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Monthly Archives: January 2010

And Death Showed Up Again…

Last Sunday was my best Sunday (possibly even best day) of 2010. I awoke at 5am to spend a few more precious minutes with my brother who I hardly ever see, he was returning to Nigeria after a “long” 3 day break with us. Having packed the chicken I made for mum and said our goodbyes, it was only normal for me to tumble back into my warm bed considering we were all up jisting till 2am. But when I looked around I realised I was in an oasis of peace – kids still sleeping and hubby out, thought it would be best to recollect my jumbled up thoughts and spill it on paper. 

I love to journal. I love to write, period, but journaling carries even more weight than mere writing. This is where no holds are barred, all thoughts are poured on paper and the only other person present is the Lord. God speaks to me and teaches me stuff I would otherwise miss as I buzz around my activities daily. Stuff like the fact that I am perfect for God. Not just perfect but beautiful.  God points out how talented I am. He shows me visions of where my life is going to, if I get off my behind to do what I should. This is where all doubts and insecurities about my abilities are severely dealt with- and they are plenty- doubts about my abilities as a mother, a friend or a business woman or even as a child of God.

And so I write happily away. Layers of pent up fears and aged stresses are peeled away, I have no idea that thousands of miles away in a house in California is a grieving family. Wife pregnant, children very young.  It’s members are  still trying to come to terms with the awful fact that their head was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. And while everyone was busy praying and being baffled, Emeka Dillibe died.

Now I’m not going to pretend that he and I go so way back that I’ll miss him daily, yes we did go way back to secondary school but didn’t stay in touch. I feel sad because his entire life has now been condensed into a few pages on in-memory-of.com.  Now if Emeka had spent his life sitting by the wayside waiting for whatever life threw at him to be aimed perfectly into his open palms, we could possibly fit his life on one page along with a few black-and-white passport photos. But that wasn’t his life. He’s was a rich, colourful, generous one. The type that changed the course of other people’s  lives- people who would otherwise have become nothing but sidekicks sitting by the wayside with palms wide open.

Emeka will actually be missed, i.e people will notice he is no longer around. Somewhere in a village in Nigeria, children’s lives are being touched daily because he single-handedly refurbished the school. And the church. And he set up a youth charity. And he coached under 14s in soccer. And he was a father, a father to be, a husband, a son, a brother and Lord knows what more. As I read the memorial I had to stop and think about your’s truly and what she was bringing to this table called life. I would like to be described as selfless, influential, honest- in fact every adjective that this man was described with. Yes I may not have known him that well, but when I grow up, I want to be like Emeka.

Rest in Peace brother!

http://emekadillibe.memory-of.com/About.aspx

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A Brief History of Words (and Phrases)

Words are powerful. You may have heard that statement before. It suggests that when you speak out loud or make a verbal declaration, there is a high chance of it coming to pass. In some cultures, words carry a very heavy weight. It says that you are responsible for the words you say, so be extremely careful as you could very easily find yourself directly or indirectly responsible for someone else’s death.

Words also have a life of their own. I realise that because there are words that have lived with me from as far back as I can remember, refusing to let go. I am able to recall the very first time I heard the word:

Risky

I was about 6 at the time and my family had just returned from an out-of-town weekend. Upon our return we discovered the live crocodile (or an alligator, can’t remember which) that someone had left us. Needless to say we were baffled and terrified. They had left it in a tall wooden crate so that the head and tail both reached up the sides; part of the belly lay in the middle. I remember my cousin Wole holding me up to have a peek, I grabbed the sides of the crate to have a better look and he said; “Careful Toks, it’s risky“. That was the first time I heard that word. We later found out that in that part of the country it was considered the highest honour to receive a crocodile as a gift. Apparently Dad had saved some person’s life and they were just being er…thankful. At the risk of starting an animal rights invasion to Nigeria, I’ll let you know that the Croc was left to die as my parents rightly feared for our lives.

Repose

I heard this word for the first time  years ago when dad announced he had arranged a mass for my grandpa who died in 1982. What’s the point of having a church service for a man who died so long ago I asked.  His response? For the repose of his soul. I asked what  repose meant. He explained but I don’t remember. No plans to add that to my vocabulary.

Woe Betide you.

A boarding house special. “Woe betide you if my bed sheets are not bright white after you have washed them”.  “Woe betide you if you do not bring my diner in from the dining hall.” Woe betide you this, woe betide you that. Senior Funmi comes to mind here. For the longest time I thought this ugly phrase was a slang and not a real word. I also though the “betide” was spelled betie as senior Funmi and others dropped the “d”. Today I still wonder who came up with the word anyway. It is one of those words that you can’t figure out the meaning unless you already knew what it meant. As it turns out it is not part of my vocabulary.

Massaged the truth

I love this one, credit to President Obama. It was his description of what was done to the weapons of mass destruction report carried out by the Bush administration. I keep meaning to use it but I forget. I also feel sorry for the next few people I’ll be speaking with as I’ll be sure to worm that phrase into our conversation. Somehow. Anyhow.

Now I haven’t the faintest idea why I chose to put up a post on words but I thank you for stopping by to read. Plus of course the fact that you are reading this means a mass is not being held for you, that’s something to smile about isn’t it? Have a lovely rest of the day!

Haiti

I cried today. Not outwardly although my face looked sad and pensive and I shed a tear or two, but I was hysterical on the inside and I don’t think I’m done yet . I’m not sure which of the storylines or images I consider to be the worst. The newborn baby with lacerations on her head made me want to leave my family to go bring her home. I have a name for her already- several even.

The 11 year old girl- no, let’s make that the 10 year old boy called Aaron, my first son whose leg was trapped under the rubble. The grandmothers wailing in the streets. The man who is thankful to have lost everything but his life. The growing pile of bodies, some of them look like they are not dead but sleeping, albeit with dirt on their faces. Perhaps I don’t know what death looks like. Children’s legs. Children’s legs? They are meant for running and skipping while still attached to a vibrant body. Children’s legs are not meant to be disconnected or poking out lifelessly from underneath the broken beams of fallen buildings.  There’s a man pushing a coffin on a wheelbarrow, they keep showing him, I wonder if it’s the same clip that’s being re-run, or several trips made by the same man. This is what I see.

And this is what I imagine. People going about their business at 4:53pm, suddenly and without warning, unimaginable disaster strikes.  Four days and counting they are still hoping their loved ones will be recovered. Mothers looking at their dead babies torture themselves as they wonder how much pain their children went through before they finally died. Men drifting back into the past wishing there was no future. The past is defined as any period prior to the earthquake, the place where peace used to reign. The earthquake is far from over since their lives are still quaking. The aftershocks will come soon but only as the clean up progresses. It is after then the people can finally say; “yesterday, there was a terrible earthquake….”

Items like nutrition bars, candles, clothing, sheets and blankets can be sent to the address below. Blankets are to keep people warm at night and sheets to wrap the dead bodies. There are some links at the bottom of this post for cash donations. Beware of clicking to hoax donation sites, I haven’t heard of any yet but it has happened in the past. Stay safe and stick to Red Cross, Oxfam, Yele, etc. You can also click on links from major TV networks.

Thank you for reading, stay blessed.  

 http://www.yele.org/about-us/

British Red Cross

Disaster Emergency Fund

From Sunday 17th January Items can be dropped off at:

Adrienne Arsht Center
1300 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132-1608