I experienced my very first major loss in 1994 with the loss of my immediate younger brother, Solomon Oloruntobi Aguda. I was 18 years old. Never had i experienced such anguish and pain prior to the loss of my brother, childhood buddy and best friend,
Then came my next most painful loss of my first daughter Valerie Fiyinfoluwa Aguda in 2008 just 3 months after her birth. Her demise was heart wrenching but God was faithful in comforting myself and my wife.
So here we are 26 years after the loss of my brother, my first major loss. I am faced unbelievable demise of my mother, Ruth Abiodun Aguda, my encourager, adviser , nurturer and above all my corner stone. I am broken beyond words but i will be fine. I have come to terms with this irreplaceable loss but at this cross road i have to be strong for my dad and younger siblings.
My mother was different things to different people but above all my mother was a mother of many beyond us her biological children. She was an amazing mother and wife to my dad.
I thank God for her life and I celebrate lover of God, a true Christian soldier who finished strong despite the painful and traumatic last moments. She always prepared myself and siblings for this day.
I am grateful for the rare privilege of being her son and the 44 years of nurturing, friendship and fellowship that we shared together.
I appreciate all the outpour of love and support. We are indeed grateful and appreciate you all. We know that Ruth Abiodun Aguda is now in a better place and above all thanking God she finished strong in the Lord.
In the last 2 weeks I found a rare therapeutic healing process in dealing with the passing of my beloved mother. And that is the daring and bold process of personally designing all the creative assets for her obituary and funeral.
Honestly it hasn’t been an easy task, but I know and believe it is one of my only available options that will make it easier for me to come to terms with this new reality.
I am not new to handling design briefs for obituaries of close family members. In 2008, i handled my very first close family member brief. That of my maternal grand father. In 2013, i handled the design brief of my late Aunt, Rachel Akinyemi, my father’s immediate younger sister that passed on in America too.
2016 was my third time handing that of my Mother in law, which was closely followed by that of my maternal grand mother in 2018. Here we are in 2021, i am personally working on the creatives for my mother’s own funeral.
Some how i feel handling all these other close family member funeral creatives was ultimately preparing me for this great task that I have decided to carry.
It feels so surreal but refreshing knowing that she would be proud to know that i personally would be bold enough to handle such an emotional brief such as hers myself knowing how close we were.
I am documenting all these thoughts for posterity sake so that i can show my own kids and hopefully grandchildren what family is all about and to remind them about the awesomeness of their late grand mother.
My mother became an author in 1993, even though it was a children’s activity book. We had several deep conversations about publishing and authoring books.
We are a deeply literary family, our personal home library here in Nigeria and the US is quite intimidating to be honest.
My mother wanted me to utilize my writing skill, she confessed that I write in a compelling way and I should have authored a book or 2 by now, this conversation was around 2011, now a decade ago.
I jokingly told her the hustle didn’t give me the opportunity to settle down to complete my writing projects. Honestly I am still shattered that she didn’t live to read my authored book.
But on a cheering note, my first book is a collection of my memoires about her and the tributes that I have humbly asked those close to her to post on her tribute page.
Now I hold on to her memories but want to perfectly capture and document it in a published paper back that celebrates the live of a woman that touched and impacted lives of not just her family and friends but those that crossed paths with her.
A tribute to the woman who stole my dad’s heart about 50 years ago.
My mother was not just my father’s wife, she was his girlfriend, better half, gossip partner, confidant , tag along , business associate and above all his everything.
The tagline “Mike and Ruth” was a popular phrase i heard a lot growing up as a child anytime my parents where in party or social event that involved our White American family friends in America in the 80s. The origin of this tag line stemmed from the fact that Mike and Ruth were always together, So you hardly could see them apart, So or white friends jokingly referred to them as a tag team name Mike and Ruth similar to the notorious Boonie and Clyde.
My father was everything to my mother and vice versa with my dad, when we were much younger my dad shared his love story time lines with myself and my siblings. Being the oldest and the most eccentric I paid close attention to every story my dad shared remember the most profound and icon points.
My mother usually listened to the stories my dad shared with us to ensure his recount of their love story was accurate, she usually giggled from the kitchen when ever she noted some sugar coated narrations. The summary of these love memoirs were captured in my fathers diaries he kept in the late 60s and most of the 70s.
It is not a secret over the years by relationship with my dad wasn’t amazing as it was during my childhood. We shared more of a tough love relationship in the last decade and rarely spoke or chat except we needed each others help.
Things changed and improved when my dad spent most part of 2018 in Nigeria and we were exploring his digital school bell business opportunity. Once he returned back to the US, we resumed our distant behavior to each other, my mother wasn’t happy with this development.
So devised a plan that i will forever cherish her for, since we spoke regularly on long extensive call, she made sure all her calls were on speaker and my dad was right beside her during our calls, honestly i never knew that she put our calls on speaker at her end.
So while have our regular pep talk over the phone , i asked after my dad and behold i heard him answer, “I am doing great, young man. I thought you wouldnt ask after me” I was shocked, so this phone had always been on speaker and i never knew.
I quickly got the message my mother was passing, during her final days i saw my dad in a totally different light, a man whose better half was in pain and equally in pain because he could helplessly do nothing apart from pray that this dark cloud passes over us.
I thank God for my father’s amazing faith and strength, he had 2 weeks prior to my mom’s passing prepared me for this moment that would require extreme divine strength. Now family bonds are being restored and we chat and converse like 2 buddies that decided to let go of each others grudge.
To say it has been easy would be an outright lie, We thank God for Life and are grateful that we both were privileged to have such kind spirited woman in the person of my mother cross our paths.
My father didn’t just lose a wife, he lost a best friend, companion, confidant and bedrock. But like we hold on to faith, it is well and we know she is in a better place now.
Son I’ve just sent you a $1000 to support you and your team make it to DEMO Africa…..
September , 2013.
So in 2013, one of my early innovations got nominated among 30 technology startups in Africa, and 4 from Nigeria to pitch our solution at the prestigious DEMO Africa conference in Nairobi, Kenya in mid October of that year.
But we had a major problem and that was funding. I had to find away to raise logistics , hotel, feeding and hands on cash to get my then 3 man team to Nairobi , Kenya. My mom was second person I had broken the news to about our nomination and eventual selection for Demo Africa that year
She noticed how exhausted and broken I was getting in my tone during our phone conversations whenever we discussed how little support I had gotten. I was trying to pull off the unimaginable, trying to get the Federal Government ministry of Science and Technology then headed by the amazing Auntie Omobola Johnson as Minister to sponsor the trips all the 4 teams that got nominated.
So to cut the long story short, my mom melted my heart with a phone call informing me that she had wired $1000 to me via Western Union to support me and my team and assured me not to worry that divine help will certainly come.
And of a truth, divine help did come. So remember I told you guys I was planning the unimaginable trying to get the FG to sponsor our trip through the minister of Science and Technology. Oh well, after a tedious and grueling back and forth email correspondence with the ministry of science and tech , via the SA to the Minister, Egbon Bunni .
God turned up and we got a 5,000 dollar support for our team as well as 2 other teams representing Nigeria at DEMO Africa. This had to be the hand of God but not forgetting the advisory and encouragement role my mother played
When I talk about her being my best friend coming from an innovation perspective, I hope you get a clearer picture of how awesome she was. I celebrate not just a mother, but a woman of positive impact in the lives of those that she had the opportunity of crossing paths with.
This is why I’m praying for the grace and passion to make the Finishing Strong project a lasting legacy in her memory. Innovations won’t stop with her passing, in fact it just entered beast mode.
Rest on Mom
Ruth Abiodun Aguda