RED SPORTS CAR

1988 , “Ulo Nna” on Hospital Road, Aba, (old) Imo State was notorious for nostalgia and action .

Amidst all that trading action in Aba, sat our family (city) home.

There was never a dull moment on those streets of this bustling traders’ town in the eastern region of Nigeria.

Aba’s warm tropical breeze was stifled with the fumes from the engine exhausts of automobiles crowding the roads of this commercial city’s hustle and bustles.

Aba Ngwa! Is NOT a city for “mugus”(fools)

You have to be very “sharp” to inhabit this land and the children of Aba seem to be packed full of street smarts, straight from their mothers’ wombs.

My grandfather “Nna” was one of the first settlers from our village into Aba township, therefore he had choice property in the heart of the city’s trading posts- on Hospital road.

The house had been passed down to our father from our paternal grandfather Stephen , who moved from the rural village to this trading town Aba ,after becoming one of the first converts to Christianity , in order to pursue and expand his business.

The property on Hospital was really a “watering hole” for our family and so many others. The fronts of the yard were trading stores while the back of the building served as residence for our family and numerous relatives. There were several apartments but all shared a common “ yard” so everyone could easily be in everyone else’ business 😂

Relatives and family friends lived there until they were able to transition successfully to their own homes.

Hospital road had a buzz to it, with trading shops cramped next to eachother. There was always music blaring from record stores, cars honking in traffic and loud jocular conversations amongst traders.

Everyone seemed to always be in huge hurry in this West African town.

71 hospital road,Aba pic courtesy of ILO

The businesses were housed in “ sheds” which comprised of wooden stalls with brilliant artisans making incredible innovative goods for sale , automotive parts traders, import and export sheds, talented tailors creating traditional clothing while others were expert “okirika” traders **

There were always SO many varieties at the markets! A day spent at the local Ariaria market never disappointed, showcasing human interactions depicting life lessons in courage, resilience,humor , love and rivalry.

My Older brother would entertain for hours with these Ariaria market stories.

Aba picture from google

Most Aba roads were heavily crowded and there was a distinct smell of commercialism or maybe it was just those fumes from the over used , poorly constructed and maintained gutter drainage systems…eww!

Traders lined every street corners, forcefully hassling passersby to purchase this or that from them . Everywhere you looked some one was selling something!

Only very few areas in Aba attempted to prioritize residential plots. We felt lucky to have cousins in those suburbs. The irony is that we each likely fantasized about trading living spaces with one another, at times. The quiet of the suburbs with its’ loneliness and less mosquitoes, competed against the excitement of those crowded trading streets of Aba.

Aba
Picture from outdoors.ng

Living in these commercialized areas meant close interactions with loud mouthed traders. It was not unusual for traders to audaciously comment on outfit choices of passersby, at times cat calling the pretty women or detesting others inappropriately dressed asking them ,who exactly allowed them out of their gates that morning .

Some of these unsolicited comments were harsh and could cut deep into ones self esteem, while others were so complimentary that your ego swelled bigger than an ishi aki**

My sister and I are seven and nine year olds with neatly braided tight cornrows on our hair. Our younger brother, a boisterous five year old who was obsessed with the newest Mike Tyson haircut style would beg our mother to allow him to get same at the barber shop.

Our father had a never exhausting fountain of energy and fun stored within him. Dad always found a way to literally infuse FUN into even the most mundane activities. It was no surprise that he would offer us a JOYRIDE in his old red fiat convertible which we all fondly called “ THE SPORTS CAR” .

Dad with another red sports car – New Orleans 2012

Sports car was only driven on special occasions.

We especially enjoyed the ride when we were all piled high ,rooftop down, standing room only , as many cousins and siblings as could possibly pack into the small convertible.

Then it was showtime….let the fun and joyous screams commence!

We took the joyrides at dusk when the blazing warmth of the sun was gone , and took with it all those loud mouthed traders whose shops were now closed for the day’s hustle. The crowded streets became empty and creepily quiet.

Dad would thrill us with the car ride revving up his engine every once in a while, our hair tossing in the wind, specs of sand from the tarred road peppered our laughing faces as we held onto for our dear sweet life.

On some occasions, Dad gave permission for our driver DeePee to ride us around. Dee Pee drove EVEN faster😅

Life seemed so carefree back then as if it contained no real problems.

Now as I reminisce on these sweet carefree memories, I am forced to appreciate the imminent passage of time.

I am grateful to have had joyrides in the red sports car, for that patriarchal home on hospital road with its hustling neighborhood that help toughen my skin and has in turn made me more resilient.

However, you know what I’m MOST appreciative of ?…..my FAMILY – close and distant relatives whose lives have enriched my life and have contributed tremendously to these BELOVED memories 💕

Which sweet memories of your childhood do you have to share?

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences .

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** okirika ( used clothing mostly from European countries for sale)

**ishi aki ( a large African fruit)

Faith Over Fear

Life is such a mixed bag , of joys, moments of sorrow and loss, fear and faith, times of enjoying great health and other times of sickness around us . This is the reality of what it mean to be alive, taking the good and the bad while finding ways to appreciate the entire process of living.

I have had a great loss recently. My beloved father was a giant Iroko tree and his exit has all who sheltered under his love , exposed to the harsh reality of life without him.

It is Dec 30th and we have just arrived into Abuja airport, Nigeria , from Owerri . My sister and our husbands with our cars packed full of our children and cousins, in laws.. we have just accomplished one of our lives most solemn milestone . We have successfully laid our father and grandfather to rest, next to his own father in the soil of their homeland.

This season has been a very long 3plus months since the death of our father on that unsuspecting September 15th morning. The day was Our Lady of Sorrows feast day in our Catholic faith . It commemorates the day that Mary the mother of our savior Jesus receive his body from the cross after he drew his last breath on the cross and proclaimed “ It is finished “. Jesus’ finishing of his business on earth commenced the salvation of humanity.

Therefore we as Christians are able to breathe easier knowing that at the end of our time here on earth,as believers we can inherit eternity in heaven with God.

That day on calvary cross , I imagine a sense of relief that Jesus must have felt upon completing his “love obligation “ to humanity. Today, I too feel a deep level of relief completing my obligation to have my father’s last wishes to be buried in his homeland accomplished.

Our father’s burial occurred in stages , first in October we gathered to honor his life and legacy in St. Louis, Missouri. A service of Songs event planned in a hurry that drew a crowded hall full of family , friends and well wishers.

Then there was the funeral service held in New Orleans,the next month in November. Our parents Committee of friends showed up in style to help us plan such a befitting celebration of life event in honor of our father and grandfather. The whole event was magnificent with the sour note being the absent of our Dad in the physical form , although I am convinced his spirit along with choirs of angels dances along the New Orleans brass band that escorted his body out of the church after the mass!

The day after United States of America’s thanksgiving celebration in Baltimore, Maryland where one of my brothers lives, they too gathered to honor our Dad in a very special way.

Finally our father’s body was travelled back to his homeland in Nigeria, where we ALL gathered against all the odds to honor the giant of man in a most befitting burial mass interment and cultural celebration. Chief Omenka is a peaceful giant and gem and it was no surprise that every detail of his burial was smooth sailing

What happened in Ezeka Umunze Orlu a few days ago was a miracle, an outpouring of the immeasurable grace of God. Every detail of our Dad’s burial went smoothly and our guests returned to their locations safely, all the praise to our God.

We as a family have had a lot of support from loved ones near and far in order to accomplish this and we are most grateful for the many ways our loved ones and well wishers have contributed their support of us. A direct deflection of the value they placed on our late father Chief Omenka, who in his lifetime accumulated so much good will which is now trickling down on us his children and grandchildren.

There were so many who gave their time, some their advice and wisdom and yet others supported us spiritually, financially,emotionally and physically.

How can I thank you for what your love has meant to us in this season. Please know of our grateFUL hearts and wishes for every wonderful blessing in your lives.

I had so many supporting and encouraging us along the way . At times when doubt attempted to derail me, I had to rely on others to increase my courage.

Ultimately, it truly was GRACE of God that carried us through. We travelled across continents with our entire families to Eastern Nigeria , at a time when many forwarded us of so many dangers including the risk of kidnapping , all of this in the backdrop of the upcoming political election in the country. If I said I was not terrified about the risks involved, then I would be telling a big lie.

The truth of that I was scared but I also had faith in a God is bigger than all my fears including kidnappers. I prayed Psalm 91 consistently to fortify myself and invited others to pray along with me. This Psalm provided me with the comfort daily as our trip approached . Everyday I trusted more and more in the promises of God’s protection on those who put their trust in him. I trusted God and he has over delivered!!! Worthy is his name!!

Our Dad is a special creation of God and he will sorely be missed …nonetheless he lives on in us his children and grandchildren and therein lies his legacy by the special grace of God🙏🏾

Now we are left to live on with the memories that we will cherish of his life with us. Dad was indeed a gatherer, and no surprise that his burial gathered SO many despite the uncertainties and insecurities that was in the air at the time .

Following his burial and thanksgiving mass , we had opportunities for family reunions, anniversary and birthday celebrations. There were graces for loved ones who were spared from harm on the roads and from illness. All of these make up that mixed bag of life! We keep muddling through the process of life while keeping our eyes out for moments of Joy.

Ofcourse we took many safety precautions on this trip however I am convinced that my Dad was already busy at work in heaven watching over all of us .

At the end of my fears for what it would take to travel home honor my father’s final wish to be buried in his homeland Nigeria this Christmas was my faith in God to see us all through safely.

God never fails.

Finally thank you all for your support and well wishes. Our family wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas Season when light entered into our dark world in the form of baby Jesus and now prayers for a blessed new year💕

Giving thanks in every season💕

In every season give thanks – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

This season of my life has been hard.

I have been challenged by loss and grief.

Waking up to my First thanksgiving without my father physically present on earth is TOUGH!

To say I miss you is such an understatement 💔

Arrival hugs the day before thanksgiving day 2021

I no longer have the casual opportunity to physically express my gratitude to him with my words, a hug,a plate of yummy thanksgiving cooking, or jocular conversations shared on a thanksgiving morning family walk on the trail to Stacy Parks.

Arrival hugs the day before thanksgiving day 2021
Thanksgiving day family walk 2021
Thanksgiving day 2021

My thoughts wonder deeply into an existential plane… What does your view from heaven look like now? Are you gathered in heaven with your parents and other family members enjoying great laughs with the communion of saints? Is food even a thing in heaven?

Now your image mostly exists in my mind and my heart. Your eyes always so full of love and I only imagine that this love is intensified from heaven now .

Therefore your love goes on.. even in death.

I am choosing to give thanks to God for this love and all the manifestations of that love in my life .

You see , because my Dad loved so freely, he also accepted and gave so freely this love.

My dad’s love and acceptance of my DH , despite our cultural differences, while some Naija parents would have given a side eye to an interracial marriage and therefore blocked blessings – he did not, and not only welcomed my DH with open arms but supported our union true and true.

Thanksgiving day 2021

This gift of love and acceptance has therefore abounded exponentially in my life in so many angles.

Kids table Thanksgiving Day 2021

Wherever I look I can see the manifestation of love in my life .

I see it in you my DH, I see it in my children, I see in my mother and siblings, I see it in my wonderful Oma and Opa and extended family and in laws, I see it in my Dedes and my Dadas, I see it in my cousins and their children, i see it in my dog Teddy, I see it in my sweet friends , I see it in my HOLLA group, I see it in my WOW group , I see it in my work and the ability to provide mental health services to those in need, I see it in the opportunity to be living in a beautiful country with my roots extended from the great continent of Africa.

Hanging out on thanksgiving day 2021

I see it in you ,my readers and I am grateful.

So yes, it’s a bittersweet thanksgiving , however I can still see so clearly the many reasons to give thanks.

I hope that you can look around you and your own unique circumstances and see reasons to be THANKFUL♥️🙏🏾

❤️

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences .

Click on the “follow” icon, so you can get notifications on future blog posts via email and not miss out !💕

*DH ( darling husband)

*Dedes( Uncles ) Dadas(Aunties)

GOD(WIN) MOMENTS 🙏🏾♥️

It’s been one month and 8 days since I lost my earthily father Godwin Chukwuma Ogbuokiri . It feels like it had been a time warp characterizing both the longest and the shortest time period in my life.

Carving my Dad’s name into the rocks during our family hike through the Narrows at Zion National Park this weekend ♥️

The truth is most days I still cry from missing my Dad. I have since returned to practicing child and adult psychiatry, and ofcourse my job is centered on improving others’ mental wellbeing.

There are days my passion to help others fortifies me in those moments that I sit across from my ailing patients.

Then there days that I find others’ sadness and loss impacting mine – like hitting a healing scab and causing it to hurt perhaps even causing it to bleed all over again.

The truth is it’s not just in my practice that I am reminded of my loss , it ‘s literally everywhere!

Something happy happens and I immediately think “ oh I can’t wait to call and tell Dad”.

With GrandBaby♥️
Wearing the Chosen “People Must Know” sweatshirt ♥️
Wearing the Chosen “ People Must Know” sweatshirt ♥️

I get a condolence call from a less than familiar family friend , then I wish I could call my Dad to give me more context on that relationship, who’s that “ uncle “ again? Where do they live etc etc.

I am not sure whether these moments of longing to have conversations with my Dad will diminish with time or not , I just know that they take me by surprise and shock me right back into my reality- the one where I have lost my precious Dad to the ages💔

There have been comforting moments too , these moments that I am choosing to call “GOD (WIN) moments”.

These bring a loving thought , or a humorous memory to mind that automatically spreads a smile across my lips.

In those moments , not only am I reminded that he lived and loved us fully, but that his spirit is now with God and guiding us forevermore.

Some of these GOD(WIN) moments may feel like mere coincidences, however because I believe in the communion of saints – I know better.

Interestingly, whenever I experience a GOD(WIN) moment , I try to stamp it in reality by taking a picture, or having a conversation about it in real time with those around me. This helps me acknowledge what I am experiencing in real time and give it some level of validation.

You may be wondering what exactly are some of these GOD(WIN) moments? Well I will share a few…

The first time I had a real assurance that my Dad crossed over to paradise , occurred the morning after his death. DH * and I had changed our original travel plans and instead made a trip on that fateful Thursday to New Orleans- part of our plan to spend our wedding anniversary with my parents .

DH * made reservations at a hotel with a balcony in the New Orleans French quarters , which meant music poured out of the streets. At first our arrival into this business as usual part of town felt awkward… I had just lost my most precious father and life seemed to be moving on, as if the strangers on bourbon street were so clueless to my biggest loss.

We arrived back to our hotel after visiting my mother and siblings at the extended stay place where my Dad spent his last 10 days post discharge recovering , or at least so we thought, until he went for a routine PCP visit , had to be called back frantically to return to the ER for a ridiculously elevated white count, ended up in the ER, finally gets admitted, only to aspirate , get transferred to the ICU where he continued the fight for his life for almost 6 hrs before he gave up his spirit at around 9:15 am on 9.15.22.

If there ever was a good day to die , I suppose this might be it.

That day also happened to be the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows day. Significant for the Catholic feast day celebrating when Mary received the body of her son Jesus from the cross.

I just wasn’t quite ready to loose my wonderful father. However I was grateful that our Lady will also bring home my Dad to heaven on her feast day🙏🏾.

Recently discovering my very first statue of Our Lady of Sorrows in my bag MONTHS after I purchased it while on last summer’s vacation.

Dad didn’t wait for DH * and I to get to New Orleans.

Anyways, as DH * and I tried to settle in that first night on New Orleans , I heard a knock on the door . I exhaustedly wondered who could be knocking this late at night.?

Too tired to bother, I fell asleep exhausted in my day clothes ( a very unusual thing for me to sleep in my day clothes)

The music outside the balcony had eventually stopped close to midnight and did not start up again until the next morning.

As I peered my eyes open to the world and the new day, my thoughts wondered which reality I was waking up into, the one where I still had my lovely Dad or the one where I was now fatherless? 💔

Just on cue, one of my favorite songs came on loud over the street speakers. The song is called “ what’s up ? , by 4 non blonds”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6NXnxTNIWkc

Still laying on that bed , I began to tear up again.

Then there was this feeling of nostalgia – reminding me of my childhood days in my patriarchal home in Aba- Nigeria where I grew up on Hospital Road .

In that house, situated in a busy African street, early morning vendors greeted the new day with their loud music, as they opened their stores with songs like “ Good morning Jesus, good morning Lord”🎤

I immediately had this feeling that my Dad’s spirit was sending me reminders of my childhood days.

I cried some more.

Still laying in bed in my pool of tears , I Immediately began telling my DH * about this nostalgic feeling about my Aba home.

As I spoke , I saw DH have a puzzled look on his face , and asked me if I heard a knock on the door, before I could answer he opens the hotel door , looks up and down both hallways- no one!

Hmm”, he exclaims and returns to sit next to me in bed.

Then as if on cue again , one of the all time love songs Celine Dion’s “ My heart will go on” from the Titanic begins to blare over those street speakers – near and far where you are , I believe that the heart does go on…🎤DH and I look at each other and in that instant it was clear , these specifically chosen songs were not just coincidental , Dad was giving us a message!

That song was very dear to my DH *for an entirely different reason …

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3gK_2XdjOdY

I knew in that instant that my “ rascal Angel Dad“ just made it into heaven!!! He likely just rejoiced with Saint Peter who opened the gates of heaven to him, met up with his favorite saint St Rita , and his music loving self just found out where Heaven’s radio station was and was already requesting specific broadcasts for us to give us comfort, reassurance and yes a healthy dose of missing you tears.

Those early morning tears were cleansing. For me, they were a reminder of the communion of saints, a corridor open to believers, reassuring us that our blessed loved ones can still love on us from beyond this life.

There has been numerous other GOD(WIN)

Incidentally, my sister and her husband also had a lovely message sent to them once they landed in New Orleans on that same day that our Dad crossed into eternity.

Coincidentally found my Dad’s hat in our ole mini van on the way to the airport to go hike the narrows this weekend

Wearing Dad’s “EST 1939” hat in his honor

Theirs was in the form of an evangelical Uber driver who provided them support on their ride from the airport .

That evening , they told us the story of the stranger who not only was their Uber driver but also a gospel musician , complete with a record deal signed by an even more famous gospel musician , who coincidentally plays concerts in Nigeria of ALL places , oh and by the way lives an hour away from New Orleans but just enjoys driving Uber in Nawlins in order to meet people…. Coincidence ? Or a GOD(WIN) moment? …. You get to decide!

I am choosing to keep my spirit enlightened by the HOLY SPIRIT to receive ALL that God is sending my way these days , especially in my time of grief and sorrow .

My brother’s revolving picture coincidentally stuck on this pic of Dad for most of the morning one day 🙏🏾♥️

This weekend we were led to leave the hustle behind and hike almost 20 miles with our children through the Canyons of the Narrows at Zion National Park.

My legs may be exhausted but my spirit of adventure and tenacity is refueled!

DH and I hiking the narrows a second time , this time with our Four Loves💕

God knows what my soul needs and I am grateful he is feeding my soul to bring me healing and strength 🙏🏾

On this trip , we also got to see the Michael Jackson ONE show as a reward after our long hike !

Seeing Michael Jackson One Show in Vegas♥️
Seeing Michael Jackson One Show in Vegas

Finally, there was also one more special coincidence this weekend that allowed for an unexpected reunion with dear friends from my high school , who happened to be in Las Vegas this weekend and seeing and hugging them brought my heart JOY.

I grew up in Aba with this dear friend💕
Meeting our Nigerian/Canadian friends
Hiking and camping at the narrows with my loves 💕
Hiking and camping the Narrows with my loves

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences .

Click on the “follow” icon, so you can get notifications on future blog posts via email and not miss out !💕

*DH ( darling husband)

Hiking the Narrows – fall break 2022

Our Fallen Iroko Tree…

Chief’s Mona Lisa

I am writing through my tears.

I am writing again through courage

I am writing through my deepest grief … I have lost my father of 83yrs to the ages💔.

God called him home on the feast of our Lady of Sorrows ( the day the Catholic Church celebrates Jesus mother Mary receiving the body of her son from the cross)

I have lost the one whose existence added sauce to my life . Now the world seemed more bland without him.

Dad absolutely giddy at receiving this gift of a T-shirt on his 80th birthday ♥️

DH*and I landed in New Orleans airport on that day that he was called home to God. Even the air seemed to stale and lack spice. It was like being given food without any salt.

Typically, our landing at Louis Armstrong Airport is filled with the anticipation for a wonderful family reunion , with my Dad at the center of all the excitements.

My Dad knew how to take his job as a great fun father and grandfather seriously.

Dallas Texas

We called him “Chief” and he was regal in so many ways even though he was also the most humble human I ever met…

Our family trips to New Orleans were filled with Chief planning this or that, all in an effort to ensure that WE all had the very best times! They were organized bus tours , just because- with his clinic staff as our make shift bus driver lol, nighttime boat cruise on the Mississippi River with all his grandchildren, catered local Cajun cuisine at thanksgiving, tourist tours to visit the alligators in the swamps of New Orleans, big fun parties thrown in their home just to welcome their first grandchild, or parties just in celebration of his family coming home.

Every visit to New Orleans was memorable and filled with JOY! .

New Orleans with grandchildren
Dallas with grandchildren
Washington DC with family
Touring Washington DC with grandchildren
Breakfast in Eziachi Nigeria with grandkids
50th wedding anniversary/80th birthday party celebration in New Orleans
South Africa visit with grandchildren
Capetown South Africa with grandchildren
Twins’ First holy communion St. Louis

Memorial Day vacation with family, Florida may 2022
Visiting him at Downman Urgent Care Clinic- a place he absolutely loved and gave his life’s work as a physician
Owerri with grandkids
With his beloved sons in-law

My Dad was truly the bagpiper , always finding tunes to bring us Joy and we , his children and grandchildren enjoyed dancing to the tunes of the pure joy he brought us.

My Dad seemed to have life’s manual in hand- and he lived to the fullest! My mother now reminisces on how it was not unusual that they are the last ones on any dance floor. I always loved how easy going my father was, he fit nicely into ANY room, and always had the right words and mannerisms at ANY time. If there was a cramped car during our full family gatherings, he would volunteer to be the adult sitting in the back of the minivan with the kids, just so everyone can fit for the ride to church or wherever.

Chief was adventurous and carpe diem*ed) the heck outta life .

Dad and I , New Orleans
Dancing completions you daughter Ginika

At 19 yrs old, he left the comfort and familiarity of his homeland in Nigeria, to land on the American shores after he had been awarded a scholarship geared to attract brilliant African minds to the USA in the 1960s.

He embraced his new land and thrived, becoming a surgeon, marrying his bride from his homeland, becoming a father and grandfather , a cultured man, a philanthropist, an author , a man of God and friend to so many.

Dallas 2021

Now, I find myself waking up each morning to the reality that he is no longer with us in the physical form. The pain is so real in numerous moments of the day, when I reach for my phone to make a call to tell him of this experience or the next, only to be reminded of the rude reality that he is gone.

Mexico with grandchildren

Even if he lived another 100 yrs it will not feel like enough, because he embodied so much Love. However, I also know that he was only a gift from God and has returned to the giver of life. Indeed we are all on borrowed time.

A reminder to make the most of our lives on earth.

The condolences keeps pouring in and I often find myself consoling tears on the other phone line.

So many stories of people whose lives he touched, as a physician, an Uncle, a mentor, a friend etc etc.

Celebrating a surprise birthday gathering for him at his clinic
Mardi Gras New Orleans

Now there are the moments that I now choose to call “God-Win” moments where I am convinced of his reunion with the communion of saints and smiling down on me. I am so grateful that I have so many wonderful “ make you smile” memories of my father. Those are my gifts to hold on to now and I hope to keep these always.

I see him in the legacy of his family , his children and grandchildren. He hasn’t left us completely, because his spirit and legacy are alive in us.

The other day, I had a God win moment as I dropped off one of my twins to football practice ( DH dropped the other twin as we always divide and conquer with this parenting gig)…

Anyways as I watched one of our twin walk away from the car in his football gear looking so grown up , hair flowing and handsome, this thought came to my mind and literally spoke out loud to myself – “Well Dad , there goes YOUR legacy “and that was comforting.

Thanksgiving New Orleans
Mexico

The reality is that OUR big Iroko tree who was our healthy , never sick , never demanding has indeed fallen, and all the cover and protection is lifted and we , his mourners are feeling the lack of shade and comfort that this giant of a man provided us all.

We must now try and readjust to our new reality without his strong protection , along with the wonderful qualities that his life added to give our life more sauce, making life so much more sweeter.

Thankfully I am consoled with the belief and reminder that he is now in the communion of saints and will keep his love and care on us now from heaven – for all eternity.

Even in death he keeps blessing us 🙏🏾♥️

Capetown South Africa

Joining the club of those who have lost a parent is such a hard club to be belong to now. Especially when you had an amazing father like I have had all my life . I am now choosing to mourn him while remembering to honor his legacy in those that I have left .

Pastor TD Jakes talks about “ strengthening what remains”even in losses. I am choosing to do just that one day at a time . My tears will flow and at times stain my face, but I will choose to love all that remains , in the example that my father has given me throughout his life .

In my Igbo custom, I was the reincarnation of my father’s mother and so he called me his “ Mama Janet”. A term that has always been endearing and also allowed me space to share so much humor with him, as I would in our later years teasingly call him “ Odi ishi okpukpu” like his sisters nicknamed him.

Dog lover all his life
Florida with grandchildren
Rollercoaster with grandson at almost 80yrs!
Hanging out with Chief St Louis

I am so grateful that we really shared So much laughter and fun together. Chief inspired so many and in his presence, he had a way of making you feel seen, like YOU mattered.

Thank you Dad for always SEEING me I will forever be grateful for your love ❤️

Poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran says, “To live in the hearts of others is not to die”.

Rest in God Chief Omenka, my dearest father🙏🏾♥️

New Orleans La
Lagos , Nigeria
APA conference with his best friend/brother in Law, Atlanta Georgia.
Our wedding 2005
My father daughter dance at our wedding
Seregenti, Tanzania
With his son, Nigeria.
Buffalo, New York
Tree house, St Louis
St Louis MO
Enjoying simple things in life like this ice cream cone on the beaches of Anna Maria island
Adieu Chief Omenka🙏🏾♥️

(*DH =Darling husband)

(*carpe diem is Latin for seize the day )