Today was basically the purpose for our entire trip. Today my mom saw her mother and I was able to finally meet a grandparent where I’m old enough to truly remember the experience. It was really special for me because she is the only grandparent I have or will ever meet as the other three passed away before I could ever meet them. Never mind that she can still walk by herself, can see out of both eyes or can talk clear as a whistle. No. The shocking thing is that I was able to meet my grandmother who is 110 years old!
Now, just like the car accident story I’m finding it hard to believe. I have no doubt that she’s 100+, but agreeing to the last two digits wanes on me. However, since my sisters aren’t here and my grandmother can’t speak a lick of English I guess I’m going to have to take this at face value.
The last time I came to Nigeria it was for my grandfather’s funeral – this grandmother’s husband. As we walked around her house I had thia sense of deja vue and some of my memories came hurtling back. I remember instead of couches there was a large white casket in the middle of the living room. There was a celebration of life with singing, and dancing and nice words for three days leadin up to the funeral. While my grandmother was clearly a focal point of my last visit, I only distinctly remember her from one instance. One day my mom and everyone else cleared out to socialize and visit people while I had the chance to bond with my grandmother. The problem is, she doesn’t speak English and I never committed to learning our native dialect Benin, so we were doomed from the start. After awhile I started wandering outside and exploring what I could. I should also tell you that my grandmother lived on a chicken farm so my explorations outside were quite limited due to their free range and my unbeknownst inherent fear of live chickens. As I started towards the door to the house I noticed a few chickens blocked my way. I probably waited 15 minutes for them to mosey away and decided to charge the door when they never received my telepathic message. I soon learned that option was a mistake and the chickens started flailing about and cackling at me. My grandmother eventually came to the door to see the comotion and at first started cheering as I think she thought I was dancing with them. It took her a moment or two I think to see the terror in my eyes and my tears glistening in the sun until she shooed them away. Like any grandmother she tried her best to soothe me, but nothing was better therapy than my incessant desire to eat KFC my first month back in the states as a means of retribution!
This video is EXACTLY how I remember it. I was just lucky enough to not have an insensitive adult film it. Poor kid.
It was also weird to see my grandfather again. As I wandered the grounds with my cousins he asked if I wanted to see our grandfather. Little did I know that I only had to walk 6 feet to the left and see him buried in a pseudo guest house/garage type structure in the backyard. It was intriguing that he was so close and yet comforting I’m sure for his wife that is still holding on after all of these years. All in all it was good to see the matriarch around her children, especially my mom. The mother later told me that her mother has been saying for the past year or two that she hopes to see her again before she passes. I’m glad we could fulfill that wish. Deep stuff. I know. Night.