BY FRANK UZUEGBUNAM
In 24 hours (February 4, 2022), my mum will be committed to mother earth. Though I knew this day was coming, I was no less devastated.
I still remember that night in August 2019, when she called me and said that she was not sure of making it alive by daybreak. I jumped on the first available flight in the morning to Enugu en route to Abagana, Anambra State. By God’s grace, I met her alive. Not only that I met her alive that morning, God preserved her life for another 27 months which happened to be the best times of our lives together.
I watched helplessly as her health degenerated despite the A-team of healthcare professionals, therapists and caregivers put together to keep her alive. Even with the pains she went through, she still manages to smile at me and “apologise for putting us through so much stress”, even though we never complained.
Ezinne Maria was much more than the woman who gave birth to me. I will forever be grateful for the grace and wisdom that this mighty woman instilled in me.
I have never met any woman who is stronger or more resilient than my mum. She was a phenomenon. Orphaned and widowed at a very young age and with two little children to cater for, she did not allow her circumstance to determine her future.
She did not have the luxury of attending a secondary school. And even without a secondary school education, she was not deterred. She studied by herself at home and supplemented her home studies with evening lessons. And within two years, she cleared her GCE Cambridge “O” and “A” Level subjects with distinctions. That enabled her to gain direct admission into higher institutions and as they say, the rest is history.
I am who I am because of who she was. Mum was my greatest inspiration. She raised my sister and I to be champions and superstars. At 22, my sister was the best graduating medical student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Unfortunately, my sister lost her battle with breast cancer less than 10 years after graduation.
After Mum was done with my sister and I, she turned to her younger brother’s children all of whom she also molded into champions and superstars in different fields of endeavour.
Her records as a renowned teacher and school principal were outstanding. Mum mentored and inspired hundreds of students from across Nigeria irrespective of tribe or state of origin.
As we mourn her passing away, I want to use this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all her siblings for standing by her and with her all through. Even though we only have her twin brother, Simon Okafor, an engineer, as the last man standing, I want us to also remember her other siblings who had gone to be with the Lord earlier. From the eldest, late Mrs. Theresa Nwobi, to the second set of twins; the one and only late Sir Peter Okafor (Ezeamalu) and late Mrs. Josephine Nwosu. We remember all of you in prayers.
Ezinne, here is wishing you a smooth TRANSITION TO PARADISE. I am who I am because of who you were!
For more details about my mum + Tributes, please visit: www.ezinnemaria.com