By Anayo M. Nwosu
My eyes were soaked in tears that Christmas period, when I traveled home to Nnewi to see my mum. I wanted to show her dearest mother and my biggest fan, my new status car. I was newly promoted to an AGM cadre in a bank.
With a child’s feeling of a son who had missed his mum, I hurriedly alighted from my car upon arrival at my family home to embrace my heroine, my mum.
“Good afternoon Mama”, I heartily greeted her before a shocker followed. My mum looked me in the face and said “welcome my inlaw”. “What? in-wetin?” I painfully repeated to myself. I knew that my mum was getting old but not too old not to recognize her beloved son, me Kanayochukwu!
“Ọ bụ m, Anayo nwa gị nwoke” meaning “it is me, Anayo,your son”, I said to my mum who insisted that I was her inlaw. Unbelievable! I hated that day, the day a highly priced mum would deny her son and call him someone else.
Not my mum, nne m ọma! Never!
Was it not the woman that lived for me, who would give me the last food available and would go to bed hungry? A woman I swore to work so hard to take care of till she died? “Devil is a liar!” I exclaimed.
My wife had made my life so beautiful and my dream of taking care of my mum come true. Two years into our marriage, she suggested that my 72 years old mum come live with us in the city. She wanted to let my mother have the best of what we could offer.
I never stopped telling her all that my mum did for me and how I would rather die than to live in comfort and she in need. Who says that the two hearts of a loving couple don’t beat in concert?
My mum, though reluctantly, came to live with us and was “detained” for 12 years. It is usually a Herculean task to “uproot” an old Igbo woman from the village to come live in the city. She nursed all our kids and formed a formidable team with my wife to keep me well behaved. Every judgement was in my wife’s favour.
All changed one day, 12 years after, when my mother called me into her room to complain that my wife had stolen £10 my friend from U.K. gifted her.
“That was a laughable accusation” I told her and she started crying. I wasn’t swayed. It didn’t just add up. She is my mom and I knew where and how she hid her money when I was growing up. I was sure she misplaced the money.
My junior brother and I would compete on who would be the first to “tap” 5 kobo from her bag which we used to buy akara and bread during recess periods in school. I took her bag, her bank, and instinctively went for the zipped compartment by the inner corner and found the money and handed same over to her. She murmured that my wife must have surreptitiously returned the money.
How? When? I was confused.
Even though I had never doubted my mum or deemed her a liar before now, I was convinced that the devil was speaking through her then to destroy my marriage. My mum was too holy a vessel to be inhabited by devil.
Of all the amount of money in this world, how could my wife, a bank manager steal £10 from an old woman she provided for mostly from her own purse? Mbanụ!
But I never related this incident to my wife. How would I? That would have broken her heart and the damage would have been irreparable.
Then, another day came when my mum again accused my wife of seizing her bra.
My mum would not take it anymore.
She had determined to confront the accused but she waited for me to return from work before she tabled the issue. This, like the other charge of stealing, was also laughable. What would my wife do with my mum’s bra?
Their upper hemispheres or adazị enu are just not comparable.
While my wife is like a modern day model both in shape and sizes, my mum was blessed with an enviable pair of burst lines that would make boobsful Cossy Orjiakor look normal.
It was at this point that I concluded that my mum needed a medical evaluation.
I suspected Dementia.
An all night search on the internet made me very nervous as her symptoms were pointing towards dementia which could only be managed and not curable .
Shame to money which would become useless when confronted by an incurable ailment! Mama has developed dementia after 12 years of living with my family in the city.
Broaching the issue with my wife made her open up. She was more dispassionate as she had long suspected that mama had dementia.
She had noticed mama’s rapid deterioration both in aggressiveness, poor memory and loss of continence. She was careful not to tell me and had prayed that I noticed them myself. She was afraid that she might be misunderstood as most men who loved their mums so much would.
With special care, my mum lived for 12 more years before she died. She never improved. She kept getting worse as in all cases of dementia.
Do you have aged parents?
Please verify those tales about your wife or/and other people based on which you took some decisions.
You might have been deceived.
Many old people in our families and in our national lives are presently at various stages of senile deterioration known as dementia but we hardly notice due to our blind love, religious affiliation, filial loyalty or hero worship.
My dear mum would have wrecked my home if not for God’s grace and my introspective capabilities.
Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Amnesia and Senility are conditions of old people.
These diseases may set in much earlier than anticipated.
The patient may look normal and be confidently acting a new normal which would have wrecked a family or a state before it becomes obvious.
Many people as young as early sixties have presented the symptoms of dementia.
Check around you. Test all you hear from your old pals. They may be feeding you with inadvertent but dangerous lies.
Was it not this very disease that made one old man from Nnewi tell his sons that his only brother’s land was his just before he died. How can the sons doubt their father? This old man induced a land quarrel between cousins that has lasted a decade now.
Refusal to sieve and verify all the tales from our aged ones could be destructive to a family or to a nation.