After the news of my mum circulated back in November last year, I received a plethora of calls from people. Some days I would turn off my phone to avoid the calls as very few helped and mostly added to my woes. The calls normally left me more emotional. I needed to avoid thinking or talking about the situation but people just wanted to talk. I appreciate some of these people, they were from genuinely concerned people. But just like a guy who called me few hours after my motor accident in August last year asking how it happened, some of these calls were more about sourcing information than genuine.
I remember leaving home to avoid the crowd on Sunday, November 29th, just a day after losing mum and traveling to Osun state to be with my girlfriend and two of my good friends (my alma matar is in Osun state, also my hometown). I left following day again for Abuja to be with my sister. Throughout the stay in Osun, I avoided telling my friends what had happened to me. They were two jolly fellows and I purposely chose to be with them because their lifestyle was bereft of my own sadness and I needed to overcome my grief. Only my lady knew what had happened.
Once I got to Abuja I sent texts to my good friends pouring out my mind. I felt it was better that way, saying it in their presence would have spoiled their mood & also make them give me special treatment out of pity. I don’t like self-pity. Somehow and in ways I can’t explain, a lot of my colleagues and old classmates heard and more calls came in. An old girlfriend who probably missed me used that opportunity to also call me. Some people might have enjoyed the attention but not me. The condolences that came pouring in nearly made me overwhelmed with sorrow.
The 5th of December was the burial day and I had to go back home. Throughout the previous week and this week I had been away from social media and writing. All I did was compose poems on the night I lost my mum. I couldn’t concentrate on anything as serious as writing or reading. Moreover, I’ve realised I don’t do well when under too much emotion so it was not advisable writing or posting anything for the public to see. Those periods were really trying periods for me and my family.
After the burial procession came the annoying part, every stranger, friends, foe and villain alike trying to give you an advice or two on how to now live your life afresh without a mother. I find it really annoying and amusing at the same time because a lot of these advisers still have both their parents living. Moreover, human conditions vary and your personal antidote might not work for another person. Everyone wasn’t so annoying. Those people who knew me well enough before mum’s demise merely hugged me and or prayed and left, knowing fully well my mum taught me well & I would maintain her standards in her absence.
But the bulk of the advice came from total strangers. Some were part of the extended family but I saw them as strangers because they don’t know anything about me neither were they close to my late mum. That’s why I think they talked more, that was all they had, talks. After the long minutes of giving advice, they request for my phone number with a promise to always call to check on me (most of them haven’t called for once).
Whenever something bad happens like losing one’s loved one, you get all sort of insights from people. The truth is all these advice cannot be incorporated as it usually reflects the views and position of the advisor. That’s why I always preach having an independent mind and incorporating good lessons of life. With that, you worry less what people say.
Every good example worthy of emulation is in my late mother. I remember when my late grandmother (my mother’s mum) died and we were planning her burial ceremony in March 2011. A member of our church was given the contract of printing all the invitation cards, pamphlets, posters, and burial agenda. This man got paid in full, spent the funds but didn’t deliver the works even a week to the ceremony. My uncle got him arrested and he came begging with his wife. When I saw the man I was angry and fuming and thought my mother would do worse.
I was surprised when she gave the guests her full hospitality, accepted their apology and even gave out money afresh for the work to be done by the same man! I learned the greatest lesson of my life that day which was to show kindness and courtesy even to those who wouldn’t do same to you. Jesus Christ preached something like that during the revered Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43-48) but my mum showed me the practicality of that sermon.