She Always Will Be

Tomi Olugbemi on Loss

Dying does not hurt the dead but I fear it is different for Mummy. I often worry that she may be grieving too, floating about in some existential plane and mourning the absence of her husband and children. I chew on the meaning of rest in peace. Is it mere banality or is death a form of rest? Perhaps it affirms the belief that eternal bliss follows dying.

I was angry that barely two weeks after the funeral; a guest minister at church preached on God’s healing power. I was angry that many people believed her death to be God’s will: that He knew best, and Mummy’s time had come. I scolded myself for not coming home months before she passed and for believing that she was on a path to recovery. When Faith Evans voice came on the radio, three days after Mummy died, singing: every single day, every time I pray, I’ll be missing you; I closed my eyes, tightened my jaw, and wept on the inside, instead of telling the taxi driver to change the channel.

In Mummy’s death, I lost the only person whose personality traits perfectly mirrored mine. I took after her in the way she swallowed her pain to soothe others and in how she folded into herself and feigned wellness even when sickness or depression ate from her vitality. We loved alike, silently but on full throttle, often walking the lines between worrying about a person and loving them intensely. We remained quiet in the midst of strangers but could be extremely goofy around familiar faces.

Grief is not as persistent as it used to be; my life continues and I have to concentrate on things besides carrying the weight of sadness. These days, grief visits in spurts, like a houseguest rather than a tenant, revealing itself as sudden re-realisations of loss when I place my mother before things: Mummy’s key. Mummy’s car. Mummy’s dresser. Mummy’s cancer foundation or while watching a mother die in a film and remembering that mine died too. Grief is the sadness in Daddy’s eyes masked with a smile when he abruptly interjects her name, Funke, while telling an anecdote about her. It showed on my brother, Dami’s, distraught countenance as we shot his graduation photos sans Mummy. And my other brother, Tofa’s wishful thinking on Twitter that heaven had visiting hours.

Like all the tragedies that have befallen me, I do not know that full recovery is sure. I do believe however, that in time, we adapt to regain normalcy by holding on to the love of, and for the departed; and conjuring their pith by drawing from past events. Thus, memories become more profound, more precious, like little vials of moonlight set aside for the days when the dark feels too present. Because even though they are dead, they breathe in reminiscence.

In losing Mummy, I am reminded of love’s eternal pursuit, its limitlessness, and how it travels beyond the boundaries of physical contact. That not even death can quell its power.  I have learned to still love what is no more. I have learned that loving another person is a life-long endeavour and that loss is not the end.

I hope that like Mary Elizabeth Frye, in her poem, Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mummy is wearing a glinting smile, saying: do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die. Although she no longer is, she always will be. Rest in peace, Mummy.

© Tomi Olugbemi 2017

Tomi Olugbemi is a poet. He spends his free time fretting about words and recovering from pessimism. He blogs at


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©Timi Yeseibo 2017

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29 thoughts on “She Always Will Be

  1. Oh dear Timi, I am so so sorry for your loss. I now, unfortunately a month ago today, understand too well what it means to lose a parent. My thoughts and care are with you xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mina for reaching out with your kind words. This story is a guest post written by Tomi Olugbemi. His mum passed. I am so sorry for your loss; sending you hugs. In the weeks and months ahead may memories bring you smiles instead of tears.


  2. Touching post. Which reflects my own sadness at loosing my Dad a few years back but then I think.. That doesn’t sound right. I didn’t loose him. He is always with me. He is in my blog posts, and my Instagram pics, He is in my cooking and my warm cup of tea with a sweet treat accompaniment. He is in the music, and the podcast and the sermon. Thank you for the reminder. Lovely post. Blessings to you!


  3. Tomi, perhaps this is the third day I’m returning to read this, and I still can’t find the right words. But then again, there are no right words. I should know.

    I wrote about losing my father recently, so you can understand why your words resonate with me, especially these…

    Thus, memories become more profound, more precious, like little vials of moonlight set aside for the days when the dark feels too present.”

    My big sis was telling me just the other day about being terrified that in ten years, she may not remember what Dad looked like without a picture. That makes me want to carve certain memories into my brain permanently.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Tomi. I hope you’ve found a saving grace, something to help you cope with your loss? Mine is my father’s laughter.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read about and sorry for your loss as well, and like you, there were no right words. Please etch the moment with your dad to eternal memory and write them somewhere if you must.

      I’m especially glad that you found your saving grace in his laughter, that the expression of his joy still brings you peace. What a beautiful thing that is.

      Thank you, Christina. You made me think of my mother’s laugh today. I’m praying matchless joy for you and yours through all of this. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tomi, as expected, you hypnotise a fan with your excellent writing. This is beautiful. Your piece strikes at my heart not only because it tells a sober yet tender story of loss, but because I understand the indescribable way a son can love his mother.

    Bless your soul for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “In losing Mummy, I am reminded of love’s eternal pursuit, its limitlessness, and how it travels beyond the boundaries of physical contact.” How beautiful. I’m sorry for your loss though.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So much truth and heartbreak in this. Thank you for your courage in sharing. I was so touched about your personality matching your mother’s so closely. What a gift! But how great your feeling of loss must be.. I have to admit I’ve really only had one person that seemed like a twin, a dear friend of 67 years. We haven’t lived near one another for the last 61 years, but we have maintained our friendship and even strengthened it now through the internet. My mom and I were so different that we often unintentionally hurt one another. Shortly after she died, I was having a cup off coffee out of a pretty china cup that she loved and thinking about her and wishing I could have some how connected with her better. Suddenly, I simply felt her presence and a light touch on my shoulder. And somehow I knew that she understood me now and I felt closer to her then than I ever had. It was very healing. Wishing you enough healing to recapture the joy of your relationship with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely love that you experienced your mothers presence after her death and the healing that followed. I wonder how long you kept the coffee china.

      A long-distance friendship of over 61 years? That’s no small feat, Eileen.

      Thank you for the well-wishes, Eileen. Wishing you many more joyous offline and over-the-internet moments with your twin-friend :).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I struggled with this one because it came too close to home. My father passed on ten years ago and the loss is still fresh. All references to to mom scares me even more because she is still alive (Thank God).

    But, all said and done… I feel you 👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Alexandra, thank you for reading and I’m sorry about the freshness of your father’s passing. Maybe it means your love for him remains as strong as ever, and that is a good thing.

      Give mom an unexpected peck and embrace her till your worry fades. Blessings to you and yours 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. What do we know about pain?

    That it hits so hard like that wild rain?

    And yet interludes with some sane?

    After leaving us in all this drain?

    Oh what the hell is this pain?

    Does it have to cause so much strain?

    When we already are so restrained?

    Why can’t we just retain our cool?

    Some profane often wonder?

    We may not wish them that terrain

    Even if the rides were free on the train

    Pain chains the brain

    Its pang maim over again

    Can no amount of sugar cane

    Ease that pain?

    I think something can

    It may be an idea so plain

    But it is worth the pain

    to reach out, to lash out

    And someday …

    “Sharing a poem I wrote to grieve my only brother’s passing on – Tomi I don’t know what else to say)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Dear it is easing and morphing and showing up occasionally and keeping me aware of my own inevitable passage too. It’s been 3 years; I guess it can’t compare with losing a mother but I thought my poem could transfer my ashia in deeper way – from someone who’s known deep grief a few times

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah. A mother-son relationship can be really deep. I guess that’s why Oedipus complex came to be. I cannot describe in words the love I have for my mom. And I have a few male friends who I believe have such a strong connection with their mom.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. With each breath, our hearts echo the love, light, and laughter of those we have “lost.” Our retained memories sustain us and keep our loved ones alive.

    While we live . . . they live.

    Liked by 2 people

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