A koni ‘bugbe kan sihin
Or’aye f’owo ba file ni
B’o fi gbogbo’aye ko Garet
Ese mefa ni busun wa
Here is not our dwelling place
Tenants take heed in your choices
If you build skyscrapers around the world
The final resting place is six feet in size.
My first encounter with my late mother-in-law, as a prospective in-law, was a quick throw of my full stretch to the marble floor in a two-room apartment of my would-be wife and her sister. You should understand how close my chest was to the floor in a time I was seeking favour to marry Oluwaseun Agbelusi.
My best experience was the second time. It was Oluwaseun younger sister’s traditional wedding ceremony in Akure. Meeting her again, I tossed my white kaftan to the red soil, she answered quietly. “E pele, e ku irin”, admonishing me for our long drive from Lagos to Akure.
As the party kept on, I heard Sean Tizzle “ omo dada lomo yen oh” mixed with Olamide, Davido and Wizkid and others, we kept our feet dancing. I noticed that once we lowered the tune for the interception of “mistress-of-ceremony” – Alaga Iduro & Alaga Ijoko –, another song came up “Jesu yoo joba, ara aye e yo” – the kind of ecclesiastical classic sound of the brave evangelical that stings your soul to the cross. It became a trend, when you hear Olamide, the next thing is another classic gospel came on. This happened like five times.
“I was like who is “subbing” us in this party, intercepting vain pop tunes with glorious gospel songs?”
I did not know that without telling anyone, mother-in-law had organized her “DJ” to the party and in a separate gathering of MFM faithful and other pilgrims into a corner, enduring the creaky speakers. She was reminding us to pause the fanfare and accept the solemn pull of the gospel.
A tinge of that rebellion, exemplified in forms of laser-minded decisions and steel in my wife, I found in her, dissolving into her Christian faith. I have always believed if anyone takes church matters a notch higher than my mum, he/she has inched it to the extreme. Such was my mother-in-law, and she firmly believed in it, openly pushed her zealotry, dribbling anyone who takes a huge contrarian view, possibly nailing anyone who dared her rights as an “antagonist” to her spiritual leanings, grossly in contrast to my wife , a temperate Pentecostal.
I have come to love her ways and I don’t hesitate to tell my wife. Once in awhile, she stuffed page of numbered MFM prayers to my hands. “I know your wife won’t accept it but make sure you pray, always pray, plead the blood of Jesus”. I capped it with another full stretch on the ground.
I only had few chances to meet her in the last eighteen months and in those few times, even when her strength was failing, she always hopping between church and the hospital. Truly, the best account of 65-year old life might not be told in an eighteen-month encounter. But surely, I found her rightly staying on a predictable side, far above other matters of her time. At what point she threw away out her entire inimitable scholarship to accept the Christianity as a full way of life is still unanswered to me. I actually came to know her too late, too short but too well for understanding for her kind.
Not encased in perfection, but there I found my own love for her kind, of people coming as they are and our inability to use empathy to meet them in the middle.
As her flesh gave away, we did our best to keep her among us. When my wife asked her how she was doing in her last days, she said “mo wa ni owo Olorun”, a complete surrender, acknowledging how powerless man actually was in this firmament!
She is now firmly in God’s hands, who took her spirit and soul in His custody, leaving us with sweet memories of a life lived. God has given us as children the Grace to introspect on her vocation, marriage and faith, such a kind favour.
The Lord came for His zealot, His soldier; the heavenly bass just went a ton of decibels higher.
Madam Alice Agbelusi, aged 65 years, is survived by a husband, two children, two sons-in-law, two grand-daughters, and relatives.