Family Tributes: Grace Adichie



Mom Mom,I still don’t know what happened to us on March 1st, 2021.That would have been Dads 89th birthday and now I remember this date with so much pain and a heavy heart (and forever will) as the day my life was turned upside down.

To the world you were one person, but to me you were the world; always in my corner cheering me on .

Mom Mom, you were a very strong woman, with your strong opinions but always humble and respectful of other peoples’ opinions and you taught me and my siblings all of this. In her high school years, my grandpa wrote her a letter, addressing her as “My dear son”. Mom Mom quickly corrected her father, who told her he knew exactly what he was writing and that he was not losing his mind. He told mom that she was a strong woman who could do whatever men could in school/career and to always remember that.

Another testament to her strength and hard work was finishing her undergraduate degree soon after the war, while taking care of her 3 children, at that time. Her “teacher”, like we referred to the renowned Professor Nzimiro, came to tell us that Mom had passed “very very well” and that we should be proud of her and work hard like she had in school.

Mom Mom’s love was divine; I don’t know how else to describe it.

I remember as a medical student many years ago, I was ill and had to be admitted to the hospital. She did not leave my bedside and before anybody knew what was happening, she had made up a sleeping area under my bed, yes under my bed! And I was a grown woman! Nobody could make her leave.

She still brought me jollof rice whenever she visited me at the university. I now don’t have her to bring the different Nigerian foodstuff for me on her visits to the US.

Mom mom was my confidante, my best friend, my doctor too – her doctoring was above my pay grade! Just a couple of days before she passed, she was telling me about how the scent leaf, tumeric and paw-paw leaf steam inhalation is good for the lungs.

Mom’s strong faith will forever guide me. She placed any concerns in God’s hands and had special devotions to the blessed Virgin Mary. She would tell me “she is a mother like me, so she will understand a mother’s prayers”. She taught us integrity, good work ethics and the value of a good name. She would say, “Don’t, because you have an itch, keep scratching and break your skin, causing bigger problems”

Her greatest joy was being a mom. She made all our friends feel happy and at home. One of my childhood friends, on hearing mom had passed, said “chai! I will miss auntie’s belly laugh”.

I thank God for what you have taught me through the years: love, kindness, patience, endurance (the times when you would say to me “Nnem mado uwa george”).

I know that no matter how much time passes, the pain and longing will never go away, The world is confusing and scary to me, even as an adult.
Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.

Who will I be hanging out with at the East Brook Mall in Mansfield, Connecticut? Or dropping and picking up? Death has taken you to a beautiful place called heaven, but it has sure made my own life a living HELL!

My tears are of overwhelming grief, I can only place one foot in front of the other, empty and broken. I know that you and Dad will forever guide us, your “famous six”

Mom Mom, you taught me everything, except how to live without you. May “nwoke okpokpo anya” grant you eternal rest with Dad.
Tell Dad “anam a try kwa o”




Oh God not again! One tragedy too many! …And my darling Mum bows out! I just cannot find the words.

Yet to recover from dad’s passing on June 10th 2020; yet to complete dad’s mourning period, my beloved mum decides to join the heavenly saints on March 1st 2021, dad’s birthday, the day he would have turned 89. What a coincidence.

I have so many questions.

My siblings and I, your “famous six,” as she and dad would refer to us, are simply devastated beyond words. We have cried our eyes out, cried so much that tears just roll down our faces subconsciously as we continue to ask ‘Why?’

Where has Mum Mum gone? It was so sudden. We didn’t get a chance to say our final goodbyes.

Darling Mum Mum, gorgeous Mum, beautiful Mum, Fashionista Mum, Ugo si mba, Electric Mum,(Eleti- Oku), Waspito, its still like a bad dream, still very surreal and unbelievable that you are gone forever.

Our hearts bleed.

On my last birthday on 7th March, I waited as usual for my phone to ring and to hear you call me “Ouch Bebe” and wish me a happy birthday. I waited in vain. That call never came. It then dawned on me that indeed, my beloved mum had gone to be with the Lord.

The pain and anguish are indescribable. My heart continues to bleed.You and dad were very close, an example of what other couples should emulate, inseparable evenunto death. “Two peas in a pod”, as your doctor in Connecticut would call both of you. This gives me some comfort knowing that you left this world to be with dad in heaven, and the fact that you left on his birthday was quite significant.

Mum was nicknamed Electric (Eleti), because she was so beautiful with her smooth and spotless light skin. She glowed like the finest and brightest electric bulb. She had a sweet smile. She was our shinning light. Our bright light. She was our rallying point. She lit up the room wherever she went. She was a star.

Death just stole one of the best!

She was a strong, very confident and self-assured woman who rose to become the first female Registrar of the University of Nigeria among many other achievements. I inherited these traits from you, Mum. Thank you.

It was Mothers’ Day on 14th March. We grieved. We cried. We looked for you. When we didn’t see you, we sent you a Mother’s Day note. Hope you read it.

You and dad called us “the famous six.” You were so proud of us. You were the best mum in the whole wide world. You were there for us. You were our best friend, our confidant, our adviser, our gossip pal, our everything.

You and dad taught us the real value of life, taught us the golden rule, taught us that contentment was a virtue. You taught us the importance of family. You provided the glue that held us firmly together as a family. You taught us to band together always regardless of life’s challenges. We became a very close-knit family, a family held together by a special bond filled with love, which soon became the envy of others.

Darling Mum, as we mourn you today, we have one promise for you. That the “Famous six” you left behind will continue to uphold your teachings, and that your passing unto glory as well as dad’s passing, will make us band together even stronger. We have suddenly become orphans. This is what life has just thrown at us, but we know that you and dad will continue to look down from heaven to intercede for us.

We are consoled by our faith and our belief that both of you are resting peacefully with the Lord in heaven.

We miss you mum. We just miss you. May your shinning bright light never cease. Rest in Perfect peace beloved Mum.

Ouch Bebe(Uchy)



Mum Mum,

The plan we had for March 1st was for us all to think about Dad on his birthday and imagine what he would have been doing on that day in heaven. The plan was never for you to leave us.

When Dad left us in June, I taught myself how to pray ‘ozo emena’. I prayed ‘ozo emena’ in public and I prayed ‘ozo emena’ in private. I prayed ‘ozo emena’ because with every fiber of my being, I did not want this to happen. I believe in my name that you and dad gave me – Chukwunwike! I believe God has the power to answer any prayer but He chose not to answer mine and I accept it.

I am writing this tribute five weeks after you left us and still cannot believe that you have gone forever and that I will never see you again. I have so many questions to ask, but I don’t know who to ask because once again, I have been told that I cannot ask God questions.

There is nothing I have not thought about and wished to happen to bring you back. God raised Lazarus from the dead from the tomb in Bethany. He could have raised you and dad from that room at Regina Caeli in Awka.

I am completely lost and empty and afraid of thinking about tomorrow. Life from now on will be different for me but I am going to be strong. I am going to be strong because I can hear your voice saying just that to me and I am choosing to let myself be guided by your voice that I hear.

Mum, thank you for my life. Thank you for shielding me in your womb while running and hiding for safety during the civil war. Thank you for all that you had to endure with a baby in war time. Thank you for all my childhood memories, my teenage memories and my adult memories. Thank you for fighting my battles in public and in private. Thank you for being my rock, our rock.

I still have not found the words to express how I feel and how much I will miss you but that’s OK because finding the right words will not change anything.

I have to learn to live in and understand a world without Bee and Wasp which is a world I cannot imagine. I don’t know how I am going to do this.

Your light on earth may have been extinguished but your light in heaven is now shining bright.

My darling mother, Eleti Oku, Eleti Nnem, Oku na-enwu enwu, I want you to rest in peace knowing that we will continue to practice all you taught us in life, until we all meet to part no more.

Once again, I will believe that He who owns the Heavens and the Earth knows best. Rest in Peace, my sweet mother. I loved you in life and I love you in death





No words can express my grief of losing you from my life. Memories of your face, warm smile, large heart and good deeds bring tears to my eyes every minute of the day.

I love you darling mum. I am completely heartbroken that you are gone forever, it’s so hard to face reality.

If roses grow in heaven,  Lord, please pick a bunch for me,

Place them in my mother’s arms and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for a while.

Because remembering there is easy, I do it every day,

but there is an ache within my heart that will never go away.

Continue to Rest in Peace




Darling Mum-Mum

Unbelievable. I feel utterly lost. O na-afu ka ose. That you are actually gone forever. I

assumed you would be here for much longer. I assumed the universe had given us our own fair share of pain. I was just teasing you that you can’t say you’re tired at 78 when Joe Biden is your age mate. We were planning your big 80th birthday party next year. Unbelievable.

I need you. I so desperately wish I could turn back time and hug you, kiss your neck as I always did, tease you, laugh with you, hail you “GC London! Asa Umunnachi! Odogwu Mmadu!”

How can I be writing a tribute again? How can I be writing a tribute to you?

I cannot bear to think of the future. The world is wrapped in gauze and I cannot see clearly. The seams of my life have been harshly, so harshly, undone.

You calmly told me during that false health scare in the US a few years ago: “I have lived a full and happy life.”

I remember telling you, “Mummy, keduzi udi okwu bu nke a?”

But now I cling desperately to those words. They are true but they do not make the pain less. You lived a full and happy life. Your husband adored you. Your children adored you. You found rewarding fulfillment in your life’s work as an administrator. You were a source of great joy, you were a wonderful mother, so fiercely protective, so utterly unconditional in your love, so full of wit and warmth. Thank you, Mum-Mum for everything. I will always be grateful to have had the great gift of calling you my mother. So much unfinished. So many more conversations to be had, stories to be told, gossip to trade. So much laughter waiting to be laughed. Now everything is too late.

I never ever imagined that you would leave us now, so suddenly, so soon after Daddy. You told us that Daddy would want us to find a way to cope. You were so brave, while dealing with your own immense grief. How will I cope? What will our lives look like now?

It is so strange, how you are the one I want to tell about all this. Who will I facetime in the evenings, to talk about nothing? Who will I ‘report’ your granddaughter to, only to have you completely support

her? Who will take one look at my face and know I’m having a bad day, who will tell me to go and rest, to eat, who will tell me not to worry, that the writing will come, who will always unconditionally cheer me on?

I love you so very much Mum-Mum. Thank you so much for everything you were to me. Thank you for everything you did for me. I don’t know how I will cope.

GB gi.



Darling Mum-Mum

My darling Mom, your death happened so suddenly. I can’t soften what I feel by using words like passing or loss. It’s hard to make sense of your death. ‘God knows best’ or ‘Everything happens for a reason’ seems meaningless to me. I take comfort in you once telling us that you’ve lived a long and happy life and also in saying that Daddy would want us to find ways to cope after he died. I know you will also want us to find ways to cope; it will be really difficult. You will be terribly missed.

You were always supportive of all we did and raised us with love and kindness. I can proudly say you’ve done an amazing job. The are so many skills I want to be good at but I don’t want to be good at writing tributes. Two in a year is too much to bear.

I am broken, I am weak, I am angry and I am questioning a lot about life and our existence. I will keep striving in spite of all, accepting the things I cannot change, taking each moment at a time, each day at time, while I try to make sense of the new normal of not having you here.

Preparations for your funeral have been emotionally challenging and surreal. But it is the responsibility of the living to celebrate and honor the dead and we will do exactly that for you, Mom. You will always be in my heart and my mind. Eleti oku nne m oma! You stayed strong for us when Daddy died, I know it wasn’t easy. Rest well Mom, we will be okay.