It was a very sunny day on June 10, 2012 and as my ritual was under that kind of hot weather, I went swimming. Of course my phones were locked away in my bag so I didn’t know that I had several missed calls. When I was through from the pool, I perused my phone and saw missed calls from my mum.
She called much later in the afternoon and was furious that I didn’t pick or return her calls. I could sense the frustration in her voice……it really wasn’t frustration, I’d rather say tension. As she spoke, I knew that her tone wasn’t because I didn’t pick her calls. I just knew something else was wrong and something was indeed wrong. “Ifeanyi, Your father is in the hospital”. The moment she said those words, I could now relate to her anxiety.
The next day, I got another call from my mum. Dad was still in the hospital. This was getting strange. I even teased him on the phone about being in the hospital ‘cos he wasn’t used to it. Mum was getting worried so I tried to calm her down on the phone but distance didn’t help ‘cos I was in Lagos and they were in Anambra. Again I asked to speak with my dad and when I asked him how he was feeling, he simply replied “Ifeanyi, God is in control”.
At that moment, his pastor from living faith Awka, Pastor Isaiah came into the hospital so I spoke with him on the phone too and he told me not to bother because he was about to pray for him and anoint him for healing.
I felt much relieved. Dropped the call and went about my work in the office. About an hour later, my younger sister chats me up on bb. Apparently my mum was calling her but she could pick because she was attending lectures in school so she was pinging me to call mum.
I picked up my phone and called my dad’s phone instead because I wanted to know how he was doing before talking with my mum, but an unfamiliar voice picked the call.
“Is this Anyi?”…I answered yes because from where I come from, calling me “Anyi” which is short for “Ifeanyi” strikes a chord of familiarity. He then asked “are you alone or with people?”. I answered “I’m alone”. Again he asked “I hope you are not driving or handling something fragile”. I answered “No”. Of course you can guess that I was already sensing something. The voice then went on “Anyi, you see, there comes a time in every man’s life when…..”. I quickly cut in “please I am an adult. If you want to tell me anything, just go ahead. I can handle it”. I couldn’t stand the suspense anymore. Then he finally broke the news to me “Ifeanyi I’m sorry but your father passed on a few minutes ago”.
I froze. No movement. Everywhere was quiet. “Did I hear right?”…then the thoughts came rushing in. Dear God, what happened? What did I just hear? My father is dead! Just like that? No record or history of illness. I really wished it was all a dream. In my heart-broken state, I quickly remembered how I spoke with my father about a week ago when the Dana air crash of June 3rd happened and how he re-assured me in faith that my uncle whose name was on the flight manifest couldn’t have died. “That’s impossible” he said, and he was right , my uncle actually missed the flight.
Little did I know that my father was preparing to board his own heavenly flight about a week later. The next day, I took my own flight from lagos to Enugu and connected Awka from there. Flight tickets were scarce because of the tension in the aviation industry then so the Aero ticket lady was making big bucks by selling tickets for higher prices under the guise that flights were fully booked. It was really raining when I got to Awka. My mum was still crying, being consoled by church members and neighbors. She was happy to see me but she was also saddened as to why she was seeing me. I tried my bit to console her then shortly afterwards I left for the mortuary.
It was really my first time in a mortuary. The attendant took me in and right before my eyes was my loving father. Calm, rested and asleep. I almost wanted to tap him to wake up. I remembered the last time I saw my father. I had come to awka for easter and he escorted me to the bus stop to charter a tri-cycle to the motor park to head back to lagos. It was raining but he didn’t mind. Now I was back to Awka to see his corpse and again, it was raining. It was still like a dream. I also quickly went to the hospital where he passed on and spoke with the doctor who assured me that my father was ok until his death.
As a matter of fact, I learnt that he was about to be discharged when he told my mum to go and get him some new clothes to change. It was while mum was away and the doctor and nurses left the room that he slept in the lord like a true saint that he was. Obviously he didn’t want my mum to witness his departure. It would have been too much for her.
About three weeks before his death, he boldly climbed on the Altar of Living faith Church Awka where he served as an ordained Elder and he gave testimony on the celebration of 37 years wedding anniversary. This was strange because he had never done such before.
Remember the unknown man who broke the news of my fathers death to me on the phone? Well I got to meet him too. His name is Prince Emeka and he is the only proof I have till today that angels exist.
I remember talking about him sometime ago on this blog. Apparently he was in the hospital on his own business when my dad passed on and my mum’s crying and wailing attracted him. Immediately he took everything upon himself. He calmed her down, asked her who to contact, he paid for my dad’s medical bill. He contacted me and my dad’s step-brother in Onitsha. He organized an ambulance to convey my dad to the mortuary. He made sure my mum got home and stayed with her till late into the night. He…like I said, he took everything upon himself even upto the burial. He printed the burial programme and gave me sound advice as to how to go about the burial. He even offered me his car free for all the logistics I needed. Even when he was robbed, he still continued his angelic ministry to me.
Guys, I never knew him from Adam but we’ve remained great friends since then till now.
That’s the beauty about God. Even in times of despair, he will never leave you helpless.
About a month later on July 27, 2012, my father, Elder Johnson A. Madichie was majestically buried and his 77 year legacy on earth came to an end. As his coffin approached the grave side for burial, I made up my mind that I wouldn’t shed tears but I had a major challenge : I was to perform the ” ashes to ashes and dust to dust ” rites.
As pastor C.J asked me to pour the first sand into the grave, I held the shovel and looked upward to heaven. “So this is real” “I’m actually burying my father” .I was still holding back the tears. Pastor C.J continued the prayer…..and when he said “ashes to ashes” I pushed the shovel into the sand, raised it up and let the sand into the grave. I was still composed up till this point but the moment the sand hit the casket and made a loud thump, I broke down emotionally. That was it. Its really the contact between the sand from the shovel and the casket in the grave that makes people really weep.
The burial went on successfully despite all the hurdles, (especially the tradition of cooking for the whole village for 4 consecutive days during the burial…phew. That tradition must be re-visited oooo). I could imagine my father giving me and my siblings thumbs up from heaven when it was all over.
Today, June 11, 2013 makes it exactly one year since he went to be with the Lord and his last words “God is in control” still remain strong in my spirit.
Rest in peace till we meet again.
PS…….em…i know this aint the usual funny posts you guys are used to. Hehehehehe. Just bear with me and be sure not to miss my next post on Blackberry Bondage. Get ready to Laughhhhh…..
Thats all for now guys. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to stay tuned for more. Remember, “Every man will have his day”
Johnson Madichie is a social blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria and affects the world from there.
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