One of the earliest gifts I received from my sister-in law was a purple scarf with a light pink intricate embroidery. I caught sight of it this morning while looking for clothes from an old pile for my baby. It glistened in the clear plastic bag full of clothes we dry cleaned following our water accident in the spring. I picked it up and thanked her for this gift. She always knew ways to make me feel special. Our shared experience will forever be a knowing so deep. Everytime I see the scarf, I will forever see her smiling as she called me by the name she gave to me, Osodieme.
To be named again, this time in my marital home is a precious treasure, a special gift that I am only now fully embracing. She knew how to use words to draw out of what is there in my life. Things I never really knew I had or was capable of possessing. Things I didn’t even expect to serve as a guide, to lead and help me as I lived side to side by her brother. Osodieme. It means, one who works alongside her hubby. I always found it strange as I am my own person. I don’t need my husband to tell me what to do. Our relationship was never built that way. Professionally for example, I still bare my maiden name, a taboo in most Igbo households, yet a function of the understanding I have with him. So I never really gravitated to the name, never really accepted it’s significance and only smiled when she used it, though never really thanked her for naming me this way. I am finally coming to terms with the name. Being in this strange place with her has a way of making me want to cling to everything I did with her, including the name she gave to me. It’s a special gift, this extraordinary perception, this profound intimacy I find in this name. One that I long for now to hear her say one more time.
We woke up this morning to the news of her death. It’s truly a knowing so deep when it arrives at your doorstep. To see it close a chapter. To feel the loss. To know the end has finally arrived is just as tough as it is painful. Tears kept flowing. I cried because I wanted to hear her say Osodieme one more time in that voice of hers. I cried because I wanted her to say that I didn’t have to get that thing or do yet another thing in the way my husband does. I cried because I wanted to listen to the joy she reserved for me. Our knowing was so deep. I truly took it all for granted. I cried because I wanted to let her know one more time that yes, I am what she says I am. Osodieme. It’s a name that I intend to live out the rest of my life, knowing you used it to pull this out of me. This thing that I am only now fully making sense of about humanity. Osodieme, is a name I will listen out now for you, the gentleness of your voice, your whisper as gentle as a breeze. The last thing you said was thank you as we prayed for you. The last time we spoke, all the children told you to get better and you said thank you. You asked after all of them and they spoke to you one by one. It was also the day mama said she had handed everything to God. I didn’t know what she meant, but knew how bad the cancer has spread, I knew this was then Gods plan. So we spoke words of encouragement to you. Even made you a bird-like card to wish you well. And God had this still in his plans. That you will soar to the skies and sit right next to him, even though we stay behind to imagine what next to do.
I wish we had more time. I wish I could hear you one more time. We need collective strength to get through this time in our lives. If we achieve it, it means you are forever our angel, our Angie as your name implies. We are already united. You had a way of making us all come together. This moment is holy. You left surrounded by love. You left surrounded by everyone who hold you dear. Osodieme is what you would want that I hold on to. And like the purple scarf you gifted to me in the beginning, I intend to do so till we meet again. God be with you. Rest In Peace Angie.