We remember you, Fatima Priscilla Gana.
On this date, a year ago, we laid your body to rest.
We remember your guileless smile; your heart of gold.
We remember your child-like trust and belief in others.
We remember your ability to see no wrong in people.
I remember you…
… I remember crushing eggshells with you in the kitchen, for your mum’s Rose garden. Your mum was an ardent gardener and saved the eggshells to be crushed and used to fertilize her rose garden.
I remember you teaching me a few Nupe words – ‘echi’ for yam – which I found funny at the time because ‘echi’ in Igbo means tomorrow!
I remember pushing each other in the swing in your garden and listening to your stories about the orchard on the other side of your house…going swimming with you at your Uncle’s house with a firm promise that you will teach me how to swim so I needn’t be worried.
So many memories…
…I try to write some more but I find that the pain of knowing that all the reunions I planned in my head, will remain just that…plans.
I envy those who spent more time with you; our former class-mates who met up with you in recent times; who shared space and time with you before you left us.
Even though I try and squelch it any time it comes, the hurt hasn’t lessened. I push the tears back, squash the crushing pain and pull together the cavernous gap in my heart.
They tell me ‘you’re in a better place’ and I try to believe and accept but it rings hollow. What better place? I ask in my head. Couldn’t you have stayed with us a little longer? I wanted to meet you again in this life. I wanted to see your smile, your gap-toothed smile, in the here and now not in some ‘better place.’
Then, I stop my sulking, my ranting, my raving because I can feel you looking at me and shaking your head; a half-smile playing around your lips. Just like you went to your dad and told him about me all those years ago, I can see you looking for a solution for me…looking for a way to ease my pain even though you’re not here with me because, Fatima Priscilla Gana, that’s who you are…always looking out for others.
I remember and I will not forget.
Till we meet again…Fatima Priscilla Gana, an angel….I salute you.