DEAD AND ALIVE IN ME
I am still in wonderment looking for features to explain this incomprehensible heart, ornamented in virtues, outpouring judgment with sympathy, always hanging patiently as she relies on what hope brings each moment and seasons that visits her home, drawing closer to the pain of others without counting the cost of what it may take. Who is this queen who never laughs or triumph at the neighbour’s miseries? Oh! It is breathtaking, intriguing to present this noble, superhero of my life, Mummy Regina.
Indeed your attributes create the smile I share today in the world of studies even when the going becomes spontaneous with the emission of “I cannot make it or go further from here”. Your picture of diligence draws closer and wet my temper with a cup of chilled words from the reservoir of the day and night struggles that gave you a position that you never enjoyed but I did.
Seeing your face been kissed by death at 11:45 pm, 6 February 2009 due to unknown 9hours illness grazed fear in me of how I and my siblings would cope with the shock but all thanks to nature for bringing your memories alive each day I recall that you are the only known person who breaks all odds to get to your destination without counting years, age and comparisons from others; with no tone of lamentation or quitting.
Regina de late was born in the family of late Utobo. She was the last born among six female children. Among her sisters, she was the only one who studied and completed higher institution before she got married to my late father, Dad Luke. As a family, she was richly blessed by God with four male and four female children.
With the above little biography, she was a goal-getter who never weary and lose her smile no matter how difficult the circumstance may be. Vividly, the story of the rice farm can tell how determined she was and the difficulty that surrounds her in bringing up all her eight children to becoming who they are today.
Just a little flashback, regardless of her educational background, it was unfortunate to note that her genesis in my father’s house wasn’t a good one. Although, she never gave up as this is a different story of women of nowadays who will rather divorce if expectations are not met in their marriages. She was told by my superfluous father to be a housewife who should never count the money before the man of the house.
As a mother, seeing her children go through pain when she knows she can provide if the father hasn’t, pains her a lot. As all things depend on my father, it is always a terrible experience when the dry season comes in his pocket. The whole village would notice his wrath on the wife and the children.
Mother always knows what to do. That’s why till today, “I cannot dare the power of a woman”. She could leave home and work in people’s rice farm and got paid while she returns home before the arrival of my father. Surprisingly, one morning I was sent out of school for not have paid my term fees, she went into her savings and gave me the money to pay. That joy of returning back to school after been chased expecting to remain home and wait for my father's return made me forget to say thank you. After paying at school, the whole day I was present in class but absent in mind. At the dawn of school hours that day, I made haste home. While at home I asked, mother, "I am surprised at how you managed to pay my fees, who gave you the money? How come about it because I know you are not working”.
My son, she replied, “the last thing I can do is to sit back and watch my brilliant son like you been sent out of school on a little penny that was less than one of my pair of shoes”. She added, “as far as I am alive, you will get to wherever you want in life by my support”.
Thanks, dear mother, I replied.
To add on, she lived a life of wanting to make life better each day. Her motto was “life is best if you know how to dance to its tune by being focused and relentless in pursuit of your goals”. I fell in love with this quote the day I found it in her diary as a principle to live by.
Kindly, hold on a minute. Do not eat your cake because I am yet to bring a glass of wine to accompany it.
As days turn into months and years, my father who thinks that his youthful strength will last forever started diminishing gradually that he could not cater for everything. Then my mother requested to be granted the freedom to step in and help. At first, it was very difficult to accept after the affluent ego of my father that a woman cannot count money as him, finally accepted.
It was a surprise to notice that my mother was working and saving secretly with the intention at the back of her mind that life will not be sweet forever as it has happened and my father’s perception about women changed.
From that day forward, the heart of this great hero became more zealous in working to see all her children live happily. She worked as a teacher though alongside with commercial farming specifically rice and yam cultivation. Each season that passes by, her income fattens and the entire family sustained in all life season.
Finally, after a series of no from employers, an afternoon without lunch for so-called interviews, harassment from men though never compromised; abandonment from relatives and friends but never gave up on herself; she got her dream job as the "Women Officer for Development Affairs" (WODA) at the local government of Abakaliki which is the capital city of Ebonyi State in Nigeria. She was indeed an achiever who never wearied. She danced to the tune of life till the last moment leaving that mantle and insignia embedded in me. She said one evening, "I have faced rejections in search for my goals, criticism to make sure I never raise my head, even when I did something which I know it was quite applauding someone must put a comma, but the good news was, it has never changed anything in my mode of life rather it has always been a lamp for my path; to keep me moving forward as I wait for the basket of goodies which life offers to patient souls who never ended their sojourn".
Her life is a lesson that every living being should look up to. Doing something right and be ready to face the outcome was the greatest lesson I learnt and never to give up on my road to success.
Once again, her life assembled pain as a tool to success and a spanner that unlocks every success with satisfaction from the mockeries and sleepless nights and long days spent on quality services. Those succinct descriptions, qualify her as the best prototype to assume the throne and be crowned as an emblem or a “person who goes on to achieve great things” despite all odds.