By Adamu Muhammad Dodo
The simple sentences to remain remarkable when bidding bye to bachelorhood are; “be patient,” when missing a companion; “take heart,” “be strong,”
The date was Friday, December 23, 2005, when I bade bye to bachelorhood for a fresh married life. The masters of wisdom, having congratulated, would admonish me to be “patient” following the would be ups and downs associated with the newly engaged institution.
Hamza Hamidu Modibbo, a friend who got married earlier, I was among the prominent groom’s friends, had confided in me how scarry the admonition turned out to be to him, saying; “Adamu Dodo, I’m sincerely scared now more than any time in the process of this wedding. Everywhere we go thanking, I’m urged to be patient that marriage isn’t a bed of roses,” I would tell him to be strong and heed to the words of wisdom should he be considered among the responsible men.
The advice to be advanced to me close to 17 years of experience in marriage, with the death of my companion, the mother of my children; “take heart,” “be strong,” after the “be patient”, while facing tough and trying time, by way of condolences registered from within the country and across the seas; sensualising the seeds of cordiality, family ties and friendship.
“Death Be Not Proud”, John Donne, one of the leading figures in the metaphysical poets group of seventeenth-century English literature, would in the opening words of his sonnet address.
I asked, is there any pride in having the loved ones separated from each other rather permanently, punching and pinching peace to pieces? Would there have been mourning and condolences? “Be patient, take heart, be strong”, flow the words. What a wall! What the world!
“Noi Adamu?” Prof Auwal Muhammad Abubakar, the Medical Director FMC Yola who by my submission, is the Chief Medical Director of the Teaching Hospital, I met in the corridor would asked, “a warti na?” interpreted to mean “are you back?” Little I did know it would be that dark Sunday, the workaholic CMD was simply on what could be considered a casual inspection.
“Yes, Sir, Thank you sir,” I responded. I was from pharmacy with my five-year old lovely daughter, Nana Aishah. She was bashful before strange faces, she responded to the CMD in silent voice no one could hear her. She told me after we left the CMD.
“Allah rene, my wife gave birth to another bouncing baby girl,” I told him.
Prof Auwal expressed delight, blessing the addition. He would see the mother with her new baby tomorrow, Monday, when she would be transferred to postnatal ward.
It was a tough one breaking the tragic news to him few hours later, after evening prayer that my wife was gone for good; transited to great beyond after having a preterm birth.
FMC Yola has done her best to keep both the baby and mother alive. However the time constraint is beyond the best rendered services. My wife would not exceed her time limit, she would have to exit, leaving the baby to exist.
I had an engagement in Bauchi state, Prof Auwal on Monday, gave me the permission to travel. My wife requested that I should also bring her daughter schooling in Bauchi, since they’re on holiday.
I left on Tuesday and returned with my first daughter, Nana Khadijah 13, on Wednesday. The lovely caring daughter assisted her mother and siblings.
Her mother was having stomachache, Nana Khadijah told me on Sunday in the morning, I must take her to the hospital. I asked her to take care of her siblings, not to make any trouble.
The first news was pleasing to her ears that her mother gave birth to a bouncing baby girl, “Alhamdulillah!” She would exclaim. “We’re now three girls and two boys,” she would say.
It was shocking to her, the latest news of her mother’s death hours after birth.
“Daddy, are the doctors merely teasing, playing expensive joke or you saw her yourself that ammy is dead?” Nana Khadijah would ask crying.
I calmed her down. Urged her to be patient, to take heart and be strong, reminding her of the supplication “Innaa Lillah Wa Innaa Ilaihirraaji’uun”; surrendering everything to our Creator, the Most Magesty and Most Merciful to show mercy. She kept reciting, hence stopped crying.
Ammy is how my children respectfully address their mother.
Halima, Da’a Duhu’s death has though brought families and friends from far and near bound in mourning and condolences, it has separated the parents from their children and the siblings from each other. It has made an orphan in the house, lonely and nostalgic.
Nana Khadijah would later lament that “so death is that mercilessly tough. Ammy’s death has apparently scattered our home. It has separated you from us and us from the little baby, our mother’s namesake. Will you still endure to stay in that house?” Nana would ask.
The house we’ve jointly made a lovely home isn’t the criminal. It’s the time that doesn’t exceed target. It’s the death. It’s a tough trial indeed that I must defeat for a reunion, I told her.
“I thought I’d be the first to go, being a man and older. We just have to be patient, strong and prayerful. Pray for Ammy and those who have answered the final call before her; pray for the entire family, the state and country and for us,” I responded.
To be continued…