ATUNBI (Rebirth) by Jenita Jatau Jonah

The excitement on Mr Bakere and his heavily pregnant wife Mrs Bakere faces as they witnessed the graduation of their only son Jide Bakere from high school was really overwhelming and got the attention of those who sat close to them. They were not only excited because he was graduating from high school but also as the best among the rest of his colleagues. Jide was awarded not only as the best student in six subjects out the whole nine science subjects he took from SS1 to SS3, but also as the most outstanding both in learning, character and discipline. His mother who was sitting close to her husband couldn’t hold back her tears as she watched her son been treated like a king from both students and school managements.

The tears came as the result of all that has happened to her before and after giving birth to her son. She could remember spending 8years in marriage without having a child, the trauma she went through has she saw other women whom she got married before became mothers of two to three children and her still struggling and hoping for just one.

The tears began to fall down harshly on her face when she remembered how she felt when she found out she was pregnant, the peace the news brought to her soul, husband and marriage. Even when he was born, his parents had searched for the best name to name their son and all they could come up with was the name that described their joy and a name that explained how God manifested in their life when all hope were lost. They came up with a beautiful and suiting Yoruba name “JIDE” which means “Gift of God”. Even though they discovered that Jide was asthmatic, they were still optimistic that everything will turn out well for them and their baby boy. They always encourage him to always look at the good in all bad situations and remember that he will fulfill his purpose on earth. These words of his parents kept him moving even to the end of his days in high school

Things became surprisingly awesome for the Bakere’s when Mrs Bakere found out she was pregnant nearly nine months ago after losing all hope of getting pregnant again and that probably Jide was going to be their only fertile seed from God.

“Mum, mum” Jide called out loudly to his mother who was already lost in thoughts

“Yes baby what is it?” She asked while smiling helplessly at him

“Are you okay mum?” Jide asked while standing beside his proud father who seems to understand his wife situation.

“Yes love mummy has never been better” She said smiling but with tears dropping from her eyes.

After taking few seconds to study his mother mood to know if she was truly okay or not, Jide told her that she was next to deliver her speech after Mr Amadi who was also the father of Jide best friend Kelechi and also part of the graduating students. After Mr Amadi short but inspiring speech, Jide mum was called to deliver her speech. As she moved to the stage smartly but slowly due to her pregnancy, she noticed the smile on everyone face and how joyously they were clapping, at that moment, she felt like the mother of the president, she couldn’t have been any prouder of the gift God gave her as a son.

As she delivered her speech, the whole place became as quiet as a grave yard, everyone listening with keen interest to what the mother of the best student was saying. Mrs Bakere left no word unsaid. Her speech which moved both the students and management to tears was recorded as the best speech a parent has given since the building of that school(Demonstration Model Secondary School). After the graduation ceremony, Mr and Mrs Bakere got ready to leave on time so that the celebration of their son special day will continue at home, but Jide and his colleagues had other plans of celebrating their graduation, since they probably may never see each other again, they decided to have an after school graduation party in a park few blocks away from the school.

At first when he told his parents they were reluctant to let him go considering his condition and the possible dangers he might encounter, but since he was going with friends, they decided to heed to his words and let him go have fun with his friends and with the condition that his father will come back and pick him up by 6pm which he agreed to, with so much joy in his eyes he kissed his mum on the chicks, hugged his father, told them he loves them then like the speed of light he ran to his colleagues while his parents drove off to the house still amazed if truly those words came from their son who has always been shy of saying those words to them especially in public.

Everything was set for Jide graduation ceremony, it was also graced with friends and families who were eagerly waiting for the graduate to come so the party will begin. His favorite dishes were prepared, this according to his mother was the day he will never forget. Though the celebration was planned in a low key, Mrs Bakere had other plans of having a big and loud party for her son during his birthday which happens to be in the following weekend.

It was already 6pm and Mr Bakere got ready to go pick his son from the park. He put on his favorite evening dress “brown short and a white shirt”, picked his car keys, went straight to his wife, kissed her and with a dashing smile he bid her goodbye and drove off to pick their baby boy.
It was 7pm and Mr Bakere was not back yet with Jide, his wife tried reaching him through

h his cell phones but they were all switched off, though getting worried Mrs Bakere was still trying to entertain her guests when she received a call, she went outside to pick. As the guest were entertaining themselves through the music and eating, they had Mrs Bakere screaming, reaching outside to see what was wrong, they met an unconscious pregnant woman laying helplessly on the floor. Immediately, she was rushed to the nearest hospital.

he call came from Jide principal, who sadly informed her of the tragedy that befall her home just hours after her son graduation ceremony. It so happened that after picking Jide from the pack on their way home, their car was involved in a ghastly accident and what was use to identify their bodies in the hospital was Jide student ID card, immediately the principal was called upon to identify the bodies of the deceased, shockingly and sadly it was Jide and his father Mr Bakere.
Its three days already after the ugly incident and the Bakere’s house was filled with people both family, friends and neighbors who came to mourn and sympathize with the bereaved. Mrs Bakere who was surrounded by her family from both her side and her husband side didn’t cease crying and kept silently and painfully calling her son and husband names.

The whole incident to the heavily pregnant Mrs Bakere seems like a dream that she needed to wake up from but seems no one can and will ever wake her up from that dream. All she could think about during all this period of grief was were she went wrong and why have God chosen to punish her this way. Mr Bakere mother who was in her early 70s was the one consoling and encouraging her, she said to her in Yoruba “gbogbo ohun ti olorun nse ni pipe” that is “everything God does is perfect”. With these words and an encouraging mother in-law, she stopped crying outwardly but the tears kept flowing in her heart.

The burial of both men took place in their house in Oyo metropolis.Their burial was graced with the presence of Jide class mates and other students in his school and also the school managements, friends, family, neighbors and work colleagues. Mrs Bakere pain became unimaginable when she was faced with the reality that the next day been her son and husband birthdays (Jide was born the same month and day his father was born)was just going to remembered as their death day. In all what she has faced and facing, Mrs Bakere decided to accept her fate and thank God instead, she said “pain is real but suffering is optional”. Though the pain of losing the pain in her life was deep, she chose not to suffer from her plight instead rejoice in it.

The next day which happen to be Jid and Mr Bakere birthday, Mrs Bakere decided to remain indoors. Their memories kept flooding uncontrollably in her mind that she couldn’t control, Mr Bakere old mum who was seating in the sitting room with Mr Bakere junior sister immediately heard a loud cry that came from Mrs Bakere room, immediately they ran to the room and found her screaming in pain.

“Ahhh mammy, I think she’s in labour o

o” Mr Bakere sister, Bola said to her mum looking confuse.

“Hurry up, get the car keys lets take her to the hospital” the mum said also looking confused.

Immediately, they were able to take her to the hospital, indeed she was in labor. Immediately she was taken to the labor room, she was in there for two hours but her in-laws and her sister were there praying for her. After three hours in the labor room, the Doctor came out smiling to deliver the good news to them, by God mercy she gave birth to a set of male twins though not identical and both mother and children are doing fine.

Immediately Mr Bakere mother heard this, she shouted joyfully and tearfully in Yoruba ” won ti pada” which means “they have returned”. She believed it wasn’t a coincidence that the wife of her son gave birth the same day her son and grandson was born and a day after their burial. As a deep-rooted Yoruba woman who believed in reincarnation, she only could shout one word at that moment which is “Atunbi” which in English means “Rebirth”.

Few weeks after the birth of her sons, it was time for the naming ceremony, as usual people gathered to rejoice with this woman who was once in pains. The ceremony started with loud music of gospel praise, everyone especially Mr Bakere mother and his wife danced unashamedly. After the dancing, the pastor gave a little sermon then called upon Mrs Bakere and her mother in-law to come and give the names of their sons and grandsons. Before saying the names, Mrs Bakere started by appreciating everyone who had once mourned with her and now gathered to rejoice with her, she started that if not because of her mother in-law she would have done something stupid the day she thought she lost everything. She also said that God has a purpose for everything. So when something happens unexpectedly in your life, always remember “gbogbo ohun ti olorun nse ni pipe” that is “everything God does is perfect”. After saying all this, she with the help of her Mother in-law said the names of the twins. The one who looked like Mr Bakere so much was given “BABTUNJI” meaning (father has returned) and the other who looked like his mother and also Jide has a baby was named “EKUNDAYO” meaning (my sorrows has turned to joy). After the naming, Mr Bakere mother told they guest that she believs that the two souls they lost has returned through this children, for that, nothing was actually lost, instead their blessings has just increased. There was laughter after this statement and for once again Mrs Bakere regained her world.

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