Wednesday 28 October 2020

A chapter closed suddenly

An alarm at dawn

What a day it was in which it has been difficult to collect my thoughts and reflect on life as a transient. I woke up to the alarm that is both a sound from my mobile phone and the vibrating wristband tracker, it cannot be ignored and that is at 6:05 AM.

I wake up that early with the hope that I can get in 10 to 12 kilometres of brisk walking before I start work, it fulfils my 10,000 steps and a bit more. That is what I had done, and I was on the home straight with just about a kilometre to get home, when my phone started ringing.

As my wristband was not vibrating, it had to be a WhatsApp call, that early, what could be the matter? I saw it was my brother, my middle half-brother and thought we were to continue a conversation we started some days before. I had planned to get a mobile phone for my stepmother and he was going to do some research and get back to me.

Catching up to history

Meanwhile, my stepmother, a young 56 celebrated her birthday on Saturday, we did not get to chat about her birthday until Sunday evening, but I had sent a message to her to congratulate her. Her voice was a bit hoarse and I advised just as I had a few weeks before that she takes some honey to soothe her throat, it was a jocular conversation, we laughed and bantered, wishing each other well.

The conversation I had with my brother the day after related to the mobile phone acquisition, he wanted to touch and feel the phone rather than order it online. He was going to tackle some legal matters the next day at a place that brought some history into view. It was then I learnt that my stepmother and my father met in that town when she was a student at a technical college. Pieces of a backstory were being cobbled together over the last few days, I was listening, learning, and understanding.

Opinions in broad daylight

The union bore some handsome sons, literal carbon copies of my father in his much younger days. It was fraught with issues and problems, everyone with their viewpoints. A marriage encumbered by strife cannot necessarily be the fault of just one. Without bias, I will suggest my father can be the most reasonable person and at another time utterly and implacably unreasonable. I appreciate that my opinion will not be a shared perspective, but at this time, I will not point fingers.

I never met my stepmother, I heard a lot about her, we were introduced on the phone over a decade ago by my father, almost 20 years into their marriage. I maintained a respectful and pragmatic conversation with her and extended my conversation then to my half-siblings without meaningful engagement.

We talked and laughed

Over the years, we built a rapport, and I did find a more fruitful engagement with my second half-sibling. He became the conduit for conversation and communication. My resolution is my half-siblings are very much part of my family regardless of the historical issues and the estrangement between my father and my stepmother.

There is a core responsibility to maintain cordial, friendly and brotherly relations in spite of and despite our parents, I am wedded to that principle, God give me strength.

Now, she’s gone

None of this could have prepared me for what I heard from the other end of the phone, a neighbourly misunderstanding, some agitation, apparently a fainting spell, possibly a collapse, an attempt at resuscitation, but no, all to no avail, my stepmother was no more. The shocking suddenness of it all was like a body blow. I was near St. Peter Square as I sank unto a bench and keeled over, this could not be happening, but it had already happened, a life full of hope and promise had been handed over to the dreams and aspirations of her children.

I could not begin to imagine the palpable sense of grief and sadness that had enveloped my brothers as I began to inform people who knew her and understand what needs to be done. She was interred according to Muslim rites and what we now have to do is embrace our brothers, celebrate her life and look to the future with the hope that dreams and aspirations come true. May the gentle soul of Dasola Akintayo rest in peace.


Naijacooljobs said...

May her soul rest with the Lord sir

Scoobysnax said...

I'm sorry to read this Akin and it makes me consider how my own family would react if this were to happen, and I resolve to make us discuss it as a whole and not two halves

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