When I think of my late grandmother — Mama Lucy, as we called her, water drop from my eyes, this is not water of mourning (because she died at full old age of 109 years) but it is water of joy and gratitude to God to be nursed by such a caring, loving grandmother.

I called her my mum because she is the one I grew up to know as my mum, though my biological mother, who is her daughter, Deborah, had health issue when she gave birth to me. But my grandmother took over and take good care of me till my school days.

The best mum. The woman that taught me the word of God, she made me to know that I am nothing without God, that with God nothing is impossible. She taught me how to be brave and never allow anyone to intimidate me.  

My Mum, Mrs Deborah Ijeh

I remember, many years ago, discussing something that I was struggling with, she raised my head high and said, “Look at me, you never know what will happen in life, so make a change however tough it is and do the things you want to do and dream about it before it's too late". Those words were very clear. 

The best and most intelligent woman I have ever seen. The best cook I have ever seen, she taught me how to cook good food that made my husband not to eat outside believing that nobody can cook like me his wife. 

She never lacked food at her place. In everything she did, my grandmother was very real. She laid a very strong foundation for all her children and even grandchildren. She was very funny and strong. 

She always cook more than enough food, believing that visitors can walk in at any time, nnem, I have never come back from school and meet her pot empty. (Ezigbo nnem). 

One of the funny and strange thing she does is that, she will always call me and said, in case she died over night, check so and so places where I kept money, she will also warned me that she is not owing anyone in case she died from her sleep so that people will not come and tell lies.

I know the things that kept my grandmother going. The things are her children, her good works/deeds and her strong faith.

Big brother and his lovely wife

My grandmother used to love me so much, being baby of the house but did not allowed me to be over pampered.

Read: A Tribute to my Father-in-Law, Christopher Nweke Ijeh HERE

As a traditional birth attendant (TBA) or traditional midwife, mama will use her hands to examine, touch a pregnant woman's tommy and tell you the position of the baby and the expected date of delivery (EDD) which women spent money to know through scan, and to the glory of God no woman ever died in her hand while giving birth throughout the years she practiced her skill/career. 

My grandmother never saw the four walls of university but very intelligent (I called her doctor and psychologist) I love you mum.
Through out my stay with you, you can tell what was going on in my mind and always find a solution to it. When I brought my better half (husband) for introduction, I was so scared that you will never allow me to marry a Yoruba man, but to my greatest surprise you immediately blessed both of us that all you want is my happiness. 

Me, During my grandmother burial

I thank you mama because that blessings has been following my marriage. I remember also the day mama went to ask her debtor to pay her, as soon as she got to the woman's house, having heard from the woman that her children have not eaten, she immediately gave the woman more money. I believe that is one of the reasons God gave her long life, my mum second name would have been Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42)

Mama still looked very beautiful at the age of 108 years when we celebrated her birthday. Everybody from the village used to admire her. Her beautiful spirit still lives on her generations, and everyone will always know how much she loved them. 

She has never been just ‘my grandmother’, but my guardian, my friend and my inspiration. Still, we can’t believe my lovely Grandma was taken away from us. We will miss my Grandmother, but her spirit and strength, lives on in each of the first eleven (her children), her grandchilren, great-grandchildren, and in the lives that she touched. 

She lives on in me and in all those who have been touched by the love, strength, conviction, wisdom, and beauty of her soul.

Love you grandma – You truly were a special, special woman! You may have passed on, but your memories would always live on within us. Thank you for your sacrifices, your care and concern, your love and everything that you have done for me. Wherever you are, I know you are in a much better place. I will be forever grateful and thankful that you are my ‘grandmother’. 

Now I hope that her soul rests in eternal peace knowing that she played her part very well and that her children together with all the coming generations on her lineage will be fine.

MRS WUNYE ONYE NKUZI, you will forever be remembered, to the world you are one person but to me, you mean the world. You did not leave millions in your bank account but you left a legacy worth much more than gold. 
Nnem Ojiba. 
Nnem oli ezigbo nni. 
Nnem je nkoma. 

From your lovely baby Lilian Ijeh Olatoye

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