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Fade Away

I’m definitely making this into a song!

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For a time my whole world was but perfect
It was shiny and bright. It was gold
Never thought I’d once be broken-hearted
This is ugly and dull: yes i know

And the smile I was once had, my old twinkle
and the way that i glowed in the dark
and the knowledge that love was so simple
seems a rocketed blast from the past

Can I drink lots of wine and sleep it all off
Can I laugh at a joke and forget for a day
Can I hope that you’ll snap out and suddenly call
Can I open my eyes and not watch it all
Fade away

For a time I lived life how I dreamt it,
With no limits, a hug and a smile
But now someone is dearly departed
So I’ll shower for longer to cry

And I’ll sit and I’ll mope and I’ll never go out
I will grieve for eternity’s spring
Then I’ll weep and I’ll scream and i’ll tear my hair out
Cuz I know I’ll remain unfulfilled

Wish I could drink lots of wine and sleep it all off
Can I laugh at a joke and forget anyway
Can I hope that you’ll wake up and suddenly call
Can I open my eyes and not watch it all
Fade away

So I went through the things that you left behind
Seeking answers and comfort and hope
Do I feel better? Am i suddenly fine?
The answer is always a ‘no’

And this wholesome soul is now incomplete
This body is drained of all fight
Wish I flip change time for exorbitant fees
A small price if it makes things alright

Because I can’t drink much wine: I’ll just throw up
And you told the jokes best anyway
And no one will wake up or reach out to call
So I’ll open my arms and try to fall
As I fade away

Hey Ma II

If you don’t know what’s going on, read “Hey Ma” for further info, you may also read “Insights”. There’s pidgin below so be warned in case that’s not your thing.

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Hey Ma I wrote you, you ain’t write back,

E don bad reach so? No be like dat,

Your son write you, you suppose reply sharp-sharp,

Meanwhile, where you been dey buy those rat traps?

 

E get some small tins wey you need to know:

We still dey wait maga – him never show,

I don make new songs but I never still blow,

And now you fit port your MTN carry Glo!

 

Your husband dey: hin never change much,

E still dey wait im bad son make e change much,

But you know say your son no dey gree fear God,

E still dey job Popsy upon say you don mud.

 

Johnny wife fit get belle but we no know,

Your granddaughter too fine – she don dey grow,

She resemble your Vivienne wey been don first go,

Speaking of Vivi, una don reunite so?

 

We don vex, we don crase, sotey we face turn blue,

We wan kill d driver wey make your bus tumble,

We still dey feel d pain, we still dey cry for you,

But we dey strong small small, abi how we for do?

 

We still dey miss your way, we still dey find your food,

Anytime we see your pix, we dey just turn confuse,

Yellow sisi, nobody fit fine pass you,

But Bible talk say “All things work together for good…”

 

The last letter wey I write na so so phon-eh,

So I say make I use pidgin wey u go hear,

Hey Ma, what’s it like? How’s it up there?

Mma Dan, reply na, dis tin is not fair o!

 

 

Insights…

You’re my blog. I share all my toilet humour and wild fantasy stories of randy gentlemen who only speak pidgin with you.
I might as well share my grief.
I recently lost my mother and I’ve learnt some new things since…

1. Nothing Really Matters.

In our heads, some things do. In reality, nothing does. I would give up everything and be a different person and undo everything if it would bring her back. I would be shorter, more overweight, more dumb, less funny, anything. Just to hear that chic whine and nag me some more. To be clear, the whining got a lot less with time and age. I grew wiser, she grew tired and realized I was incorrigible. So in a way, she grew wiser too.

I really would trade in all my ambition, all my current hopes. Everything. I cannot say that enough. People say I am strong but am I really? I don’t cry a lot. I’m still nice to everybody – even though I secretly dream of punching their faces in – but does that make me strong? The only thing people say that rings true when they’re trying to console me is “I cannot imagine what you’re going through…” That much is true. Even if you’ve lost your mom, you’ve not lost MY mom. My situation is not necessarily worse or better than yours: it’s just different.

Those that genuinely annoy me are the mopes. The pity-ers. Every time you walk by, they look at you like you’re a brand new amputee because you’re bereaved. I don’t want your pity, motherfucker… Move away. (in my head I was whispering by the way. Too much Hank Moody.)

2. You’ll think you’re all better REALLY quickly. You’re not.

I hear there are stages of grief so maybe I’m going through mine.
Some mornings, I wake up and feel like nothing terrible happened on Easter Sunday. Like it was just another day. People died, nothing special. I move through the house coasting and being jolly and then I tell myself I’m a trooper. I can deal with this.

Sometimes, it takes a big thing like rummaging through her stuff or a little thing like hearing a conversation and remembering what her reaction would be. One way or another, some kind of relapse occurs. Some days are really woeful.
I can tell you for a fact that I am going to dread Fridays for a long time. A very long time. Because Fridays were our day. My brothers keep telling me to look out for my Dad and not be far from home and be strong this and be manly that. That grates on my nerves too because in their heads, my grief is somehow less. Maybe less than my Dad’s (he knew her since ’67) but mine is still profound. I say that to say this: Fridays.

We went to church every Friday. She went earlier because she always had other stuff to attend to around 5pm. I generally showed up by 8 or 9 pm.
We did that song and dance so often; it is really deeply etched in my memory. Because it was just us. My Dad was always home, my brothers didn’t have the assignment I had so they were not obliged to come. It was just us. Being the youngest, she had no reservations packing food for me when she left home by 4. No matter how grown up I tried to be, she just shrugged and doted on me some more. We always headed home together at 6.10 am or thereabouts. Early morning public transport could be problematic. Conductors are really whiny about change. All the buses we entered cost 50 bucks each so we had a mini-competition as to who could collect the most 100s before Saturday morning. I was always winning but she’d rush to pay anyway.

Yeah… those things. Little then, priceless images now.

I still have that assignment. I still have to head to church on Fridays. I still have to gather my change beforehand. Not 100s for two but 50s for one. I’d rather be gathering 100s. Every time I pass through those routes the memory is so vivid, I nearly pass out. Instead, I clamber into the next bus and ready my 50…

3. People Mean Well But…

When it first happened, I was absolutely inundated with messages from people telling me they were there for me whenever I needed to talk or blow off steam or cry profusely. Legitimate messages I must add and I do honestly appreciate every one of you that checked up on me and still check up on me from time to time. But the truth is that it’s not easy to hit someone up just to depress them or sour their day. I do it now and again but you have to forgive me for not hitting y’all up to whine EVERY TIME I’m down in the dumps.

Because sometimes you guys are so happy and I don’t want to mess with that. How depressing is this blogpost already? Imagine if I had to send you a different version 3 to 4 times a week via bbm or whatsapp! Aha! Some of my friends are either basking in a new job or a promotion, newly married life, a cool new toy or a boyfriend that FINALLY realized they got their boobs done. I can’t see those pms or status updates or tweets and then hit you up to say “oh I had to go through my mom’s stuff and I found a letter I wrote to my folks in JSS3 and it made my heart tear in two” can I? Yes, the most kind-hearted of you will say “of course you can!” and actually mean it. That will not make me any more interested in sharing things all the time. I love to be leaned on because I know how therapeutic it can be but I also know how sad it can make a person who has to listen through all that. And meeeen, trust me, grievers can ramble (I was also surprised to find that ‘griever’ is actually in the dictionary. Who knew?) We could start off gisting you about our lost one’s last moments and somehow delve into some bittersweet anecdote from way back when. I have valuable experience from losing my sister in ‘98.

Oh and I’m not bottling it in. Trust me. That is some dangerous shit right there. Writing this actually helps. Writing “Hey Ma” was therapeutic like you can’t believe. Also, there’s that corny crap you see in movies and turn your nose up at:
You know that corny thing they do where they’ll say stuff like “I’m sure your mother is up there looking down on you blabbity bla bla…” yeah? I think that crap is corny as hell but I swear to every deity in existence I feel it sometimes. Maybe it’s the grief talking maybe it’s a real thing. Sometimes I’m talking and I get the distinct feeling that she’s listening in and taking mental notes like she used to and that feeling can be so comforting. Weird eh? I hope you don’t have to go through all this sha. It’s tough stuff.

4. I’m not sure I’m that magnanimous…

My mom was in a car crash with some people from church. Ultimately, two of them died. Out of about 13. I got to see a few of the survivors recently. Varying degrees of injuries and scratches. Some have really vile wounds others have minor scratches. Seeing them, I didn’t know what to think.

One the one hand, I’m truly thankful for their lives and I thank God that more lives weren’t lost. On the other hand, I wish they’d all died too just for the heck of it. They have flesh wounds that will heal – I lost my mom. No matter how much they apologize, they are not helping much. Because they are alive and Mma Dan isn’t. Simples.

In time, they will only remember that they were in a car crash that took someone else’s life. I’ve heard people talk about acquaintances that they lost XYZ years ago. After a while, they develop this matter-of-factly tone of voice. The emotion gets less and less. As it should. They didn’t kill her (although I hear some rat-bastards were egging the driver to go faster. Unconfirmed reports but I’m buying some rat poison just in case anyway) and they didn’t lose the single most important female figure in their lives at the time. At best, I will remain wry when I speak of her down the years and I will be wistful for quite a while.

Bah… so many words. Lemme see, are there more…?

5. You fear death a whole lot less…
Because the thinking becomes “if it’s good enough for mother, it’s good enough for me.” I genuinely thought of dying just to hang with her. (Forgive the weird executioner’s pun; unintended.) Not suicide or anything stupid or dangerous. Just dying. Death doesn’t really seem like a real thing till it happens to someone you’re especially close to. Someone who is intertwined with like half of all your pleasant memories. Someone you had plans to spoil to infinity. I always imagined I’d make a kajillion bucks and force cash through my mother’s ears till her pupils did like those TV animations and became dollar signs. So much for that. She’ll have to watch me do it and hope I can sneak her a bottle of perfume when I’m coming up to meet her whenever.

Bottom line, it’s no longer such a scary proposition. Especially with me now being one of those proudly brainwashed fellows who believe in God and Jesus and eternal life. Curiously, losing her has actually strengthened my faith. In a twisted, roundabout-ey way, I now kind of understand what Jesus meant when He said “He that loveth this life shall lose it…” my mother was sooo darn careful about everything. She had health issues but had navigated and managed all of them so well. She never took any risks. She was very ‘by the book’ but still…

I have few regrets though. There really isn’t much – if anything – that I would change about my relationship with my mom. I was a pretty decent son. I wasn’t too naughty growing up and I wasn’t mean to her as an adult. What will fill me with regret though is every achievement that will come after…

Attainment of financial stability…
Marriage…
Birth of my children…
And probably every noteworthy thing in-between that I would have loved to share with her.

I’m particularly thankful that we had a relationship worth remembering; worth celebrating. Ours was special. Nothing can ever change that. Nothing will ever replace that. I just await the day when the thought doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out.
I hear it gets easier with time though.
Can’t wait for that to happen!

Nice talk people. I’ll holler again soon.

Hey Ma…

Hey Ma, what’s it like? How’s it up there?

Do you yet have skin are you still fair?

Or are you formed different than we are here?

Are you more or less fragile than you were?

 

Do you smile? Do you laugh? Do you make jokes?

Do you crack Jesus up? He a cool a bloke?

Do you have money there? I’m a bit broke,

Can I send you a beat? Did I hear ‘nope’?

 

Do you feel? Do you smell? Can you still cook?

Cuz if you could, you would leave some angels shook,

Do you still hide stuff where men can’t look?

Like in your small-print KJV Bible?

 

Have you learnt new skills? have you changed much?

Do you now read Latin and speak Dutch?

You were stubborn here. Do you now budge?

Nwa Chineke, you still dey go church?

 

Sometimes I wonder if you can be helpful

When the fam becomes too much to handle

Can I get tips  on cooking some draw soup?

I don’t eat that but you know how  Dad do!

 

So what’s the latest there? What is in vogue?

What do Seraphs wear to the high throne?

Do they wear fly kicks and rock gemstones?

Does their make-up highlight their cheekbones?

 

There are times when I just wanna hug you,

Wanna brag; show you off to my friends too.

“That’s my mom. She’s the best she is so cool,

She speaks slang, cooks well and chops knuckle!”

 

Do you think that you left at the right time?

D’you hear father’s cries in the nighttime?

Do you see how the pain made us decline?

On the plus side, I got a new waistline!

 

Your kids wanted to move you to Yankee,

Aurora to Phoenix then to Tennessee,

Our dreams and our plans left us hopped up;

Can you see how everything is fucked up?

 

Do you still give a damn, do you still care?

You still worry bout me when I’m not near?

I should be with you in some eighty years,

Hey Ma, what’s it like? How’s it up there?

 

 

Chill out eternally, Justina Chienyenwa Ogbuehi

17/04/1950 to 31/03/2013

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