It has been a month now since my Grandma died. She was my Dad's Mum and was 99. She had outlived five of her eight children and her husband. I am grateful for her life and I know she was really bad in the end, it's actually by the grace of God that my Mum was around when my Grandma passed away if not it would have been just our new housekeeper and that would have been so sad especially as her two daughters leave a bit to be required and my Dad was here waiting for the all clear from his doctor.

I know she wasn't born an automatic Grandma, and I sometimes wonder about the young girl who married a senior clerk in the First Republic and then watched him become a king and increase their small home to 20 more wives and over 50 children. I have heard stories of her ruling the household with a strong hand, but late at night, I wonder how she felt when she saw the mammoth tasks waiting for her the next day, the squabbles, the drama and all that? I wonder how it felt to lose five children from infancy to their 40s? I know her religion was her greatest comfort and trust me no one did Church like her!

The most powerful memories I will carry with me are from my holidays in my home town during boarding school and the quick trips I would make during NYSC. When I was a teenager from about 12 onwards, My Grandma got seriously boot camp on me! I recall a time she locked away the gas cylinder so I would properly learn how to cook with firewood and the waking me up at 5am for daily morning mass. Nothing though, absolutely nothing, says 'Grandma' to two generations of children who lived in the Palace at sometime or the other than her ringing her bell, every night, come rain or shine for rosary and woe betide you if you were in the compound and dodged. Once during holidays, she figured out that I had started visiting my cousins 15 minutes before rosary time, so she got me to start ringing the bell for her! Classic!

She had razor sharp wit and very dry humour and it took a while for it to show but when it did, you would realise how mischievous she could be. She always fussed over me but in the background, never making a big deal out of anything. Just making sure things got done like helping me prepare for a new school term or keeping extra head scarves for me for Church as I always forgot to bring mine.

These days I get a little tug inside when I pass all her favourite things that My Mum and I would buy for her like her Vitamin E cream, malted biscuits, musical cards and the obligatory matching bag and flat shoes for morning mass. These are just little everyday reminders that whisper of memories of a great woman, who had seen such joy and pain in equal measure but had lived her life, always serving her family and her God.

I had to include one of her favourite prayers, the last she promised to teach me in Igbo, but never did.

Rest in Peace Mama, stay forever blessed.

The Magnificat
My soul glorifies the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; *
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. *
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, *
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength *
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones *
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, *
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, *
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his sons for ever.
21 Responses
  1. BSNC Says:

    Awww God bless her heart. What a remarkable human being.

  2. TheRustGeek Says:

    Someone who clearly left her mark... A true inspiration in multiple ways....

  3. CaramelD Says:

    @BSNC thank you sweets.

    @TheRustGeek, she really was, thank you. Is this your first time here? Welcome.

  4. TheRustGeek Says:

    @Caramel - First time commenting - I think.. I've always lurked in the shadows..

  5. CaramelD Says:

    @TheRustGeek, lurking is perfectly acceptable but thanks for commenting :)

  6. Madame Sting Says: grandma doesn't even know me. I'm glad you were close to urs and that she lived long. May she rest in peace.

  7. Thank God for her life! She must have experienced a lot and left a mark. She'll be remembered for sure


  8. ~Sirius~ Says:

    *sniff sniff*

    I hope you can transport this piece into her burial programme

  9. aloted Says:

    what a remarkable woman. good to know she had a great life.

    RIP Mama

  10. Rebirth Says:

    Awwww she seemed like an amazing strong woman.....Thank God for a life well-lived....

  11. CaramelD Says:

    @Sting, ah but you are not alone oh! For all sorts of reasons people don't know their grandparents. Thank you for your kind wishes.

    @Adiya, I think so too. PS I love your blog, it keeps tempting my pocket!!

    @LG and Doll, AMEN!

    @Sirius, probably will. Might have to edit out the bit about worthless Aunties ;)

    @Aloted, thank you I believe so too.

    @SHE, thank you.

    @Rebirth, I thank God for her too. She was an institution.

  12. CaramelD Says:

    I just wanted to say another thank you for all your lovely comments and the fact that no one has shouted at me for my long gaps :)

  13. Myne Whitman Says:

    This your tribute makes me wish there was a book about her I could read. Thanks for sharing, and may her soul Rest in Peace.

  14. LucidLilith Says:

    Grand parents are just special people. They fill in the blanks that your parents leave.

    20 wives? haaaa your grandpa was a serious man oh. How many aunts, uncles and cousins do you have???????

  15. Chizy K Says:

    eeyah, very remarkable

  16. Muse Origins Says:

    PS. I've changed my blog url! I decided to keep the blog on Blogger after all. Check out the link: Sorry for the inconvenience X_x

    Muse Origins (formerly The Corner Shop)

  17. Vera Ezimora Says:

    This is truly inspirational. She was clearly a very strong woman. I cannot imagine marrying a man and having to deal with him and 19 other wives. I cannot imagine having to run or be in charge of such a household. I cannot imagine losing a child; losing four is not even an option. Only a powerful woman can hold her own like that.

    Rest in peace, Mama.

    P.S. Love that prayer!

  18. CaramelD Says:

    @ Myne, that is one of my regrets, not interviewing her about her life. It spanned a whole century, she would have seen things and changes that I could only imagine!

    @Lucidlilith, 54 children (living) but don't ask me the break down it's quite intense and my head might pop.

    @Chizy K :)

    @ Adiya/Muse origins/Corner Shop!!! Don't worry, I'm off to check it out now.

    @ Vera, thanks babe.