My mother, Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi, epitomized "love at first sight", because, I have been loving her since I opened my eyes. Love is blind, because "my mother started loving me before seeing my face" (Temple Chima Ubochi)
Continued from Part 2
4. Health - A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family. (Proverbs 31: 14 - 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)
Mama was such a lovely woman; she was such an amazing person. I often think about all the times we spent together and all the amazing meals Mama cooked. We all enjoyed mama's food, and I can safely say that had my mother opened a restaurant, the business would have been a roaring success. Besides her culinary skills, I truly believe that it was the love that she put into the preparations of the countless lunches and dinners that made her dishes so special. Mama was such a pleasure to have around, we learned so much from her and will remember her always.
Mama lived a relatively long and fruitful life. Toward the end of her life, even though her body was getting weaker, her mind never faltered. She remembered things with great ease. We are very sad about her death but we also realize that we are not dealing here with a tragedy. On the contrary, we wish to celebrate her life.
5. Service - A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbours with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable. (Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)
From the time Mama was born till her death, she only served others and refused to be served. Before her marriage, she served her elder sisters; upon marriage, she served her husband and her children till death. Mom was a generous woman. She was also extremely gregarious. If you were to ask for something, my mother would give it.
Lolo Charity Ubochi was the chairperson of Umudike Umuagbaghi family meeting (women wing) from 1995 to 2001.
Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi was the Vice Chairperson of Umuagbaghi Village Council from the year 1995 to 1997
In 1996, Mama was conferred with "LOLO" title, when Hon. Francis Nwokoma was conferred with a chieftaincy title by the late H.R.H. Eze Green Ugwumba, Osimiri 11 of Ohazu. In 2004, Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi became the Deputy Chairman's wife of Aba South LGA, and she attended many seminars and symposia with Mrs. Duru, the wife of the then Chairman, Aba South LGA.
6. Finances - A Virtuous Woman seek her husband's approval before making purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)
Whether with Pa Nelson Nwokoma or with Hon. Chief Francis Nwokoma, Mama was their trusted ally; she kept the family's finance intact and managed whatever she had to feed the family. Mama made miracles so many times, because, we were always amazed seeing how she made something out of nothing for the family's upkeep.
7. Industry - A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)
As noted before; instead of mama wanting to be served, she served others when especially she had everything to make herself comfortable. Mama would cook even when she had many around her who should have done that for her; Mama will go to her farm even when she can conveniently afford hired labour for it; Mama wanted to do everything herself, because, she didn't want to be a source of trouble to anyone. Mama was feeding about 13 members of our family morning, afternoon and night, and she still had time to go to her farm or to harvest her crops, go to the market and come back to cook. She was very hardworking and untiring.
8. Homemaking - A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. (Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 - 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)
I know mom worked hard, harder than most. But you wouldn't know it looking at her. Our house was always tidy and clean. Mama received guests with all pleasure, and she made sure no guest would leave without eating her food. Mama was truly one of the most open and giving human beings I have ever met. I am so blessed that I was able to spend so much time with her. I have learned life-long lessons through her kindness, and in her memory, I will walk through life with a bigger heart. Mama touched so many people's lives, and I know we are all enriched by it. Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), who was an American author and humorist, captured the essence when he wrote "mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart - a heart so ... grief and everybody's joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation".
Ezinne Lolo Charity Ubochi was a woman of peace and she sought it even when it seemed far fetched. For about 50 years since I came to know my mother, it was only once I think she made an error of judgment in her life. But may of us have done something wrong or made errors of judgment more than 20 or more times despite the fact that we are not as old as Mama was. The only time Mama did what I frowned at was few years ago. We know that in every family, troubles, problems or tribulations do crop up from time to time. We know that where two or more people are staying together, there is bound to be misunderstanding from time to time. We are human beings made of flesh and are bound to make mistakes in life, just as Nikki Giovanni (1943), who is an American writer, commentator, activist, and educator, wrote that "Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts"; when two of my siblings quarrelled and that escalated to a dangerous level, Mama tried to make peace between her warring children, but, the two parties refused all her entries for peace as none agreed to be placated. At a point the police was involved in the case. Mama, being a human being and having done all she could to make peace to no avail, took side with one of her children against the other. Most of my other family members also took the same side with mama. What mama did was regrettable to those on the other side, but at the same time understandable, in that the Bible says that "one can't serve two masters at the same time" as he or she is bound to love one more than the other. We, human beings, hardly stand on the sideline, as we do take side whenever two people are quarrelling. That's natural. I was one of those who thought that no matter how hard it was to "sit on the fence"; Mama should have been impartial in that case. But some others saw it differently. But still at that, no matter that she had taken side, she tried to convince the two parties to make peace and let bygone be bygone. She continued looking for peace even when the anger was still raging on between the warring parties. At a point, due to the intimate relationship I had with Mama, coupled with the fact that "my words carry weight in the family", she enlisted my help in order to settle the case amicable. That case led to my coming home few years ago, and as God would have it, I was able to settle the case and peace started reigning again between my brother and my sister and her husband. If Mama wasn't a person who loved peace, that case could have turned into something else due to the level of grievance the grievant felt. As things turned out, that my brother, who Mama took side against, became the pillar who took charge of her during her ill-health. I used to send money to Mama every month which she collected from the bank herself the time she was strong and healthy, but, as she fell sick, it was this brother who started collecting Mama's monthly upkeep money, and I sent all instructions as regards to how to manage Mama's ill-health through him. He was the person who took mama for treatments everywhere. Due to our bad roads, whenever the vehicle conveying Mama to the place of her treatment couldn't go further, this brother would carry mama to where the road is a bit better before putting her back into a vehicle to continue their journey. That's life: a mother gives birth and nurtures a child, put the child on her back from time to time such as when she is going somewhere. At old age, the child, who must have been a grown up by then, will start looking after his or her mother, making life a circle. The point here is that Mama's peace move paid off at last, because, if I didn't make that peace she asked me to, the story of her illness would have been more complicated and she would have suffered more than she did.
9. Time - A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8 )
Mama was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and a dear friend to many in Nigeria as well as in Europe. She was a caring, compassionate, and elegant lady who never wanted to become a burden on anyone. She spent her life, helping others, without expecting any reward. Mama had an uncanny ability to relate to others on a deep personal level. She talked kindly to people, cared for them, and they responded in kind. My mother had a great intuition. Mama was a very courageous and determined woman. She also kept in touch with the family on a regular basis. She constantly received phone calls from her children, friends and relatives.
10. Beauty - A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones. (Proverbs 31: 10Proverbs 31: 21 - 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 - 6)
Just as Hedy Lamarr (1913 -2000), who was an Austrian actress and inventor, noted "I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father's equal, and I never loved any other man as much". But I lost him! When our father, Nelson Nnah Nwokoma, the shinning one, who illuminated any place he was with his presence, died, the negative effect of his death on us was somehow cushioned by Hon. Chief Francis Enyinna Nwokoma, the benevolent one, as he filled the vacuum the death of our biological father created in our lives. And the presence of our mother, Ezinne Lolo Charity Ocheze Ubochi, the virtuous and loving one, reassured us and gave us the strength to move on. My mother became one of my most prized possessions I had left. Just the same as Abraham Lincoln (1809 -1865), who was the 16th President of the United States, noted, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother". I can also say the same as George Washington (1732-1799), who was the first President of the United States from 1789 till 1797, that "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her". Just an instance: In 1987, when I was in my third year (Penultimate year) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I was on the verge of dropping out due to lack of money to continue. My mother, Charity Ubochi, brought out an idea and went to Evelyn Egonjiuka Nwandu who helped her actualize the plan, and that made it possible for me to graduate. Just like Abraham Lincoln, "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life". The ribbons of my mother's love are woven around my heart.
TO MY SIBLINGS
The loss of our mother has been emotionally overwhelming to all of us. I understand that the tornado of emotions you're going through must be unbearable, and they are too overwhelming to handle. We all are going through a roller coaster, a whirlpool, and a maelstrom of emotions as we go through these stages of grief. We are all sad and full of grieving and what makes it worse is the sense of powerlessness and hopelessness associated with death. Mama suffered a long term illness; it was a long slow horrible time while she fought to stay alive. Losing her is a negative milestone in our life since she was the person who delivered us in our physical body. Mama had the most share in bringing you and me up and thereby giving you and me most of her views on life, her habits and legacy. Losing this source of your upbringing can be very painful and a big loss. I know there are rages of anger in our heart, but, let's take solace in the fact that Mama is now in a place where she will know no pains again. Let's be glad she was finally out of pain. Although I'm glad Mama is not suffering anymore, but some of us can't get our head around the fact that we will never see her again. I know some of us can't bear this pain, but, let's hope for the RESURRECTION day, when we will meet again in eternity for according to Sir Walter Scott (1771 -1832), who was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, "Is death the last sleep? No - it is the last and final awakening".
We have to grieve for Mama but work on remembering the good times we had with her. Mama always took such good care of us; what we can do is to remember the special times we had with her and her smile. Mama will always be with us and in our heart. Even in death, Mama will still be taking care of us; she will be with us every step of the way. I thought about it all later and realized she had given us a great gift. She will be with you and me for as long as we need her. Mama will be listening to us, comforting us, and living in us. You just have to believe. I know how goofy this sounds, but it is all true. As we grieve, let's also not forget that Mama would only want the best for us and she would want us to live life to the fullest and be happy. Look at the time you spent with Mama and cherish it, she left something for us - her memories.
Our mother was the finest. Her presence and aura would forever be remembered by all of us in our lives. No matter how old one is, losing a mother brings about the deepest sorrows a heart can experience. As time passes, may beautiful memories of our Mama restore the joy that has been taken from our heart. I know that her goodness and love will always remain with us. Mama's death is not only our loss, but, loss to all who were around her as she was a great lady who looked after all her loved ones. I know no words will give us comfort in this time of sorrow, but always remember, as I noted earlier, that our mother wanted you to always be happy and smiling. You have to do that for her! Please don't lower down your heart in despair.
I know your most precious moments are with Mama and it is difficult to forget those moments, and I know you are feeling empty now, you can overcome all these problems, be brave.
The body dies, but the soul never leaves. Mama is still here and she is watching over us.
Mother is only the person who taught us to talk, walk and followed us in our entire path. She felt happy when we reached our goal. She supported us all in our difficulties. Though she's not here anymore to guide us, but, she will always be there in our heart.
We have to be strong to get past this: it is a big loss and you and I have every right to be down in the dumps; but just remember that we have to pick ourselves back up and keep living our lives. Don't forget her, but remember that she wouldn't want you to be so upset about her death. She will always love you and me and we WILL get to see her again when our own time comes.
Mama is telling us:
Weep not for me though I am gone into that gentle night.
Grieve if you will, but not for long upon my soul's sweet flight.
I am at peace, my soul's at rest
There is no need for tears.
For with your love I was so blessed.
For all those many years.
There is no pain, I suffer not.
The fear now all is gone.
Put now these things out of your thoughts.
In your memory I live on.
Remember not my fight for breath
Remember not the strife.
Please do not dwell upon my death.
But celebrate my life.
Brothers and sisters; I know what you must be going through in losing what I think is the single most important compass in our life. I know with this loss comes so many layers of heartache. Just like you, I'm having such a hard time making sense of Mama's passing. She was the example for all of us to follow; the way she embraced life and consciously lived by her own motto, "Learn something new every day". I know the shoes must feel big to fill, but we need to live boldly and courageously as well, because, we are truly the imprint of Mama. Let's learn to love each other right now and don't forget to show kindness. God will handle the rest.
It's not surprising that the sun still shines when we see no light in sight. The flowers still bloom when our heart is weeping. Life will continue to move on even though we feel stuck, but, one day soon, the love of Mama around us will give us the strength to rise.
May the love and light that surrounds you, help you find peace during this time of loss.
To be Concluded!
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!
(THIS WAS AN EUOLOGY WRITTEN, A SMALL PART OF WHICH WAS READ OUT, BY TEMPLE CHIMA UBOCHI DURING THE BURIAL CEREMONY OF HIS MOTHER, LATE EZINNE LOLO CHARITY OCHEZE UBOCHI, ON THURSDAY 10TH JULY 2014 IN ABA NIGERIA)
Continued from Part 2