Frontlines of My Life

Aramide Oikelome
Posted February 13, 2017 from Nigeria
My Late Mother! (1/1)

Mine Was a Battle from the Start!

Some fifty years ago a nobleman found love with a pretty lady. He was a clergyman and she, a cashier. She happened to be one of his very committed church members. That man was my father. He was respected and loved for his gracious and caring attitude towards all. He was selfless in his service to God and mankind.

Expectedly, Mother did not hesitate when he asked her hand in marriage. It didn’t take long before they got married. It didn’t take long too before I was conceived. Infact, I was a twin. Wow! Two girls for a young couple was indeed a handful- there was so much joy, yet there was apprehension, especially when the due date came, yet the twins did not arrive. But Father prayed fervently until his babies arrived after eleven months of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, my twin sister did not survive due to prolonged labour. So, after the long wait, I was the only survivor. My arrival stirred mixed feelings- tears at the loss of my twin sister but joy that I made it. It was my parent’s first child; so the entire church went agog with jubilation.

But that joy was short-lived. It soon fizzled out with the arrival of another woman in my father’s life and our home. Her coming marked the beginning of an age-long battle and unhealthy rivalry. That same year, another baby girl was born to my father by his new wife. Subsequently, Mother lost her pride of place as the matriarch of the home and was relegated to the background.

Thereafter, Mother had two sons within the space of three years but there was so much unrest at home. My brothers were raised in an atmosphere of hate, especially because they posed as threats, being male children. Mother suffered untold hardship to raise us but she kept hope alive and struggled to remain married. My late Grandma did not help matters. A firm believer in tradition, she warned my mother to do whatever it took to stay in her husband’s house. And so, whatever was happening, Mother had to adhere to the cultural norm; keep mum and bear it.

Mother also did not believe in divorce. She desperately wanted to raise her children with her husband. She didn’t want to be stigmatized for failing in her marriage. Above all, she noticed that behind all the abuse, her man still loved her. So, she kept hoping for a change. With time, Mother came to admit that she had to leave to save her life and that of her three children. So, she secretly packed her things, left with us and rented a room. She had a good job and could cope financially.

But Daddy was sad and would not let go. He found where we were and started visiting us. Before we knew it, Mother got pregnant again and gave Daddy another girl. Shortly after my sister was born, Mother lost her job and started hustling to fend for her four children. She did all kinds of jobs as a single parent. Her primary concern was to give us quality education. There were many days of hunger, tears and uncertainties. Sometimes she cried all night, especially if any of us was sick or needed something at school and she could not afford it.

As the first child, I was her confidant. So, from a tender age, I started bearing the burden with her. The effect of all this was that I lost my self-esteem. But it also made me resolve to succeed in life; to surmount every obstacle and get good education so I could become rich enough to take care of my Mother and compensate her for all her sacrifices. That was my ambition; that was my goal.

Did I achieve my goal? Yes I did! I had my first and second degrees. I had a good job! I got married and started raising a family. I was so glad that I was able to rise above the challenges and limitations imposed on me by my upbringing. Yes, I made Mother proud. I was the first woman to go to the university in our entire family.

This is why I believe that no matter the limitation or intimidation, every girl can and should strive for the best. Through Girls Arise Initiative, I am today mentoring young girls to dare to dream, to aspire, to stand tall and to achieve excellence.

Unfortunately, few years later, Mother took ill! She had surgery, which resulted in some complications that led to her death. That was sixteen years ago. My world came to a standstill. My sun suddenly went dim. I simply lost the courage and strength to go on.

In spite of my pain, I had to be strong for my siblings. I was their mother now and had to look after them. We weathered the storm together and with time, found strength to forge ahead.

My Sweet Mother did not live long enough to see our successes; neither did she wait to eat the fruits of her labour. But I take consolation in that her legacies live on. The values with which she raised us make us outstanding wherever we go.

Even our father, until his death three years ago kept referring to us as worthy sons and daughters. He also asked for our forgiveness and we bonded so well and took care of him till his old age.

What more can I say? To live in the hearts of those that love you is not to die. Mother lives on! She remains my Jewel of Inestimable Value!

Comments 25

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Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Aramide,

I resonate with this especially your loss and the ills of an irrational culture. I had twins. I lost one when they were two years old in a fire accident. And the suffering and pain I have been through is a story for another day. Your story is that story of victory. That irregardless of how bad our culture treats women, we refuse to be victims in vulnerability there is strength.

Keep shining Ma.

Much love

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dear Immah!

I'm so sorry about the loss of your child! We all have our stories of pain and struggle. But the good thing is that we are able to pull through and become stronger. Through it all, we have become agents of change.

We are the Changemakers. Regardless of how bad our culture treats women and girls, we refuse to be subdued.

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

In Sisterhood!

Aramide

Shirley Kimmayong
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Aramide,

I somehow relates with this story as I also came from a poor family but through sacrifices of my parents and through scholarships I was able to finish my studies.

Thanks for sharing.

Peace,

Shirley

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dear Shirley,

So happy that you had parents who made huge sacrifices for you and also that you were able to get scholarships to go to school and finish your studies. Today you are blessed with wealth of experience to help others rise.

Keep Shining!

Aramide

Shirley Kimmayong
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dear Aramide,

Thank you for the words of encouragement. Together, we work on making the world a better place in the area where we are where we can make a difference.

Peace,

Shirley

Funmi
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Hello Aramide,

I can relate with your story, I'm also from a polygamous family. The things our mothers  put up with in the name of tradition. Thank goodness for civilization.

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dear Funmi,

It is incredible what our others put up with in the name of tradition and culture. I really don't know how they managed to pull through.

We should be thankful that we belong to the age of civilization and much more that we are part of a very powerful community like World Pulse where we are empowered for change.

Keep up the good work Sis! Together we can and we will!

Love and Light!

Aramide

Deb Engle
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Aramide, I'm celebrating you and your story, which you've told so well. It takes great courage to go back to your roots and describe the emotions of loss and pain. But those emotions have helped shape you into a powerful and visionary woman. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring me with your courage.

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

My Dear Angel!

Thank you for being a strong pillar of support and strength on this journey!

I must confess that sharing this story has been a self discovery process for me. I have come to understand myself better and the reasons why I do some of the things I do. Sometimes I ask myself why I am so restless and resilient; why I put my hands into so many things and strive to see it all turn out right! Sometimes I get to drive everyone around me so hard, my family inclusive, just to achieve a set goal.

Writing this story has made it all clear. I actually took after my late mother. She was a hustler to the core. From being a cashier to selling foodstuff, selling clothes, beverages, to running a drinks store and later going to a Nursing school and practicing as a Nurse till she died.

I could go on and on talking about all she did. She was the kindest woman I ever known. Even in her poverty, she still had food for the hungry and homeless in the community. Sometimes we the children scolded her for not minding her own business, for taking more than she could chew and for slaving to serve other people in spite of our own needs.

But now I understand better. Incidentally, we all took after her in many things.

I'm so happy to be here! World Pulse has given my voice such great power and influence!

I sure feel like a Superhero!

Thanks Deb for everything!

Sending Hugs!

Aramide

Debby85
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Wow! What a touching story, it relates with my fear of mothers helping their children through thick and thin and their lives been cut short (not enjoying the fruit of their labour in good health and not seeing their children success!  It painful! I pray for mothers all over the world,we will live to enjoy the fruits of our labour! 

Thanks for sharing! 

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 15, 2017

Dear Debby!

Thanks for your prayers! I say a big "Amen". Thanks for your thoughts and care!

Blessings

Aramide

Bim Adegbite
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 16, 2017

Ok! Aramide, I'm highly emotional about this story and I'm glad you were able to share it with such vulnerability.  It truly is a story of strength and endurance.  

Your mother will indeed be proud and I couldn't be more proud of the woman that you are today.

It's in our pain that we find strength and develop character and most of all empathy, compassion and love.

May God continue to bless you as you forge on! 

Your girls are a blessing and you are a blessing to them.

I'm so glad you let me into your world and theirs.

May your Mom's soul continue to rest in perfect peace.

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 16, 2017

Sweet Bim!

Your words inspire joy and strength. I'm glad that our paths crossed.

I agree with you that God does not waste pain. Through it, we build character and strength. We all have our share of life's troubles no doubt but you and l, and by extension our World Pulse sisters belong to the generation of women that turn their trials to treasure.

We are the role models for our girls. Together, we shall lead them to the pinnacle of greatness.

Keep the flag flying Sis! Yes we can! Yes we will!

In Love & Light!

Aramide

Natasha L
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 16, 2017

Dear sister Aramide -  Your "Frontline of My Life" piece is such a well-written, beautifully expressed, and heartfelt story full of pain and full of love. Your words have such gentleness and such strength.  Thank you so very much for sharing your story of your mother and father, of your twin who was not able to live, of your family shaped by polygamy, of your father's asking for forgiveness, and of your proud successes to achieve and thrive in your career and in your vision for a peaceful just world.  You and your siblings truly weathered the storms together and with time, found strength to forge ahead.  It's absolutely lovely and joyous to hear you say that your mother remains your Jewel of Inestimable Value!

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 19, 2017
Feb 19, 2017

Dear Natasha,

You are indeed a great listener. Thank you for giving so much attention to the details of my story. Thank you also for your kind words and encouragement.

Thanks for being a blessing! I appreciate you Natasha!

In Partnership,

Aramide

toyin fakuade
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 17, 2017

A caring mother will want to do everything in her power to give her children the best.

It is a pity that she is no more to see how you have grown to be a woman of value and how you have impacted lives positively.

I am proud  of you ma.

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 19, 2017
Feb 19, 2017

Dear Toyin,

Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I agree that not every woman is a mother but every true mother will do all within her power to give her children the best.

I know you are a great Mum too and your children will definitely have the best! Together we shall make the world a better place for our children and the generation next.

In Sisterhood,

Aramide

Mercedes
Feb 18, 2017
Feb 18, 2017

I can see how you became a strong, independent woman. Your mother taught you well, and now you are her pride, and light for others.

I also have a strong, loving mother. I would not be here without her struggles. So I can relate with your story.

Sending you my love!

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 19, 2017
Feb 19, 2017

Dear Mercedes,

It feels so good to hear that you mother through her struggles has made you the trailblazer that you are today. Truly, a mother's love is priceless and her sacrifices supreme.

Together we shall carry the light and pass on the torch to our children and children's children. Let the flame burn brighter friend. The world needs us; yes they do and we shall not fail them.

We are the change-makers and I believe that through us, the world will become a better place.

Sending you Love and Light!

Aramide

Opeyemibisi
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

i can relate to this story, because my mother also experience a very tough marriage life too, when my father also brought in another wife after my elder sis was born and it became a competition and serious battle for my mum to raise I and my siblings up but Im grateful to God that she is still very much alive to eat the fruit of her labour, my step mother who was seriously competing with her is late and my dad too. women go through a lot of emotional strees in the name of marriage but i know by speaking out and never be silence we can collectivelly make these world a better place.

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Dear Opeyemibisi,

Thanks for lending your voice to demand for a just world where women are not subjected to harrowing experiences in order to keep their marriages.

I dare say that mothers too should help their daughters by listening to them and identifying with them in times of distress. They should not drive their married daughters away just because they want them to remain married at all cost.

May God help us all!

In Partnership,

Aramide

Joanna Smieja
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Hello Aramide, thank you for sharing your story so beautifully. I can relate to your story, because I had to overcome some struggles while being a child and I am grateful to those experiences. They shaped me to be a strong, independent women.

You are a courageous woman. Keep on doing your work and try to give the courage to women in your community!  Hugs,  Joanna 

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Dear Joanna,

Thank you for this encouragement. No doubt our experiences help to shape us into who we eventually become. Painful as yours and mine was, the good thing is that those experiences have made us stronger and better; they have made us change agents today.

Lets just keep the fire burning so that our children wont have to go through the bitter road.

Thank you once again.

In Sisterhood,

Aramide

Austina
Mar 01, 2017
Mar 01, 2017

Dear Sis,

I now see why we connect, even though in silence! I am also proud of you for being able to relay the events so clearly. Our story is very very similar though I had to summarize mine. My mother is now in retirement and I pray each day to be able to compensate her everyday. My siblings are also settled in marriage, even though as firstborn I had elected to remain single to help Mum raise them. Today, I find fulfillment in seeing them stand on their feet, happily. 

May every struggling mother be rewarded. 

Blessings to you big sister!

Aramide Oikelome
Mar 20, 2017
Mar 20, 2017

Austina Dear!

It feels so good to have you by my side. Thank you for letting me into your world. May all our struggles yield manifold blessings! And may it bring freedom to every oppressed soul, especially women and girls.

You are an amazing woman! May God reward your sacrifice.

Sending Hugs,

Aramide