The event leading to the sudden and shocking demise of my beloved wife, was as prosaic as any other. It was just another day or so it seemed. Another culmination of innumerable episodes, where her selfless, unwavering love and constant care shone through the night before. Acts that would make any man quickly remind himself of how lucky he is. Alas! That esurient guest, death!!! Struck.
The 29th day of March, 2022 is not a day to be forgotten in a hurry. It is the saddest day of my life. On this day, I lost a woman who meant everything to me. My beloved wife, Rahmatu Hassan Ahmed Akanbi otherwise known as Uwa by close family members and friends, and HAR by professional colleagues.
In over a decade of marriage, our home was our haven; It was as the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo had described it :“A place of happiness, of imperturbable seclusion from the buffeting of life”. The common denominator need not be searched for: it was a good wife. Indeed like H.I.D like HAR.
Through the unending vicissitude of each day of those years, through the changing scenes and seasons, her love for me was unconditional as it was changeless and constant as a northern star.
It is difficult to say who her demise hit the most: my humble self, the children, the family members, friends or colleagues at work. Her sudden demise has no doubt left a gaping hole in the hearts of all those close to her. As I was constantly reminded, the loss is not mine alone.
She was not just a wife, but my best friend and a good mother. She was the Zinariyan Nasarawa, “Zinariya” means “Gold”. My wife had a heart of Gold. She effectively played the role of friend, a confidant, a role model and a mother. She practically directed my affairs and that of the family. She was my Chief of Staff. Rahmatu was my Jewel of inestimable value.
The pains caused by her death, can only be best imagined. It can never be described in words. Aptly put by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the poem “A Psalm Life” “Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind us footprint on the sands of time”.
My darling wife has no doubt left indelible prints on the sands of time. While her physical death robbed the kids and I the opportunity of seeing her again, Death did not rob us of her eternal love. In my grief, my tears give testimony to the love I have for her. Our love was our bond, and death could not break it.
The grief and pain is unbearable for everyone of us, she left behind. More so, her sudden death further confirms the brevity of life. Now I know better, that life should not be taken for granted. Like Perseus answered boldly in the Heroes: “Better to die in the flower of youth, on the chance of winning a noble name, than to live at ease like the sheep and die unloved and unrenowned”.
Her humility, affableness, kindness, compassion and hospitable nature, certainly endeared her to many. The Bar and Bench honored her, by paying their respect to the family. The Legal profession lost one of its own. She was a rare gem and a silent achiever. From the testimonies around, I was once again proud to be her husband. All the Heads of Court in the Federal Judiciary and the Heads of the various agencies under the Judiciary, without any exception, had good testimonies of her. Friends, colleagues and family members kept giving good testimonies; I thank Almighty Allah once again that our path crossed.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, her direct boss, Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed, spoke glowingly about her when he visited the family. In his words, “Rahmatu is one person nobody has ever come to report to me or said anything untowards about”.
The President of the Court Of Appeal Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem had good words for her. Her Lordship, gave all the needed support to the family. In fact, she stepped into the shoes of a worthy mother.
In the words of Hon. Justice B. B. Kanyip, the President of the National Industrial Court, he had these fine words to describe my beloved wife. “Late Rahmatu was known in her lifetime as a loving, caring, industrious, tolerant, compassionate, devout wife and mother. She was an epitome of humility and love. The late Rahmatu Hassan was a selfless, honourable, affable and good-natured woman”.
The President of the Bar Mr. Olumide Akpata, when he joined the family to break the Ramadan fast said her brief sojourn to the world was quite impactful.
My wife was a deeply religious, pious and decent woman. She woke up at 3am everyday to pray for the family. She dedicated her life to fasting and praying so that we could all enjoy a better life in this world and hereafter. Her closeness to God was amazing.
But no more would I see the kids running to greet her return, no more would she reciprocate with tight hugs and warm embraces. Her intimate knowledge of their preferences, tendencies and quirks never ceased to amaze me. Being a chip of the old block herself, she was a stickler for values and etiquette and was never tired of impacting same on the kids. She was a dutiful wife and a caring mother.
Kith and kin were always welcomed to our home. She always preached the doing of good and liberality to kith and kin. She took delight in having family members around and hosting them.
Rahmatu was everything I wanted in a wife. I remember one of the last messages she sent to me on our wedding anniversary, 26 days before her demise and I quote, “I feel lucky to have you in my life, if I’m asked to choose my partner in the next life, I’ll still choose you. I’m proud of you and I love you with all my heart”.
Little did I know that the next life was near!!! Now all I pray for is Allah to grant me the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. I will continue to hold dearly to the message and the good memories we shared.
Even though, I have always heard the expression “Fortitude to bear a loss” several times, I can honestly say that, it takes grief for one to truly grasp the essence of that prayer and more than anything now, I need such fortitude.
I am really going to miss her; these are trying moments for me and the family at large. I know life can never be the same without her.
I however take solace in Surah Al Baqara 155-157 where Allah says:
“We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger and loss of property, lives and crops. But (Prophet), gives good news to those who are steadfast, those who say, when afflicted with a calamity we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. Those people will be given blessings and mercy from the Lord, and it’s they who are rightly guided”.
The verse, reminds us that being a believer does not mean that we will never be tested or faced with difficulty. I pray I and others pass the test. We will all continue to beseech Allah not to place on us a burden that is beyond us.
I pray we all are reunited in Jannah with those whom we love. Till then, may the Almighty widen her grave, ease her from its trials and grant her Jannatul-Firdaus. Amin!!!
By Kabir Akanbi, Husband.