It has been 11, going on 12 years since my mother passed away. To paraphrase a famous saying, human nature gravitates most to appreciating what it had when it has lost it. Mother’s day will be celebrated in the United States over this weekend. My siblings and I cannot pick up the phone to dial our mother to deservedly wish her a Happy Mother’s Day! Yes, we are not alone… But who wishes to be in that club? Every day, meantime, there are women in my life – from my terrific wife, my cute daughter, to my two incredible sisters, my cousins and nieces, aunties, my wonderful mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and female friends - whose over-the-top acts of love, kindness and generosity remind me ever so acutely of why I miss my mother so dearly.
Well, it dawned on me today, that a better way of handling it could be to acknowledge some of these forces and characters because they not only affected me, they have been a huge influence, in their own right, to their families and society at large.
While the immortal tape of my mom’s death and burial was replaying on its 11th anniversary last December, news got to me of the passing of a dear friend. Miranda Jinor and I met once or twice. She was the friend of a good friend, also of beloved memory. Yet, brief as our encounter had been, subsequent phone conversations we entertained revealed a gentle spirit whose warmth of heart, love of family and God’s world travelled the depths of the deepest ocean. Her vision for a world bereft of poverty through philanthropy and other acts of kindness was uplifting.
As well, she loved business and had thoughts infinitely about investing in a business that was going to be profitable enough as to allow her to do the greatest good in her community. She also loved life and it was befitting that her brief career was in the health industry as a Nurse, administering care at the most vulnerable of human conditions. She did not have kids. But there is not a doubt in my mind that if she had had kids of her own before the Good Lord called out her name, she would have been another perfect mother. On this Mothers day weekend (Sunday May 13th), I can only imagine her mother’s distress - having one less child that calls or visits…
Another shattering moment at the close of 2011 is captured in this brief announcement that I shared with fellow compatriots of my ethnic Kom group – Afoakom.
“Brothers and Sisters; Woinkom USA and beyond:
The entire Kom community is deeply saddened by the death of one its illustrious sons, Bobe Isidore Nse Timti (Ph.D) in a DC hospital in the United States of America. This perplexing news is contained in an email by the oldest daughter, Delphine Timti who is resident in Minnesota, USA. As well, her younger brother, Glenn Nse Timti lives in Minnesota. (SIC – Glenn is Delphine’s older brother).
…On behalf of the Afoakom family in the USA and the Executive Commitee, I extend heartfelt condolences to the Timti family at home and abroad. We are praying for you. As will be made evident in the days to come, Dr. Timti was not only a husband, and a father. He was also a son and a proud son of his native Bobong. He was a fearless supporter of the Kom enterprise, a successful entrepreneur and great scholar.”
These two deaths certainly took me by total surprise, adding sadness to my grief in the month that my Christian faith celebrates the birth of Christ the Savior. Some people take all of that tragedy, and more, and are more than Ok. Not everybody.
My cup had been filled to capacity and was spilling over following the Presidential elections in Cameroon. The fact that the incumbent was not seeing the sign of the times on the wall - headwinds from the Arab Springs containing tears and blood of young men and women needing a new direction for the country – was overwhelming. It left me wondering about the human capacity to continue immortalizing the great man who once wrote that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. 30 years in power and you would think that a baobab tree understands that it is not the forest; you would think that leaders in developing countries finally catch on to why term limits, even a la Putin / Medvedev Russian style, is a necessity to development.
I will drift no further. I set out to do two things in this missive: Wishing every woman out there, living or not, a Happy Mother’s Day! Without you there will be no world. You make the world a happier place, a loving place, a brighter place, a caring place, a meaningful place… I love you so, so much.
As for the second reason... it’s not that important anymore.