Temple Chima UbochiSaturday, July 26, 2014
Bonn, Germany




Closed eyes, heart not beating, but a living love (Avis Corea)

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (J.K. Rowling)

But she wasn't around, and that's the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going in to every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone (Mitch Albom)

hese are tempestuous times for me; these are times when somebody without faith may be forced to question God, but, I will not do that. It was Charles Kingsley (1819 -1875), who was a priest of the Church of England, a university professor, historian and novelist, who wrote that "pain is no evil, unless it conquers us". The devil can't panic me into offending my God, because, I'm better than that. John Calvin (1509 - 1564), who was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, wrote "Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil". My life can be equated with that of the biblical Job, who Satan tempted and divested him of everything he loved. God allowed Satan to tempt and take away every prized possession from Job with the warning that he, Satan, should never touch Job's soul. If I'm a woman, my life would have been similar to that of the biblical Naomi, because, what she, Naomi, went through (bereavement, poverty), as well as the bitterness she felt then, is almost what I have been going through in my life. Like Naomi, I came into this world in fullness, with a bright future ahead of me and many loved ones around me, but, almost all those I came into this world to know and love, have been taken away from me. But Satan has lost the battle against me, because, despite all he has taken away from me, I will not speak anything bad about my God, rather I will give Him thanks for everything I have experienced in life, as the Bible tells us to give thanks in all things.

C.S. Lewis (1898 -1963), who was an Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist, put it in perspective that "God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain"; God knows what is happening to me, I will get through this. Just as God ordered Satan not to touch the soul of Job, so has He ordered the evil one not to harm me. Who am I to complain of suffering when as Martin Luther (1483 - 1546), who was a German monk, Catholic priest, professor of theology, wrote "They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?" In my agony, sorrow and pain, my faith in God remains unshaken as I take solace in the fact that our Patriarchs also faced tribulations. Gautama Buddha (563 BCE to 483 BCE) said that "Suffering Will End Through Suffering". God's ways are mysterious to human beings; as someone wrote, Joseph was sold by his own brothers to Egypt. His family's suffering ended with his suffering, imprisonment, and providently, he became a chief minister, confirming the idea of William Penn (1644 -1718), who was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, where he said "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown."

Robert Leighton (1611-1684), who was a Scottish preacher, Bishop of Dunblane, Archbishop of Glasgow and academic, noted that "Adversity is the diamond dust heaven polishes its jewels with", one can't mention any man of God who didn't pass through serious tribulation. We Christians call on God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. We all know the degree of hardship those people faced. Until Abraham died, he never knew the land of his birth. At the age of 75, God told him to leave his land and he continued wandering, living a nomadic life till he died. Yet he is called a friend of God. Isaac, like his father Abraham, was persecuted everywhere he went. He was constantly reminded that he was not a "son of the soil" of the community he sojourned in with his father Abraham. Saint Paul admonishes us, in the face of trials, in these words: "What can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? .... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:35 - 37).

Just as Rita Mero wrote "I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person", I believe that anything that happened to a person was pre-determined. God Has foreknowledge of anything that will happen to a person even before such a person was born. God knows that Satan will wreck havoc on people's life, and for that He put remedy or antidote in place so as to cushion the negative impact of Satan's handworks on people's lives. God knows that Satan will use death to devastate us, that's why He gave us Ezinne Lolo Charity Ocheze Ubochi as our mother, so that she will be our "saviour and shelter" from the storms of life. Without a mother like Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi, we wouldn't have survived the series of bereavement which afflicted us almost unscathed, as Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772 - 1829), who was a German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist, noted, when he rightly wrote that "A family can develop only with a loving woman as its center", God created Mama especially for the role she played in our lives; that's why she sacrificed her own pleasure, well being and life for her children to live. She laid her life for us, and no love can be greater than that. Just as Jessica Lange (1949), who is an American actress wrote, "For Mama, nothing has ever taken precedence over being a mother and having a family and a home".

On 9th December 2013, my mother died. She was 77. The feeling of loss is unbearably intense. The death of our mother can be equated with calamity for us the children, because, as our bulwark against a wicked world, she was the last person standing, for us, after we lost almost every other immediate relation we met as we came out into the world. Ezinne Lolo Charity Ocheze Ubochi was our Rock of Gibraltar. Our mother's love kept us alive.

No pain is far reaching than losing a lovely mother. Although one is never prepared for the loss of a loved one, but, this one was really unexpected this time. Despite the fact that Mama was sick, I thought she would have stayed with us for few more years, to be our strength after we lost Hon. Chief Francis Enyinna Nwokoma about a year earlier. The words of Socrates (469 BC - 399 BC), who was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher: "Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth - that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death", is giving us hope now.

Just as Deborah Orr (1962), who is a Scottish journalist, said: Nobody wants their parents to outlive them. It's not the way it should be. The thought of any parent having to bury their child is so awful, so bleak. Yet that doesn't make it any easier to lose your mother and father. My mother, Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi, died, just a little over a year after my uncle and second father, Hon. Chief Francis Enyinna Nwokoma died. The feeling of bereavement is so intense that it's virtually unbearable. My whole family feels just the same.

Even if I had given my mother the whole world, I still feel it wasn't enough because of what she did for me, but, the little I gave could have sustained her to live: When Mama visited us in Germany, I gave her a thorough medical check-up which she attested to upon her return to Nigeria. For more than 10 years till her death, I placed my mother on a monthly salary. As she fell sick, I made sure she had wheel chair, walking stick, words of consolation and encouragement in her sickness, money, medicines from abroad etc, and at a point, I had to employ somebody to take care of her round the clock, but, her time was up. Mama had defeated death so many times before succumbing to its cold hands now.

The news of my mother's death left me in a state of shock and despair. I was overwhelmed by guilt because I hadn't been at her side when she died. Although Mama had indeed suffered greatly in her life for us, it had been wonderful to love and be loved with such constance and profoundity. Mama adored us, and unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to tell her that she is adored in return. Nothing can compare to the deep pain from the loss of this loved one. I miss my mother so much!.

Nothing prepared me for her loss, even knowing she would die - she had been ill for more than two years. A mother, after all, is your gate of entry into the world. Waking up without her is like waking up in a world without the sky: unimaginable. Now, I grow hungry for more of her. But it's too late now.

I still think about my mother every day. With my mother's death, the person who brought me into the world has left and now the door has closed behind her. Who else contained me, felt my kicks in her womb, and nursed me? There will be nobody to take her place, because, she has been engraved in my heart forever and ever. I still don't know how to have a positive outlook on life, knowing the only person I really connected with, the only person I wanted to impress or make proud of me is gone. And I don't know how to let somebody else take that spot in my heart...

The loss of a loved one is one of the most tragic and devastating things a person has endure: However, we still know that life and death are just the same process as a Chinese Proverb has it that "life is a dream walking, death is going home", and, William Penn (1644 - 1718) noted that "death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity".

Ezinne Lolo Charity Ocheze Ubochi was born into the family of Late Pa Nwangwa Achilihu and Ma Onyeizu Nwangwa Achilihu of Mbutu Umuoko Village in Isiala Ngwa South L.G.A of Abia State, in 1936. Aged 77 years! Late Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi attended Group Primary School Umuoko where she passed her standard six with excellent result in 1956. In 1960 she went to Aba to stay with her elder sister, Mrs. Alice Nwangwa, and in the same year she got married to my father, Pa Nelson Nnah Nwokoma.

Since my childhood, I have loved my village; that's why I always want to come back home no matter wherever I go. The genesis of that love stemmed from my mother. My heart remains at home, because, home was where Mama was. Our home is now cold and has lost its aura, because, Mama is no longer there; we have nobody to come home to again, because, there's "nobody at home" again. Home has been home for us all along because Mama was there. Who are we going to turn to when life get rougher? Since Mama went away, we have been devastated. I hope that God will help me to maintain that love for my village, because, I may still have something to offer my village, my community, my town, my state and my country in future. May be, just as Henry Beecher Ward (1813 - 1887), who was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, noted that "We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things", God wants to "steel" me for His service in future. Who knows? Afterall, Harry Fosdick Emerson (1878 -1969), who was an American pastor, was right when he said that "No character is ultimately tested until it has suffered".

I can say in the words of Maureen O'Hara (1920), who is an Irish film actress and singer, that "I was born into the most remarkable and eccentric family I could possibly have hoped for". Mama made a happy home for us just as George Bernard Shaw (1856 -1950), who was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics, rightly noted that "A happy family is but an earlier heaven". The point is that through the years, I have stayed in tune with my family and God, because Pope John XXIII (1881 - 1963), who was Pope from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963, told us that "The family is the first essential cell of human society". Bobby Darin (1936 - 1973), who was an American singer, songwriter, and actor of film and television, noted, "My family comes first. Maybe that's what makes me different from other guys". I concurr with Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), who was Princess of Wales, that "Family is the most important thing in the world", As Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (1973), who is an Indian film actress and model, noted "My family is my strength and my weakness", but,still at that, I advise everybody in the words of Barbara Bush (1925), who is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and the mother of the 43rd President, George W. Bush and the 43rd Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, to "Cherish your human connections - your relationships with friends and family", because, Michael J. Fox (1961), who is a Canadian-American actor, author, comedian, producer, advocate and voice-over artist, was right that "Family is not an important thing. It's everything", just as Andre Maurois (1885 -1967), who was a French author added that "Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold".

To be Continued!