish her all the joy, all the love and wonderful experiences as she travels upward home.
What’s the memory of her that will continue to linger in you?
The thing I will continue to remember about her is her patience. Then, her unbelievable faith in God, her dedication to her creature and her belief that human beings should be allowed to express themselves or herself. We have a very liberal upbringing. In this family, we have an Alhaji, a pastor. I am an adherent of The Grail Message. We have some that are also Christians. We’re brought up as muslims. But when everybody started taking decisions, they allowed us as we’re not doing anything that’s against the will of the Almighty, no problem.
She lived with my family for about 10 years. She was with me, my wife and children for quite some time. And we would always wake her up when it’s time to pray. And when we’re also going to worship, she would also pray for us. So, she was so liberal when it comes to religion.
How would you describe her last moment?
She was ill for a while. I would say I was the one who saw her last. She was in my hospital and I realized she was going through a lot of pain. I had to pray with her and told her, “Mom, you have done well. You have been a wonderful mother. You looked after all of us, you have seen us to the point where we can stand on our own. I don’t want you to be in pain any more, it’s time to go.”
How did you feel at that moment watching your mom passing on?
I had to because I didn’t want to see her in pains. So, after the prayer, she passed on.
Once again, what would miss most about mama?
I told you she was always with us in the house. So, every time I was going out in the morning she always prayed for me, and sometimes, she would sing for me. Of course, my children came to know her more because the girls were living in the same room with her.
They would all miss her. We would miss her especially in my own family because she has been there for us for a long time. Even, only the early morning prayer for me is something.