CELEBRATING THE FIRST WOMAN IN MY LIFE-: A CATHOLIC PRIEST EULOGISES HIS MOTHER

I have been hounding with much hunger for a time to celebrate my sweet mother. This is never in denial of the pockets of moments that were considered not big enough to bring a mammoth crowd around such an iconic matriach. So I kept tarrying for that opportunistic time of appreciation. I have been in and out of dreams for that desired moment. I sometimes wondered what the moment would be like whenever it arrived as she is the first woman in my life. I anticipated that day.

Obasi Calister Ekpewerechi (nee Nwaoku) birthed me and four of my siblings; four boys and a girl. She is my first mentor. My preeminent teacher of faith, morals, spirituality. She is my magister. And taught me what hard work and dignified life are all about.

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever on this cyber space, I have the pleasure to introduce and celebrate the woman, who bore and gave birth to a priest of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. She is astute in godliness. Speaks truth to power. Fights injustice to its logical end. A helper of the needy. Prayer warrior like no other. My first prayer partner. A moralist. A believer in the One true God. Genuine lover of Mother Mary and imitator of she who is the Help of Christians. Her rosary is ever handy. She prays it as well as other prayers. She inspires praying and has well inculcated it in her children.

Mama Fada as I fondly call her is mother of all. Though not without her short comings but her redeeming or infallible qualities far out weight her weak sides. She is truly human and an ambassador that puts humanity first. She can go out of her way to make everyone comfortable. She is selfless. She gives up to gratify others. Acts of charity are her second nature. A peace loving woman. She minds her business but still corrects errors perceived lovingly. After God, I credit her for what I am today. She fought that her children be schooled even though she didn’t have as much.

I celebrate mama Emeka. A fearless and courageous mother. A workaholic. Restrict or confine her to a place, then she falls sick. She wants everything done and gets everything done. Even in sickness she is still working. How about her industrious nature? She carried the family on her shoulders single-handedly when daddy limitedly provided. In the words of Scripture, she is a helpmate and still helping till date. A submissive wife she is. Virtuous mother indeed my mother is. Home builder and builder of our family that’s who she is. Her enduring ability can’t be ignored. She rigorously battled to overcome what modern wives can’t endure. Dare I not come close to her untiring importunity. Through thick and thin she stood the test of time. She has weathered despicable storms. Letters here, are insufficient to talk about this woman of valour. Descriptions are more than available to tell it all but let this bit suffice.

My mother’s time came eventually. On Saturday, 11th September, 2021, at Immaculate Conception Cathedral Podium of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Okigwe, my mother and 179 other mothers of repute from across the diocese were recognized with the Nneoma Award.

Clad in her Catholic Women Organization attire and blue hang-bag to give a fitting match, she joined other awardees for the event which started at 10:00 AM with the celebration of Holy Mass. As the priests filed out in procession to the altar, my mum was observably resplendent in beauty and predictably wearing double smiles because her day of honour has come and one of the fruits of her womb was among the rank of the ordained. It was the day the Lord made. She rejoiced and was glad indeed.

The time came and the awardees were called out, prayed for and blessed. The garlands got blessed too. No sooner was my mum invested with garland did I feel some drop of tears come down my eyes. This meant so much to me. An introspection of the countless pains, sufferings, and troubles me, my siblings, in-laws and all that life generally caused her, swelled in me. I lived in the past for a moment. In the twinkle of an eye however, I wore a wide smile with rapturous joy noticeable to people around me. I didn’t allow the joy of the day get overshadowed. From many thoughts, I slipped into a moment of soliloquy – if there is anything more than Nneoma – my mum deserves it. If I had the world, I would give to her. She merits everything I can afford. Of a truth, if I ever chance on her in life again and given the choice, she will be my mother a zillion times. I was happy to see her happy. In fact on our way home, she remarked this: “Today is the happiest day of my life. A much happier day than the day of my wedding.”

My dad didn’t find this funny. He took it for a troll. And retorted that he was the first to be honoured as Ezinna. That his own was international (Lagos) and that my mum’s was local. Hmmm! Trust women and their mouth. Mum didn’t spare time to let him know that hers was by a bishop and his wasn’t.

During this time, yours truly was concentrating on the wheels without taking sides. In the end, we all laughed it off and had a smooth ride back home. The celebrations continued and the conviviality of the day, for my mother’s sake, is a memory worth sharing with you all. I hope you find it an interesting read.

This is to encourage everyone to celebrate their parents now that they are here with us. In death, we should celebrate them, but, they won’t ever be part of it. Alive, they see it! Feel it! Are part of it! Enjoy it! And bless you for doing it for them.

To my mother, Nneoma Calister Obasi, God bless and keep you in good health of mind, body and soul.

To my dad, siblings, family members and friends who attended the ceremony, I appreciate you all.

To those who reached out by phone calls, messages, chats, my family is grateful.

To my Facebook family and friends, please join in celebrating my lovely mum.

Blessings on you all in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Inzaghi Inzaghi

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