I like to think writing, for me, is therapeutic as much as it’s a passion. But sometimes, certain events seem to nullify that position. They stand like giants and poke fun at me right before my eyes:
“No darling. Your writing can’t do us nothing!”
At times like these, I find myself resorting to other techniques, one of which is avoidance.
Omotola, for the longest time, I have refused to accept that you’re gone physically. How could you be?
When you’re yet to write for Mary Scott’s blog, as promised?
When Shola, the man you loved with all of your being, is still here?
When your beautiful son is gonna need the best mom ever?
When this world of ugliness is still in need of as many awesome souls as it could get?
How could you then be gone?
A few days before the world lost a rare gem, I had premonitions: dark dreams, dark thoughts. I never saw you in any of them but I just prayed against death generally, asking God to protect every family and loved one of mine. And I prayed. God knows I did! But maybe it wasn’t enough?
The night I found out: dark night! Imagine, Omotola, I found out you were gone from a WhatsApp status! Just like that? I first saw the preview and smiled. It was your lovely Engagement picture. You, a vision in your white Iro and Buba, and your blue Gele. Then I saw the caption and my world went BLACK!
I flung the book I was reading (I had an exam the next day). My head itched all over. Goosebumps accompanied chills as they consumed my entire body. I wanted to punch Tolu for making such an expensive joke. I wanted to tell her we still had a chat some weeks back. I had read in the news about floods in your area and wanted to be sure you and Shola were okay. You still called me ‘Mama’ and assured me the flood didn’t get to your side. Didn’t Tolu know I was still in your house last December, indulging my sweet tooth with the cake you served and keeping you company as you fried chicken? How could she put up your picture with a “Can’t believe you’re gone”!
It’s funny (not really) now when I think about how many times, since your passing, I’ve said “but I was still with her last December eating rice and chicken nah”.
Life! It only takes a second for it to hit us with a shocker…
As I got details about the circumstances surrounding her passing, I got confused the more. Wasn’t a baby supposed to be the icing on Tola’s cake? She had always gushed to me about how she couldn’t believe Shola would choose her, even after she told him her sickle cell status; how she didn’t deserve Shola, how she couldn’t believe he loved her the way he did; how she loved him back just as much; how God was so good to her! She taught me a lot about accepting love, even though I doubt she knew it. And I saw that love between them! I saw that they were friends; how easily they cared for each other… So how could she leave after delivering a living testimony of their love? Some things, one would never understand…
I want to write so much more, but I seem incapable of ‘organizing’ the memories in my head into coherent words. One thing I won’t forget though: Tola was passionate and intentional about LIVING STRONG. Oh, on more than one occasion, she didn’t feel like she was living up to the mantra, but she had no idea how much of an inspiration she was. There’s no need to LIVE STRONG if it’s all peach and roses, right? Our strengths only become apparent in trying times. If Omotola could do it; if she could live strong despite all that life threw her way, then we all can do it. The world lost a rare gem, but I’m glad she’s now at rest, free from aches and pains.
Omotola, I will write again. There’s so much more to say. The circumstances surrounding how we met had always baffled me, but now I know. I know that it was no ‘accident’. I know you had a role to play.
Keep resting, dear friend. You have no idea how ‘unforgotten’ you are!
-Mary Adeola Scott