We were five girls – except for Mama T, our parents weren’t home so when Mama T’s mother says, ‘come in for a drink of water, you girls must be thirsty’ usually we obliged and sometimes, we stay ’till evening doing homework or just playing about.
Decade passed that we have seen each other, but years ago, a few of old friends met talking, so from there Mama T came up so I thought I must get in touch – too much of sweet memories to end just like that.
Thank goodness for the mobile phone, my text message was responded to within seconds with the first line:
“Ore mi atata, (my dear friend) infact my stomach leapt for joy when I saw your message.” – The message and the use of words was just perfect.
Stomach leaping for joy? I teased Mama T on the phone, we were both excited to reconnect.
“Have you forgotten” Mama T asked. “No, I did not” I responded. Regardless, I really just want to hear your voice, keep talking and I will listen to every word” I pleaded.
That was January 5th 2013.
Subsequent communications were by text messages, which was just fine.
Friends worry endlessly how Mama T was coping losing hearing as an adult but instead of wallowing in what she had and lost, she adopted a positive attitude – not too surprising given she had the most joyous stomach ever.
I had missed Auntie Toyin’s call, I made a few mental suggestions of what her call might be about. To say hello? So I returned the call as she was the sweetest Auntie I never had.
Auntie Toyin kept the news for a whole week before she decided to inform your childhood friends – it must have been really difficult given you were like her first child.
She had no strength left to cry.
“I am sorry” I had to plead to Auntie Toyin “But, How?”
“Please don’t say death, I know that but how did it all happen?”
I knew that piece of information would help with me making peace with the fact that I will never see you again, that the belly laugh you were known for was gone.
Mama T, you’d be happy to know your family loved you even in death – Auntie told me, she put all the cultural restrictions aside, she was not a forensic expert or anything, but she was there to give you the last bath, she said she checked every inch of your body just to be sure there was no foul play involved – no obvious bruise, you looked beautiful as ever.
Your husband was devastated, your neighbours and church members were all there to pay their last respect – I smile amidst tears when Auntie Toyin said this – I knew you would have won them over with your warmth.
You have been well as far as anyone around you could tell, you prepared moinmoin that your family ate as dinner. On your way back from the bathroom, you made some sound, uncomfortable one, before anyone could get to you Mama T, you were on the floor – And that was it.
You left us all, at 41.
“Could it be cardiac arrest?” I asked – Auntie Toyin had the same thoughts, so she agreed. I am sure you’ll be smiling now knowing witches would not be blamed for your untimely passing.
Those typical Nigeria new month message full of prayers and the GBUs (God Bless You) signature will be sorely missed and many more sweet memories of the younger years.
I’ll miss you Mama T.