A Year After: Letter to my Irreplaceable Grandma, Nnagi Woro

My inestimable grandmother and unforgettable Nnagi Woro,

It was just like yesterday that I visited you at a private hospital close to Federal Polytechnic Bida, Niger State. That was when you were terminally ill. Then, you had become a shadow of your once-upon-a-time bubbly and genial self. I saw how you looked terribly infirm and totally drained.

I knew it was going to be your ‘last days’ in this ephemeral world. It was crystal clear that we were about to loss you. But we kept praying for a jet recovery. None of us, be it your immediate relations, and even people who knew you from afar, wanted you to exit. We profusely supplicated to Allah—day and night—asking him to grant you his infinite mercies, should you succumb to the crude hand of ‘Death’. My mum, Hajiya Fatima Muhammad, and her two younger sisters, patiently, but also worriedly, looked after you—till you breath your last. They knew you will not win the ultimate battle. However, they were fulfilled having to be around your sick bed when you finally answered the call of your Creator.

After you gave up the ghost on Wednesday, 6 February 2019, we were joined by your numerous admirers, neighbours and even people that were unfamiliar to us, to observe the funeral prayer for you at Essa, our one-in-a-million village. Before you were interred, we received sympathizers. After you were committed to mother earth, the army of sympathizers and mourners who came to commiserate with us, was beyond confounding. They sincerely eulogized you. Many of them said you were a quintessential sister, loving mother, and grandma extraordinaire. They extolled the outstanding moral virtues you were naturally endowed with. They admonished us to take solace in the fact that you not only lived an unblemished life, but touched many lives with your milk of human kindness and unrivalled generosity.

From, it is one month, two months, three, four and five months that you died, it is now a year since you left us. It is our hope that we shall meet to part no more, someday. But we are still grieving over your heart-shattering demise. We are feeling your absence in every aspect of our lives. We hope we will soon come to terms with the grim reality that you have gone—forever.

In the meantime, how are you doing? I trust you are doing fine. Tell me, how is the metaphysical world over there? We are assured that Allah’s special Rahma (blessing) still drenches your noble soul. We equally believe his Nur (light) still illuminates your grave. However, I say may your pious soul continue to receive the compassions of our most-benevolent Lord.

Nnagi Woro, when you lived, you were never tired of exhorting us to be righteous, selfless, generous, truthful, honest, responsible and hardworking. You always have doses of good advice and wise counsels to give whenever we are with you. But not necessarily when we are in distress or in quandary.

Nnagi Woro, can I claim, and also boast that I know much about the history of Essa—our village—without you? Not at all! Who migrated and first settled in the place now called Essa? When was the village primary school built? Who are my uncles, aunties, and immediate relations? Didn’t you provide answers to these posers, and numerous others? Yes, you did. And because you did, I can now give a lecture about my lineage; present a paper about the heritage of Essa folks; and not only that, I can, if commissioned, author a best-seller on Essa.

It was unfortunate you could not get to perform Hajj (pilgrimage)—one of the five cardinal pillars of Islam. Your failing health (much as you would have loved to, and I know your generous son (Yalukoja) would have gladly sponsored you) prevented you from going on pilgrimage. But five months after you departed, he did, and maybe just for your sake. I mean your son (Yalukoja), together with his Amarya (second wife), answered Allah’s call, and performed last year’s Hajj. I know, Allah will certainly accept their sincere supplications for you at the Holy Land.

Nnagi Woro, our beautiful paradise, Essa, is still there as you left it O. But not so for your family house. The Katamba (entrance court to your house), which was built with mud bricks several decades ago, has been pulled down by the vengeance of a rainfall, last September. No life was lost after it crumbled, though. I know you are not happy hearing this ‘sad’ news. I too was not happy learning about the ‘misfortune’ that befell our age-long Katamba. But can we question the Almighty? He that ordained the fall of our Katamba, as again commanded it to ‘rise from the ashes’. So, don’t worry, the entrance court is now being rebuilt. I assure you, it will soon be back on its feet. Very soon!

Now, I must tell you this, all glory belongs to Allah. Believe it or not! This is because, he is the force behind the accomplishments I have achieved in just five years after I started mainstream journalism. In April 2019, I was selected, and attended the Africa Arts and Media Earth Initiative (AAMEI’s) eco-journalism workshop, in Lagos. Fast forward to October, I then participated in the Africa Science Literacy Network (ASLN) Communication workshop in Abuja. Therefore, it is my singular pleasure to inform you that I have been inducted, and I am now a Fellow of AAMEI, ASLN and African Liberty. While I am grateful for His blessings upon my life, I still want Allah to prosper me, more. Please, put me in your prayers. Let me blow, very big. Let me achieve extraordinary fame in this pen profession. Let me win plenty awards. Let me travel, travel, and travel; attend, attend, and attend countless media workshops, conferences and seminars across the globe till I become tired, Nnagi Woro.

Now, it is time to let the cat out of the bag. I have been saving the best for the last. I know how much you love seeing, especially your grandchildren getting married. Well, here is a good news for you. Khadija Muhammad (your namesake, but one of your granddaughter and my cousin sister) will soon say “I do” to yours truly. She will henceforth be called Mrs. Mahmud. Honestly, I am ‘sick and tired’ of bachelorhood. Hopefully, by the end of the year, all road will once again lead to Essa, as I walked her to the altar. Like you, Khadija epitomizes pure love, respect, faithfulness, honesty, modesty, kindness, virtuousness, tenderness, softness. Name it! Like her mother, Hajiya Hauwa Dauda Muhammad, I strongly believe she will be an ideal Muslim wife. But, I want you to still bless us. Supplicate to Allah to make our union fruitful, and immune from satanic machinations. Don’t forget, we want to be blessed with pious, and upright offsprings. So please, put that in your prayer points for us.

My darling Nnagi Woro, I cannot forget my late father, grandfathers, grandmothers, siblings, Ya Worogi (who died same day with you) and in fact, all Muslims that transited to the great beyond—who are there with you now. Tell them we remember them with fond memories and our generous supplications. Tell them we shall continue asking for Allah’s bounties and forgiveness upon their noble souls. And till I write you some other times, I beseech Allah (S.W.T) to forgive your indiscretions, accept your righteous acts of worship and grant you the palatial abode of Jannatul Firdaus. Ameen.

Mahmud, is a PRNigeria staff writer based in Abuja. He can be reached via babasalam1989@gmail.com or 08067492272.