Tag Archives: grief

All father father of my fathers

the rock from which all sands are weathered from

the tree thats bears all fruits

the river who source all rivers 

the star whose light illuminate other stars 

the source and originator of all


i stand before thee 

oh all father 

i stand before thy presence 

with my knife sharpen

and my chicken strangled

i stand before thy presence 

with my water poured unto the earth

and my grains spread 
all father 

my mother had said never to whistle in the night

not even during the virgin sunset

but i did

she said never pound yam in a mortar by a single hand

nor allow the yam to touch the ground 

but i went against it as well 
she said my broom should never touch another mortal 

nor give another mortal broom hand in hand 

i disobedied as well 
all father 

one whose eyes penetrate tomorow and next 

one whose power is known everywhere 

i stand before thee 

with an egg and a palm oil, your favourite
all father 

i felt so ashamed that i have done another one again 

i walked over a man whose legs were wide spread

i crossed a man lying on the earth
all father 

i stand before thee 

as a humbled and resented servant

forgive me

forgive me this one more time and make for me my heart 

the heart of a true believer
all father 

these are my pleas 

youre all hearing and all seeing 

forgive me 

oh mighty one…  


My parents and immediate family were very angry when I first became engage to Nuhu. Grandpa was the main engine behind their opposition. They all believe because Nuhu was blind, he will be so dependent on me couple with his poor background and blindness. Despite all these, we married months later. 

My parent and immediate family were all prevent from attending the wedding ceremony by grandpa. However, things work as planned. Grandpa told me something I never understood then. His words were “he who swallows a pestle must be ready to sleep while standing”.
Is spite of all their opposition we got married few months after; Nuhu quickly got used to finding his ways around our new home – he had trained himself by working with heart instead of the eyes.
Almost a year and half later, after all my toiling for the betterment of the house, Nuhu and I went to an eye specialist hospital where it was confirm he could see again. Nuhu was wheeled in for necessary check up. 
Nuhu had good news to tell me. He said the operation was going to be successful. I was happy that my love is going to regain his sight. He also said after the operation he would see how beautiful I was. I wasn’t beautiful. Couple with my dowdy appearance, my pot belly, and short height.
The operation was scheduled at nine on Thursday morning. The surgeon had strictly warned me not to come to the hospital before noon that day. The waiting was hell! Seconds became minutes and minutes became hours. When it was exactly one, I got dressed and went straight to the hospital. The surgery was a success, the doctor said. I went to the clinic twice a day to see him. He was bubbling with energy and enthusiastic.
A week later, I woke up with migraine. I look at myself in the mirror and tears began to drop down my eyes. Finally, I wore a t-shirt and a long skirt, with my short hijab to match.

I walked slowly along the corridor to my husband room. I stood at the door for a moment with my heart pounding. I slowly opened the door and went inside. He was sitting up on the bed. He looked at me as I raised my eyes, for a moment, neither of us spoke. “You’re beautiful”, he said.
Tear roll down my eyes as I was so shameful of myself. He looked at me, and for some moments neither of us spoke. I knew there was love in his eyes, and I went into his outstretched hands. It was glaring he was in love with me.

Truly love is blind.

Growing up as a kid we were made to believe one terrible thing, something no one really had a clear cut understanding of, until age and little intelligence caught up with some of us. I must admit I am one of such kids whose life had been dragged up and down in the mud of life riddles. 

It was just last two month ago that the real deceit of life caught up with me. I sat under the mango tree close to the road and I was counting every one of the cars, motorcycles even bicycles that pass me by. Don’t ask me why, because I will tell you before you do. 

I happened to be the third born of my mother. My father died before I could even learn how to walk. I was just six months old when he died and left us in the crazy world. Mum didn’t have the opportunity of continue her secondary education before she got married to dad. Unlike other families dad refused to sponsor her higher education after marriage. The reason was visibly clear like the sky is even in the thickest dark night. 

Mum was extremely beautiful and young when dad married her. The fear of other men snatching his angel from him made him not to send her to further her education instead he setup a business for her.

Dad worked with a Lebanese construction company and never had much time to spend with the family as the nature of their work was such that they hardly spend up to three months in a place, so I never had the opportunity of knowing him.

Two months after I was born, my elder sister, the second was admitted in the clinic. It was confirmed she had pneumonia. According to hear say that was when dad was rushing home to meet his only daughter and had the unexpected accident that took away his life. It was a devastating situation for mum as her life came crumbling down. Her hope and future was shattered. 

Few days later, to make the situation worse, my beautiful sister died even though I never knew her, I was very sure she was beautiful. Most people say she was the exact copy of mum.
Even though mum was young she refused to remarry but took a hard decision which was to give us a better life through her petty trading business. She struggle and cry just to make sure we were happy and ever smiling. 
When went to private schools, both primary and secondary school and one thing that made her not lose hope was the fact that we were always in the top five every of the sessions.

It was after secondary school that everything changed for us. Mum made a decision that we were all happy about because we understood our conditions. I was made to wait for my big brother to finish university before I start mine. May be he might be lucky and get a job immediately after school and therefore reduce the stress mum had to go through to provide money for two of us. I was just 17 years old when I finished secondary school, so it was a good thing that age was on my side. At least starting university education at age of 21-22 wasn’t too bad.  I learnt so many things such computer graphic design, electronic repairs and other minor things. 

It was a great news that big brother had finished school after four years with a first class in Economics. We were overjoyed and celebrated him like a king. Mum looked straight into my eyes and I already knew what she wanted to say.
“you better do more than him when you start soon” 
“haba mum what is better than first class”

We joked and laughed at them. That night it was as if we had no problem at all.
About five months later, big brother went to camp for his NYSC in the far northern part of the country. I couldn’t wait for him to come home for Sallah break that November. 
Preparations were made as big brother told us he was coming home for Sallah. Our hero was coming home and we couldn’t wait a bit as we call him every hour to ask about his journey. 

Towards evening that day we received a call from big brother but the voice was a deep cracking one. 
“am I speaking with Muhammad?”
He asked and my heart was already beating against my chest heavily as though people were pounding inside of it. 
“Please what is wrong” 

-you may be required to come to Federal Medical Centre Lokoja for identification please. 

“Identification of what?” I asked but this time no reply came through.
In my mind I already knew something terrible had occurred but how do I break the news to my hypertensive mum! I mustered the courage and lied to mum that big brother was at FMC doing medical checkup as directed by the NYSC officials.
“Mum we may be require to meet him there”

-but why can’t we wait for him to come home? She said as I search my head for another lie. 
In midst of our argument another call came through mum phone but this time they broke the news in black and white. 
“madam we are sorry we lost him” was the last statement I heard from the call on speaker phone. 
Like a dream mum fell to the ground too and she too never woke up, and that was how life gambled with my destiny.

Sitting under the tree remembering all these from the fountain of memory I became devastated and not minding the road I crossed without looking and got collide with a car. The car passed over my left hand.
“am sorry we will have to cut it off” 

The doctor said as though I were some sorts of a tree in a lonely forest. I cried to stupor as I watched my destiny being cut off. I didn’t finished education and the handiwork I learnt also had become irrelevant. 
Mum used to say everyone’s destiny was in their hands and now the doctor has chop off and buried my destiny…. 

​It was on a very dark night that everything began. Many thoughts ran riot in my head and I couldn’t sleep even though I wanted to. I turned several times but that wasn’t enough to put me to sleep. I lifted the bedcover and came down from the bed and unclenched my fist. My legs having become heavy, they trembled. Because the heat was at its peak the door was open and I staggered outside to urinate. I remained outside after I had finished urinating staring at the bright moon and stars.

In a split second, grandma shouted my name from inside and I ran straight inside to lie beside her. Most times when I was unhappy and depressed her embrace was like a paradise to me. I curled beside her on the bed like a millipede waiting for sleep but it was all futile.

“Mama when is mummy coming home”

I asked with tears in my eyes but she wouldn’t say a thing. My mum used come home as she pleases; most times once every three month. Grandma hated to be reminded of her. From the clouds of tears in her eyes it was clear enough to tell how she regretted having a daughter like my mother. Whenever she was around, the house was like a wrestling ground as every of their little argument always turn to fight. Even though grandma was old and weak, she wouldn’t mind as she beat her like her own baby. Her excuse always was that whatever she does was none of grandma’s business after all she was the one feeding her and likewise myself. I was young and childish that I couldn’t understand a thing that was happening at that time.

“Your mum will come soon”

She said sniffing her nose as though she were suffering from cold and catarrh. She was silent and it was clear she was also suffering from the same thoughts that her one and only child deserted her to an unknown destination. 

Almost two weeks later, my mum came home. That day I was returning from school when I sited her from afar alighting from a car. I was overjoyed and could not control my gladness. I ran without stopping and I stub my toe on a stone but I didn’t mind.  When I came face to face with her, I jump in embrace and buried my face between her rapper which she tightly wand around her small waist. 

ME: Mummy where is daddy?”

MUM: are you not happy to see me?

ME: but you promise to come with him last time

MUM: don’t worry; we shall be going together tomorrow

I was baffled as she alleged the words that I had waited for, for a very long time now. I couldn’t control my joy and celebration, as I ran straight into the sitting room where grandma always lie in the bed. 

There, I found her lying in the bed facing up, which was unlike her. She never lie facing up because on many occasion she had cautioned me not to, which according to her leads to nightmares. I went closer to her and touched her hand and it felt cold. 


I shouted but it was already too late for her to answer. I went outside and found my mum struggling with her bag which she drags on the ground as though it carries the weight of a mountain and I began to shiver. 

Whats wrong “Idimi?”

That was the name I was called by my mum; even though I had no idea what it meant, I never like the name for once. 

Mama is not answering me and her body is very cold
I said childishly and innocently. For a moment neither of us spoke; she looked at me as I does same. Abruptly, she dropped the hand bag which she carried like an egg that would break any moment on the ground and ran inside and I followed…

She touched her hands, neck, legs and almost everywhere but grandma wasn’t responding a bit. She bent her head maybe trying to feel her pulse but nothing… Mum what is wrong? But she wouldn’t say a thing. She folded her hands on top of her head and at once she burst into tears. She shouted and wail to no avail.

Soon the compound became a stadium. I was still confused and couldn’t understand what was going on. I was just four years old and everything seems like a joke to me.  She was gone forever.

My grandma took all she had as time to bring happiness to my heart and smiles to my face. She never mind if she had to cry for me to smile. In spite of everything I wasn’t happy.

Many months later, after series of disturbance from me that I wanted to see my father couple with the fact that my mum had no idea what being a mother was, she conclude we were leaving for good. 

Life in our new environment was like hell for me. I stopped going to school and I was always alone in the house. Most times she would not even return and on rare occasion which she does, she was always drunk. As young as I was, I regretted the mother God had given me. 

Every morning, afternoon and evening all sorts of men troop in and out of our one room apartment and most of the times she would say they were my uncles. At times I would stay outside for them to finish what exactly they were doing before I could go inside. 

One cold night which I will never forget; I was outside till day break. The cold went in and out of my bones. I became stiff and I was shivering till it was dawn; I cried but my crying never helped me. 

Few days later, I felt sick and I was admitted to a clinic where it was confirm I was suffering from anemia. I battled with it for many months before it was all over. After I was discharge, thinking she had learnt her lessons but I was wrong. The same pattern continues until I was fifteen years old. 

  At fifteen, I left home for good. I went very far away from home and believe you me without any intention of returning. It was from there I struggled with education which I sponsored myself through odd jobs. I finished secondary education at the age of twenty three.

Few years later, after I got admission into the university I decided to travel back to my state to get my state of origin. It was at this juncture that I bump into my mum. She was working as a cleaner at the secretariat. Stunned and confused I looked at her as she does same; for a moment neither of us spoke. She looked ruffled as though she was in her fifties and she was just dirty. 

I pretend I didn’t know her and walked past her. She followed me but I refused to turn back. I was happy I had finished my mission before I saw her. Even though I didn’t know my father’s name I never bothered. I was using my maternal grandfather’s name.  

From where I stood on the road I could hear her screams and cries but I refused to turn back. I stopped a bike and climbed onto it and that was when I turned my head and I saw her on the ground rolling. 

“Stop please” I commanded the motorcyclist

I sat on the bike staring at her as she was being asked what was happening but she couldn’t say a thing as she just kept staring at me and pointing one of her finger directly at me… 

Do you know her? One of the women asked

No I said as I gave the motorcyclist go ahead with the riding.

People say blood is thicker than water but mine is no doubt lighter than water…  I left my mum that day and all I could hear from afar was IDINMI! IDINMI!! IDINMI!!! But I never stopped nor looked back, for I knew I was a legal bastard and the blood we shared was lighter than water.

Yesterday, I could barely sleep, and then I thought maybe you were awake as well and I kept thinking about you till its dawn. 

Whether I live through this or I don’t, I wish the memory of you stays intact. Whether there is life after death or not, all I wished and prayed for was for those stories about you to remain intact. You were afraid of losing me so much that you gave your own life to save mine!  So I heard; if I ever meet the one who created you I will but only ask this once, I don’t want both life and death! Just your voice, the warmth of your hands to be felt by me is a prayer answered. Many a person pray for paradise, but all I pray for is a world where I could be with you till eternity.   With that, I have no other desires.

Whether death or life, I don’t care as far as we can be together someday.

I never knew my mother or felt what motherhood was to a child, so each time I look at her pictures on the wall I begin to think of her based on her looks and appearance. Her full hair, small eyes and long eyelashes as though they were fixed made me think of her as an elegant woman. Many of her pictures, she looks so very serious as though she were forced to snap them but believe you me, she was still beautiful.

The only picture which I kept beside my bed was the one she took on her hospital bed, pregnant. She was carrying me in her belly; smiling and rubbing her stomach as if caressing my big head. I kept it there so it would be the first and last thing I see every day before and after waking up from sleep. 

If not for God I would have worship her. Each time I do things that were so weird; my dad would always come closer to my ear and shout HADIAT. That makes me feel cold every time. 

Hadiat was my mother’s name and I was named after her even though I was a male. Hadi was the male equivalent of Hadiat. 

When I used to be a kid, maybe because my dad refused to marry another woman early, I used to miss my mum so much that I always wept to bed, most especially when I watch family movies. That scene when mum’s kisses their kids goodnight was like an arrow in my heart.

My dad refused to marry until recently when I was leaving home for good to the university.  He married one young lady in her mid twenties. I always imagine what kind of name I was going to call her; Auntie, sis or mummy.  I can’t call her mum or any of such. I can’t be in my twenties and be calling someone in her twenties mum! It’s awkward to me.

Anyway that’s not part of why I decided to write this little piece. I noticed my dad’s love for me wasn’t mine but that of his wife. All the things he is done for me were just because he saw his wife in me, the way I do things and all that. He has said that many times that I could not even count. 

You know it sorrowful to remind a man about his pains that’s why I didn’t ask him to confirm the stories I have heard about my mum and how she died from him over this few years;  recently I broke the silence. Mum died while giving birth to me. she was just 22 years old. 

“the doctor ask her to choose between her life and the baby and she choose yours” he said with cloud of tears all over his eyes. I wasn’t happy about her decision when I was told by the doctor but by then it was already too late he added. 

I became shocked as chill ran through my vein. Mum today is my birthday and also the same day you left this lonely world. I ask God to protect you for me wherever you are because am living just to meet you one day….


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