In two days, we will step into the month of December, and we shall all be looking forward to saying goodbye to 2010. There must be things you said, wrote or did this year that you are proud of, and some that you are not proud of, and wish you could take back. I am expressing my own sentiments of course, and believing that it may also apply to you.
For me, 2010 has been an incredibly trying year. A year of unspeakable trials and tribulations that have not yet all ebbed, but all of which I have learnt to surrender to God.
There have been three years in my life that I mourned so hard I thought I would die;
1982 - I lost my father, Stephen in September (he was 66). My immediate elder brother, Chidi in October. (He was 19). Finally my maternal grandmother, Agnes Nwosu-Igbo in December. (She was 86).
Then in 2008, my only uterine sister, Ngozi lost her battle against complications of diabetes aged only 52.
2010 however has been too hard, with the loss of my beloved mother, Hannah (nee Nwosu-Igbo) who was 82 and my teacher and friend Esiaba Irobi who passed away at just 49.
When I put these losses together with other trials I have faced, I thank God for the most special gifts in my life; my wife Thelma Nwamamaka, and my children Nwachiamanda Ola Akuoma and Arinzechukwu Chinedum Nnorom - they gave me a reason to carry on and to revisit my father's favourite hymn; Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Everyday that passes, I realise what a master planner God is, and why he planted such a wonderful woman in my life as my wife, and why he has blessed me with such exceptional children.
I set out to write this piece today because of a touching thing that happened to me this morning: I was up from 5am trying to complete the photo gallery at The Nollywood Factory website, and just before 6am my son came into the room. I did not hear him enter because I had, without knowing it, stopped working and bore my head in the palm of my hand. Suddenly I heard, 'Daddy what's wong?'. Arinze is only three years and 8 months old, and still misses the 'r' in wrong.
"Daddy is sad." I said to him, stretching my arms for a hug. He leapt unto my laps and hugged me tight.
"Daddy is happy" Arinze said.
He did not say, 'try to be happy,' or 'don't be said,' he said 'Daddy IS happy.' Then I realised I had nothing to be sad about. Nothing. I mean, I have a family that loves me unconditionally. I have a roof over my head. My health is holding up. My mind, as far as I know is sound. I just have some niggling problems here and there. Who does not have some niggling problems here and there? I shut down the computer, and went to bed and slept like a child. I woke up just after 10am. Happy.
Today, I worship God with all of my being and give thanks for every day. I have even learnt to give thanks for the lives of those whose passing caused me so much grief. I finally have realised that the reason those transitions cut me so much was because of how special the people were, and how much value they added to my life. I have since learnt to appreciate the living, rather than mourn the dead. I have since learnt to make sure I remember they who have passed on as they were in life. Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning when everyone has slept and I beat the hell out of my computers' keyboards, I stop, close my eyes and listen to the voices and laughters of my friends - both they who are here and those who are not. It is so indescribable how truly amazing life is, especially the realisation that life does not ever end.
I glorify God. Truly, I glorify the only living God.
- Nnorom Azuonye