I don’t mind the colour of wood, i’m fine with it. But as my Grandmother’s coffin was conveyed into the ground, I noticed the colour of wood. It was brown, it was faded amber, it was golden, I wasn’t sure but it didn’t matter- Mama was comfortable in it. Besides, she wouldn’t complain if she wasn’t; she wasn’t alive anymore. ‘Eru si Eru’, ‘Eruku si aaye ti’ – (ashes to ashes, dust to dust)- as these words began to scarper from the Anglican Pastor’s mouth, my emotions were close to nothing. Somewhere between sadness and nothing. My heart and my brain couldn’t agree, my heart felt nothing but my brain, somehow my brain felt the sadness. Being a man who mostly follows his heart, I was confused. In a weird twist of things, my heart started to feel hurt. Hurt that i wasn’t feeling too hurt that Mama was being laid to rest. ‘There’s nothing worse than feeling nothing’ i thought to myself, and that made my heart feel something. I loved my Grandma, she was the only Grandparent with whom i had a regular relationship.
I wept like a new born infant when grandpa died, I was nine and I probably shed more tears than his son- my father. I barely knew him, I thought he was just another old man in our family. My Father referred to all of them as ‘ your grandpa’. I only realised he was my grandpa weeks prior to his death. I cried for a man I barely knew-i mourned him. Why then was I numb when a woman I adored went the way of all flesh? Maybe in the three months she had been dead, my soul became desensitised to it. Why should i cry at her funeral when she died months ago? I remembered the last time I saw her. She was sitting around family, a bit sombre as she was ill but a bit giddy. I sat by her and engaged in small talk using all my strength to communicate fluently in Yoruba. But she didn’t care, she didn’t speak a word of english but she understood my ‘seasoned’ yoruba. She made sure I stored my number on her phone; she told me to call her. I left Nigeria for school and not too long after, she was dead. ‘
Eru si Eru’, ‘Eruku si aaye ti’ – (ashes to ashes, dust to dust)- The Anglican pastor finished his rhetoric- I finally began to feel something- resolve that she led a great life. My cousin on the other hand wailed like a widow might. That got to me, but my tear ducts refused to spare liquid. I don’t think about the colour of wood but seeing my Grandma in a coffin made me care.
Woman of wonder, God’s foot-soldier
Guardian of souls, lover of lives
Feeding bellies and feeding minds
Since 19—- we don’t really know..
Life had nothing on you, how can death?
Sun re oo, Sun l’ayo.