Happy new year my people..
A few days ago, I was feeling a little blue and I decided to call my mum. I am so happy I did because not only did she cheer me up and pray for me, she also reminded me of who I am. I want to share a little of my family history with you all today. My mother’s parents waited years and years for grandchildren. It wasn’t for lack of children because they had plenty. Two boys and five girls, all grown but still no grandchildren.
It was a constant source of sadness for my grandparents and my grandmother worried so much that it greatly impacted her health. In 1987, my mother had a daughter but she passed away. My grandparents grief was so so deep but they kept on hoping. Now my mum is the youngest of the seven so all her older siblings didn’t have any children as well. My grandfather was a pillar of support and stood firmly in his faith even when people made fun of him for sending his five daughters to school as though their education and exposure was the reason for their childlessness, he paid them no mind and continued praying fervently.
In March 1988, I was born. My mother’s miracle, her rainbow baby. My grandmother at this point already had a stroke and was struggling to survive. My mother’s pregnancy was what kept her going and thankfully she held on until I was born and she got to see me. She couldn’t hold me, but she kissed me and blessed me and she passed away a few months later.
I was the light of my grandfather’s life. That man loved me more than words could say. My mum told me how he stayed up at night and fed me so she could sleep. He’d sing to me and comfort me and he was so proud that at 81, God heard his cries and sent me to him. He named me Onyehuruchimanya. It literally translates to Who has seen my God with their eyes? And it figuratively translates to: before you mock me, have you met my God?
A year after I was born my sister came along and my grandfather was over the moon. My mum religiously made sure she took us home to my grandfather every Christmas without fail and I will always be grateful to her for that. We never missed a year with him until he died and seeing us as you can imagine by now was the highlight of his life. He went on to have four more grandchildren before he passed on but I wanted touch on the relationship that he and I had.
I was only nine when he died but I remember him in vivid details. I remember that his grammar was impeccable. He had long lashes and a contagious laughter and bow legs and a crazy sweet tooth. He loved his children and grandchildren a lot and we could do no wrong in his eyes. He always gave me money and candy when no one else was looking and he carried me on his laps every opportunity he had. I asked him a thousand and one questions and he answered every single one patiently and lovingly, he truly was my first love.
My grandfather loved me deeply, he prayed for me and cared for me and never let me forget how much I meant to him. He’d randomly ask me: do you know how long I’ve waited for you and your sister? And he’d always have the biggest smile on his face. I remember Sometimes he’d take me on walks and he made sure to introduce me to whoever we ran into and it made me feel so special. Whenever I went to my mother’s village I was treated like a superstar because I was the first grandchild in my mother’s family. I was important, I was loved and wanted and a lot of my self worth stemmed from that. The first thing I remember writing was my grandfather’s funeral oration. I wrote it by myself and I read it loudly and clearly.
So my mum reminded me of who I am, her daughter, my grandparents first grandchild, the one who took away their shame and made my grandfather so proud. I am the daughter of my mother, how dare I forget who I am? How loved I am? I am the child that my entire family prayed for, waited for and rejoiced over, why have I let myself feel less than?
My grandfather has been gone for many years now but each time I go to my mother’s hometown they love me just the same. They don’t even call me by my name, they call me by the nickname I gave to my grandfather and I will always carry that in my mind and remind myself every time that I am loved and wanted and important to my family. Even on my worst days I am loved, even when my mind lies to me I am loved. I am my grandfather’s pride, his answered prayers and his Onyehuruchi..
Grandpa, you made my childhood unforgettable. I love you Boboray..