“Announcements : “Please join me in congratulating Omozele for winning the position of top commenter in June. Kindly send me an email so you can redeem your gifts.” Also the details of our 26th of July political meeting is coming up soon, we o have some big timers who were coming in, please stay tuned.”
Heaven gained my mum on the first day of the second half of the year 2009. From a week before that day and today, I have been on the road between Ilorin and Lagos, I have also been in deep thought about life, about death, about love, about relationships and about family. I’ve asked myself very real questions about what I am doing with my life, what regrets I may have if I continue with my status quo. I have also tried to be strong for my dad, for my sibblings, for the family, the community, the church and very importantly for myself as well. On friday the 17th of July, 2009, my mum’s body was lowered into the grave. Forgive me if I sound different from how you expect me to sound, this last 3 weeks of my life have transformed my life. I have burrowed deep into the soil beneath my existence and planted my roots far down, I have no doubts that my capacity for growth in the years ahead have been enhanced.
I am missing my mum already, and I’m certain it’s only the beginning, but I am confident and convinced also that God has stepped in the fill the gap and the vacuum that this transistion would have created in our lives. I tell my friends proudly that I have never had any reason to go to the hospital in my life till date order than to remove or fill my teeth – Never! Till a few weeks ago, all I ever do, is pick up my phone and dial my mum. She was my health google, she had all the answers, and they always worked. I thought this was my own little secret, I discovered to my amazement when the pastor of her church preached her closing sermon, that there are many people including the pastors family whose healths were just my mum’s phone number away. When I sit down to ruminate about the things that my mother got involved in, my efforts look like childsplay. Allowing her life to inspire mine, I am certain that I ought to do more. I can do much more than I am doing, you can do much more than you are doing! All you and I need to do, is to shift our thinking, and decide to do more! Don’t merely count your days, let your days count.
Here are a few other lessons and examples from my mum on doing more.
1. Do unforgetable good.
One of my aunties (on my fathers side) shared a story on the wake keeping that touched me. One of her sons, a really senior cousin to me, stayed with my parents when I was a baby. He was with my parents and was being sent to school by them, because they were slightly financially better than his parents. After a while, around when he got to form 4 (SS1), his father sent for him. Unknown to my parents, he was sent for, so that he could stop schooling and start farming. My mum travelled to where they were located, saw this young chap on the farm, and insisted that she wanted to take him back to Ilorin and to school. She stood her ground till it was agreed, with my dad’s intervention he got readmitted back to the secondary school even though he had missed some months. They supported him until he finished his university engineering degree and started his own life. This is one story out of ones similar to it. It didn’t matter how far the relationship is, she tried to help as much as was possible. I know many people that she has won my support to join her in helping, I know some too, who might be unsure of approaching me now that she’s gone. It’s not about how much money you have or don’t have. My parents were not wealthy, they were civil servants with bottom of the pyramid pay, but out of the little available, they made unforgetable marks in people’s lives. Are you doing the same?
2. Do what you love, and do it with love
My mum didn’t become a nurse because there was no job or because nursing was available, she became a nurse because she loves to help people. There was no hour of the day or night when my mum was unreacheable. There were nights I warned her to just take the people to the hospital and not take so much risks, but not my mum! I think I inherited her appetite for risk. For her risk pales into insignificance when people are at stake. I’ve seen my mum go out at 1am to deliver someone of a baby in the persons house or car, I’ve seen her bring people into her visitors room and come out with a baby after. I recollect watching a few circumcisions at 13/14 and wondering if I’ll ever want my son to go through with this. When the church pastor mentioned that in their house, from delivery to circumcision to whatever didn’t require their leaving their house because of my mum, the early days pictures flashed back. I remember arguing with my mum when I was in JSS class that I would never be able to do medicine. I told her that I believed that if I made a mistake with peoples lives, I would not be able to forgive myself. She told me, that’s why she thinks I’ll be good, because if I think like that, I’ll make sure I’m good and won’t make mistakes. She explained to me how she does, and how she doesn’t make mistakes. My mum was nicknamed Iyabeji Oloogun (the medicine woman and mother of twins) by the rural community, she was a nurse 24/7. If I can use my passion to bless people around me so passionately, I would have touched it. What do you love to do? Do you do it with love? My mum would have been good at almost anything, but she was exceptional at helping people. What do you stand the chance to be great in?
3. Love and let it show
Whenever I and my mum met, she’ll hug me, and give me a kiss on both cheeks or on my neck. I always felt special, and always knew what she was saying – I love you, and I’m proud of you. Interestingly, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. My mum practically hugs and pecks hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, and interestinly, they all felt special about it like they were the only ones. Life is too short to keep your appreciation, admiration, encouragment or love to yourself. Share it, hold hands, look into eyes, hug, peck, whatever you are permitted to do within holy limits, express your love. Don’t love and hide, love and let it show.
4. Reach out to people outside your shell
It’s easy to get caged into reaching out to our family and only people within our settings. It’s a big step if that’s all you do, afterall some are not doing anything at all. However, this is about doing more! Early January this year, my mum called a few leaders in the church and shared with them that she had a vision of helping jobless and uneducated people, and that she needed a team of 10 other people to join her in this ministry. Interestingly, they gathered themselves, immediately started contributing together and have been using the money to support and help raise up some other people. She had interstingly been doing this without her pastor’s knowledge. She’s also been working on raising a team of alumni for FGCIlorin to help with a few things, and she is the strong reason why I’m involved in giving some particular students scholarships. For her, it doesn’t really matter where you are from, she loved and gave without boundaries.
5. Let your presence or absence be felt
Life must continue, but whenever I allow myself to think about my mum, her role and her personality, I know that it wouldn’t be a piece of cake. It’s easy to simply build one’s life around hers. She played major roles in so many people’s lives, that they won’t forget her in a hurry. Will you be missed when you die? What will people say about you? What gap are you filling in someone’s life? Or are you dead already? Strive to live a life of impact, add value to people, let your presence be felt.
Those who live life deeply don’t have the fear of death. Death is a sure to come to all of us, the occurence should give us an opportunity to introspect. To think deeply, reorder or refresh! Are you willing to step it up and do more? I am, and you should too.