Nothing prepared me for the deeply personal essay written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was published in The New Yorker on the 10th of September, 2020 and I remember taking breaks to stop myself from breaking down. Reading it felt like she wrote for my past and future griefs. I understand completely the adoration one has for a father who has always been present. And so it does not matter at what age a loved one dies because like she said; at issue is not how old he was but how loved.
Today is Chimamanda’s 43rd Birthday and when I think about her, it is often with a big smile on my face and a heart filled with gratitude. In Notes On Grief she writes;
…Often I hailed him by his title “Odelu-Ora Abba,” whose literal translation is “One Who Writes for Our Community.” And he would hail me, too, and his hailing me was a love-drenched litany of affirmation. “Ome ife ukwu” was the most common. (“The One Who Does Great Things.”) I find the others difficult to translate: “nwoke neli” is roughly “the equivalent of many men,” and “ogbata ogu ebie” is “the one whose arrival ends the battle.” Is he the reason I have never been afraid of the disapproval of men? I think so…
So here is to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ome ife ukwu, Nwoke neli, Ogbata Ogu Ebie…May your days be long, May your ink never run dry and May you always be surrounded by love and with love. Happy Birthday!
Click Here to read the full essay!
Featured Image by Lossapardo – A French painter, musician and animator whose paintings convey a quiet but strong emotion. The Paris-based artist combines music and art to create animations that tell a melancholic story of human sensitivity.