Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet
Life and Love Notes for my late mother, Nwakego!
By Chido Nwangwu.
She had no space in her heart to hold any grudges. She had no time to carry the hefty burden of malice. She had no disposition to get drunk on the toxic wine of animosity and bitterness.No!
This special woman, my mother, Nwakego Juliana Orji, will be buried today, Friday October 14, 2022. Let’s get to one of the life and love notes that I wrote recently about her.
Around 10.05am on October 6, 2021, she called. She wanted a video chat with me, my wife Chinwe, her older grandson Chido 2nd, and especially to see and check on her youngest grandson, Chima. I named him after his great grandfather Chima Orji, and his late grand uncle, Chima Ofong!
On this day, October 6, 2021, I was upstairs doing Chima’s laundry when I was informed mom and my younger brother Ugochukwu were on the line…
Mom was very lively and in her own words “convalescing” well. True. Very well. Our mom’s voice had her familiar and friendly tonality of vitality!
Yes; my mother’s loving and caring and beautiful and vibrant and joyful and cerebral and witty personality illuminated our conversation with such engaging fluency and harmonious lucidity.
Remarkably, as I commended her for the vast improvement in her health and appreciated her multiplicity of skills, she humorously but artfully described herself as “a consortium”.
Factually and operationally, it’s an on-point self description.
I turned to my wife and said: “now, you know where I learned very early how to speak all those big grammar….” Both of them started laughing.
Mom reminded us that “Dede” — her oldest brother, Mazi Emmanuel Amugo Chima Orji — thinks she has the recall capacities of a computer. Hence, on some important issues, the almost 93-years old sage and prolific senior citizen would invite her.
October 6, 2021, remains a very blessed day with reminders of every thing that is possible. Especially, as I listened to the hopeful voice of a resilient mother, daughter, sister, wife, grandmother and mother-in-law who is above everything else, an overcomer! 1943-2022.
No matter the realities of her own imperfections, I remember my mother, Nwakego, as a very caring, loving and inspirational person, in the likeness of my grandmother, affectionately known as ‘Da Jenny’.
Yes; until I draw my own last breadth, I will always remember my Nwakego, for a thousand qualities and her assortment of gifts, her extraordinary spirit of family, her incomparable love for all her children, ALL children, and all her relatives and a very courageous spirit, erudition, natural flair and grace about her. She laughed easily in interactions with people and made friends.
Her parents: mother Janet ‘Jenny’ Ofong (of the Oji Otti lineage of Aro Ujari/Ajalli with ancestral roots in Ujari in the ancient kingdom of Arochukwu) and father Joseph Chima Orji of Ndiokoro Mgbeke family of Atani ‘Mmawuru’ in the same Arochukwu.
With the sudden and unanticipated death of Mazi Chima Orji, Juliana’s mother Janet later married Mazi John Young Nwangwu. It was also a fruitful and loving marriage.
Her very lively conversations on October 6, 2021 morning reignited for us the expanding path to her realistic rejuvenation and recovery.
Before we said goodbye, I requested to thank her tireless immediate younger brother, Mazi Blessing Nwangwu, and the caring young woman, one of her daughters-in-law, Chimereucheya ‘Mary’ Nnabuike.
Shortly afterwards, our mom said she needs to call “Okosisi. Papa ukwu” — that’s her younger brother Samson. She added some more names: “My younger sister Chibuzo, Dede Chigbo….” Chibuzo, it seems, was her best friend! Nwakego laughed with her heart and eyes very joyful. She was very brilliant. It’s a very deep n painful loss!!
I’ve been gathering the shards of my mother’s painful transition but memorable life. Hence, I have attempted a summary of the impact of her life with us in only four words: Memories, forever; Legacies, indelible!
My life’s journey just got longer, tougher. But in everything, almost everything, we say ‘ekene diri Chukwu!’. Rest In Peace, my beloved mother, Nwakego.
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, author of the forthcoming 2023 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity., is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN, ALJazeera, SKYnews, and served as an adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. Follow him on Twitter @Chido247
What a wonderful tribute ❤️