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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Blues

If I got asked which month of the year I looked forward to the least, I would say October. There’s just something about it. Every time it comes around, I tend not to be at my best.

Two consecutive October's I lost my two grandmothers. As children, there's a bond we tend to feel with our grandparents. They’re the experienced ones who provide us with a viewpoint to see the world. They offer calmness and wisdom when we most need them. It’s common to spend most of our teething years under their wings as they tend to have more time on their hands while our parents are in the world fighting tooth and nail to increase their earnings and provide a legacy for us. Losing one matriarch was a blow, losing the other brought the knock out. They both came unexpectedly. 

On the day Mojisola died, both my parents came to pick me up from school. I should have known something was wrong as that's the only time that ever happened. We drove home in silence. As we got home, my Dad got on the phone to pass the news to an Uncle in the diaspora.  My Mum called me to her room and said "Granny is gone". I cried. It's one of those things you always know will happen but never expect. As time passes on and I remember her, some of the memories begin to diminish. The older I get, the more it recedes. She was passionate about children being conscious of eye contact and its powers. Not everything needs to be put in words she would say, when one is doing something bad, the person knows. Making a face telling them you can see what they're doing and would appreciate if they could stop could serve as a bit of a wake up call before one resorted to corporal punishment. I also remember her passing on an appreciation for dodo: the protein I hold dearest. 

The next October, I remember waking up on a Sunday morning expecting my parents to tell my brother and I to get ready for church. Instead, they told us they had to make a quick trip to Ibadan as Grandmama was ill. I took my Mum's phone, sent a text to my Grandma saying something along the lines of  "Grandmama, I hope you get well soon. I love you so much. God be with you". Later that day, distant relations I hadn't seen in donkey years came to pay visits. "Why is it today all of you are coming?" I thought to myself. In my heart of hearts, I knew what I didn't want to believe. In the evening, my Dad called saying he was on his way home but that my Mum would be spending the next couple of days in Ibadan. Those fears were getting stronger. When he came home, he kept on receiving phonecalls. Normally, he would talk freely in front of us but he consciously went to his room and shut the door behind him. He finally announced that my Grandmother was no more. Never one to hide his emotions, I broke down in tears. I had spoken to her the day before and there was nothing to point to the fact that she was about to join her maker. The next week, when I went to Ibadan my child’s instinct led me towards snooping around the room she shared with my Grandfather:  I found her phone at her bedside. I looked at her text messages and saw that the message I sent her was unread. That hurt me. She left me without bothering to read my text. Folasade was more of the disciplinarian but she loved dearly. She always spoilt us and would call every day to gossip with my Mother and implore us to be good and well behaved.

Over the years, I have met people who have had nothing but good things to say about them. It has made me grateful and proud of my heritage. My guardian angels were winners; can I possibly be any other thing? 

October last year started on a good note. My Mother spent a couple of days with me and I enjoyed her visit thoroughly. As I had just started University, she blessed me with a new wardrobe and a lot of the general living materials a fresher requires. Not to forget, the age long account crediting display of love. When she got back to Lagos, I noticed she was more distant. Normally, she calls every day or two, as she's on her way to work, waking me up in the process to wish me a great day. All that was missing. Her religious broadcast messages were nowhere to be found. One night, I decided to email her to ask what was up. Her reply shattered me. I still have my diary entry from the day. She told me how her return to Lagos had caused her pain. Her father normally a walking encyclopedia was muddling things up and it had put her and her siblings on edge. One of my greater misfortunes in life is knowing people I love are in pain and there's nothing I can do about it. I spoke about it with my Father who urged me to be calm and trust God to take control. 

Today, Granddad is still dealing with those old age symptoms but in better spirits. I spoke to him in August and he sounded good. As Mojisola and Folasade spend their 11th and 10th years at the Lord’s bosom, I say to the heavens "May this October be great."

This would probably have been perfect at the beginning of the month. Oh! Well. 


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