By Theo John-Philips
An amazing thing happened to me today. I got off an Aero aircraft from Abuja and proceeded home. I stopped by my Dollar exchange friend named Bashiru to exchange a $100 bill that had been stuck in my wallet for God knows how long. Today is the day that it was kept for. I had exhausted all the weekend cash i had “allocated” for any expenses and i had to pay for my Uber ride.1
I sauntered into Bashiru’s shop and I greeted him in Arabic; Asalam Ailekhum and he responded… Wailekhum. I gave him the dollar bill and then… I saw a gold wedding ring encrusted with black stones with the alphabet W and a crucifix engraved on it on the table where he sat. I was in a daze. I quietly asked if i could see the ring, he handed it to me carelessly and I lifted it and looked inside the wedding band. It was engraved with the first letter W of the spelling of my mothers middle name.
“A brief flip back”. My mother died several years back and truthfully, I cannot tell you the day nor the date my mother died or the day she was buried. I only remember her birthday. I have blocked out those memories. My mother is not and will never be dead to me. I remember her in my heart the same way I remember my late wife and the mother of my first two children.
The ring was removed from my mothers fingers the night she died at a hospital in Surulere because I saw the rings on her hand the night previous when she looked at me and she said to me that there was so much to say and I told her to get well and we can always catch up later. On that faithful day, i walked down the stairs and thought to go back and speak to her and tell her how much she meant to me and how grateful I was for all the pains I had caused her as an unruly and careless lad and the trauma of her having to mend and take care of all the mess I created with the parents of the girls I went about with… but I was tired and to climb up 12 staircases was a lot and I drove off home. I received a call at about 2.30am from a dear friend who worked in the hospital called Nurse Pat that my mother had moved on to the next level (Not APC Next nonsenses 🙄🙄🙄).
Yes… where was I?? In my pain and hurt that my mother had died and I didn’t get to speak to her and tell her how much I love her and apologize on my knees for all the pains I had caused her, was too much for me. I completely forgot about her wedding rings and when i remembered, she was already in the morgue and the rings were gone.
I asked Bashiru who brought the ring to sell and he looked at me and said that it was sold to his brother several years ago and the brother had since died but he found the ring on his finger the day he died and he took it and kept it. He said for some reason he was looking through his things and he saw the ring and he brought it out to see if he could sell it today if anyone came around asking to buy wedding rings. (Can you imagine?? Wetin Musa no go see for gate??; Bashiru selling wedding rings… talk about being a multi entrepreneur abi??? 🙄🙄🙄
I told him that the ring belonged to my mother and I showed him a photograph of her 60th birthday cutting her cake on my phone and she had the ring on her finger. He looked at me for a long while and he asked me to take the ring back. I offered to pay him but he refused saying that I had found my mothers gift to me and I needed to honor her. It was an overwhelming experience for me and I cried out so many years of pent up pain and the tears that I had not shed since my mother died because it hurt and it was too painful to cry.
My mother was a special woman. She gave her all so that I could be who I am today. Nothing was too much to be sacrificed for her son. I was my mothers favorite and my siblings knew it. I guess it created a lot of pressure for me with my siblings but my mother and myself had a kindred bond that no one could understand. With my mother, I could do no wrong.
My mother would kneel to beg parents who swore heaven and earth to bring me to book for one girl related problem or the other. After the begging, she would look at me and pull my ears and she would hug me and say that the parents should also speak to their daughters. Of course we would both hold hands and talk as we went home until the next infraction will happen 😞🤐☺️😉😎.
She would tell me that I was exactly like my late father who was her first and only love although she married my step father later. I know she did marry him to give us the children of her first marriage a roof over our heads and she endured the pain and abuse of that marriage because of us. (Was the pain she endured worth it?? I won’t ask any woman to stay in an abusive or painful marriage). Not because of the children. The children will always grow up and may not necessarily appreciate your sacrifice.
….. where was I….??? Yes… The wedding rings…..I took the ring and kept it in my socks and wore my shoes for fear I would loose it.
What triggered this story you would want to ask me??? After I collected the ring from Bashiru, and since I had no luggage, I decided to walk home and I was lost in thought. I recalled that at the Abuja airport, I was looking at several wedding rings on the ladies I saw at the airport and I wondered in my heart that what happens to all these wedding rings when people died. (I love wedding rings and i always wanted to change the ones on my mothers fingers. I always told her that I would buy her the most beautiful wedding rings ever).
Are wedding rings recycled?, Given away or passed down through generations of family?? It all looks funny the way we all clutch at life thinking and hoping that life should last forever. I thought again of my mother, her dreams and all she aspired to be.
Were my mothers dreams ever fulfilled?? I want to think that my mother always knew where she stood and what she wanted in her life. She always wanted to be a good mother and she was. She gave her all to her children and I am so grateful to her and all she stood for and all she taught me.
Nothing leaves the earth. We all come and go but nothing leaves the earth. We are called to put back as much as we receive. It’s been so many years and my mothers lost ring is back in my hand. What are YOU clutching on to?? Live your life and give your best everyday. We are called to take each day as a gift and do better everyday. If you love ANYONE..tell them EVERYDAY and do not loose sight of what is important to you. I sometimes look back and wish I had gone up those stairs and listened to my mother but you know what… maybe this ring coming back to me is her own way of telling me she understands and she can hear me.
What about you? Anyone you think you should reach out to??
Please do so. Nothing leaves the earth. From it we come and to it, we must return.
I see it now. Surely NOTHING LEAVES THE EARTH.
In Memory of my beloved Mother W…. who birthed me, gave me hope and the courage to always endure. You live on in my heart ❤️.