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Ify Nwankwo
Jun 07, 2023
In Tributes from Family
  My relationship with my wife started in early 1989 as a boy-girl friendship at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I was  a second year student of Economics and Ify had just been admitted through direct entry. On this evening, my friend who later became my best man at our wedding, went out to do what in University parlance was called "ward rounds", to meet with the Freshmen and 1st year female students. So it was love at first sight even though none of us thought the relationship would end in marriage, of course marriage was the last thing on my mind. Ify and her family were just transferred to Enugu so she barely knew any place in town. I would visit her and she would return the visit, many times I would visit, she would ask her younger brother to hang around so that it would seem that I came to visit both of them. Though there was no fierce resistance from her parents, I threaded cautiously each time I visited her. One day I visited and when I rang the bell Ify's mother opened the door because she was sitting in the living room with her guest. I felt very uneasy, she introduced me as Uche Nwankwo, but her guest wanted to know who my father was. Ify's mom quickly interjected that I was the son of somebody. That singular incident gave me the idea that not only had the parents noticed me, but that perhaps I was accepted.     Looking back, I consider it a misnomer to refer to my mother in-law as mother- in- law. She was more than that. She was Mommy, she never saw or treated me as a son-in-law since the day I became a member of their family by marrying her daughter years ago, Rather, she saw and treated me like her biological son and I’m not exaggerating. Earlier on in our marriage and having that biased mindset of how mother in-laws can make or mar a marriage, I guess mommy either saw my apprehension or wanted to be upfront, called me into her bedroom and looking me in the eyes, told me that now I am like a son to her and there is nothing about her or the family I should not know. That alone settled my mind. There was no sacrifice too big or too much for her to make for me or my family. She was always there for us. Mommy had a good aura and my relationship with her family was blessed. After my marriage, God abided solidly with us, sending to us every good thing and every perfect gift coming from above. My wife got a job with the Federal Ministry of Education, posted to FGGC Owerri as a teacher while I was working with a private firm in Enugu. I was travelling to Owerri almost every weekend and sometimes my wife would come to Enugu. During her pregnancy she would come for antenatal check-up at UNTH Enugu because she wanted to have our son at UNTH, and her holidays were spent at Enugu. So mommy observed all these, the danger of frequent travels and a young family not living together, approached the then principal of FGC Enugu to seek transfer for my wife. Meanwhile mommy was teaching at FGC Enugu, the principal told her that he could not have both mother and daughter in same school particularly in same department. Of course mommy would not give up, she arranged for her own transfer to the Inspectorate Division of Federal Ministry of Education at the Federal Secretariat, Enugu so as to make room for my wife to take her place at FGC Enugu. That was how my family lived together in Enugu and many times we would drop off the kids with my parents in-law over the weekends and holidays, they had space and enjoyed their company. Mommy was there at the delivery of all our sons and she did the "omugwu" and because we lived also in Enugu it was easy to have her around anytime we needed her, but she gave my wife and I space to develop our young family. She never interloped into our marriage, she only had words of encouragement to offer us each time we talked with her.      One valuable lesson I learnt from mommy was the undiluted love she faithfully demonstrated for her husband. She understood him and they lived like the perfect couple. She was a very hard working woman, she upheld us all in her prayers. Mommy was a teacher by profession and had taught in so many institutions across Nigeria. Even when she retired, because of her pedigree, many private school proprietors sought after her to help guide and establish their schools. So when I got the phone call on that Thursday morning that mommy had collapsed, I thought it was just out of fatigue or exhaustion, but little did I know that it was the end. I hear and read about "sudden death", but never knew what it meant until that faithful Thursday. The bible tells us that there are times and seasons for everything, time to be born and time to die.  May your beautiful soul continue to find eternal rest and peace in the bosom of the Lord, and may your memory continue to be a blessing. Adieu! Your son,  Uche Nwankwo
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Ify Nwankwo
May 11, 2023
In Tributes from Family
Alas, my mom is gone! On Thursday April 27, 2023 I got the phone call I have always dreaded receiving informing me of your departure. I had always prayed that the good Lord would grant us all long life like he did my grandparents, but God had other plans and death could not wait for you to console your beloved sister who was already mourning her late husband. I had an epiphany that morning after almost two weeks of insomnia, it dawned on me that you were trying to say goodbye. Mom, you were an epitome of hard work, perseverance, contentment, patience, respect, honesty, forgiveness, generosity, PEACE and LOVE! You compromised a lot for peace to reign. You were a submissive, devoted wife, sister and mother to many. You were a true description of a virtuous woman and you took care of dad selflessly. You were also a fighter and you shielded your children the best you could, sometimes being overprotective. You were my first teacher and pastor. I remember when you taught me to make backstitches and made me use them to fix my ripped sweater at the age of 7 which led to my keen interest in sewing. Thanks to you I was able to read quite a few fairytales and fables at a young age. You taught me idiomatic expressions at a tender age- my favorite then being, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. You taught me the Lord’s prayer, the Ten Commandments, choruses and told me numerous Bible stories which remain imbibed in my heart till date. You helped me raise my boys and you had a nickname for each one of them. With your guidance, pieces of advice and support they have all grown into the young men you were so proud of and they were so fond of you as well, fondly calling you ‘Grandma’. I had hoped you would be alive to see them get married and get to meet your great grandchildren. I was already planning your 80th birthday in my head, but as is often said, ‘man proposes, God disposes’. You were my confidant, my advisor and my counselor. You were never too busy to pick my calls and you would always shower blessings on my brothers, my husband, my children and I. You would always end your calls with phrases like ‘ne bi kwenu ofuma’, ‘ne bi kwe nu n’udo’. In the last few weeks of your stay on earth however, you ended your calls saying, ‘gbaghara nu owe unu’. It felt strange to me, but all the puzzle pieces are now coming together. According to Revelation 12:11, “ And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”. Mom, you overcame when you testified just before you left this world and that is a source of comfort. Although we are really devastated by your sudden unprepared exit, we take solace in the Lord and will continually draw strength from memories of you and the legacy you left in and with us. We love you Mom, but God loves you more! Adieu Mommy! Mommy! Your legacy lives on! Your daughter, Ifeyinwa Nwankwo (nee Abia)
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Ify Nwankwo

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