By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma
The opposite of mother is father. The opposite of sweet is bitter. Are all mothers sweet? As far as I am concerned, my own mother Chinyere Chukwuma is sweet. Many years ago, Prince Nico Mbarga sang in pigin English: “Sweet mother, I no go forget you for dey suffer wey you suffer for me yeah.
When I dey cry my mother go carry me. She go say my pikin wetin you dey cry yeah yeah. Stop stop! Stop stop!! Stop stop!!! Make you no cry again oo! When I wan sleep my mother go pet me. She go lie me well-well for bed. She go cover me cloth say make you sleep, sleep sleep my pikin ooo! When I dey sick my mother go cry cry cry.
She go say instead me go die make she die. She go beg God, God help me, God help me, my pikin oo! If I no sleep, my mother no go sleep. If I no chop, my mother no go chop. She no dey tire ooo! Sweet mother I no go forget dey suffer wey you suffer for me yeah yeah. Sweet mother eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Sweet mother ooo! Eee-ee!” Indeed my hand is writing while my legs and waist are dancing this indelible song. How many mothers today possess the above qualities?
Prince Nico Mbarga was a Cameroonian-Nigerian highlife musician. He was born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki Nigeria on 1st January 1950. He died on 24 June 1997 at Calabar Nigeria. We miss him so much. As we believe in the resurrection of the dead, we shall see him again on the resurrection morning. On that day he will sing the sweet mother song again for all mothers who lived good lives while on earth.
Few years ago I encountered a bitter mother who was a thorn in the flesh in her family. The husband regretted marrying her. The children renounced her as their mother. She was as wicked as the devil. She beat her little daughter to stupor for attending Block Rosary Crusade the other day. She wanted the daughter to pay allegiance to an idol but she refused.
She shouted at her, “Idiot! If you attend that prayer again, I will smash your head with bottle. Are you mad?” The daughter replied, “I am not mad. I will always serve the living God.” Angrily, the bitter mother broke her ankle with a piece of rod. With tears running down her cheeks like flood, the daughter sang: “Bitter mother, I will ever forget you for being a harsh and wicked mother.
God punish you forever!” On hearing this, the bitter mother banished her from the house indefinitely. The little daughter took refuge in a nearby convent. The religious sisters there welcomed her with tender love and care. They took her to hospital for medical attention for her broken ankle. By God’s grace she was totally healed. Today the young has grown. She is now a Reverend Sister.
The bitter mother was later struck down with stroke. Her condition was pitiable. One day, the daughter Reverend Sister visited her in company of two of her colleagues. The suffering mother cried with regrets at seeing her. She shouted, “Oh, my conscience is killing me for the evil I did to you. Please, forgive me, forgive me for the injury I inflicted on you yeah yeah! If there is reincarnation, I will be a sweet mother to you.”
Her daughter was touched to the heart. With tears she said, “My bitter mother, I hereby forgive you for the evil you did to me. From today I want you to become my sweet mother. By God’s grace you will recover from this stroke.” She prayed over her with her companions.
Miraculously the sick mother recovered within few days. Till today she is very grateful to God and to her daughter betrothed to Jesus Christ. Whenever they call her Mama Sister, she radiates with joy. I wish all bitter mothers would learn a lesson from this episode.
Today, we are celebrating Mothering Sunday. It pays to be a sweet mother in the order of Prince Nico Mbarga. If you are a bitter mother, then you are celebrating Murdering Sunday instead of Mothering Sunday. In other words, if you are not a sweet mother, then you are a bitter murderer. The husband and children of sweet mothers are happy. The husband is always proud of her.
Her children and wards radiate with joy at the remembrance of their sweet mother, alive or dead. On the other hand, the husbands and children of bitter mothers see today’s celebration as a curse. Bitter mothers murder their husbands and children by the evil in their hearts. At the burial of a certain bitter mother, the children bought an ugly casket to bury her remains.
On both sides of the casket they inscribed: “Rest in pieces.” As the casket was being lowered into the grave, the departed bitter mother was wailing inside the casket. Unanimously, the bereaved children while performing the dust to dust rite said one after the other, “Bitter and evil mother, rest in pieces. May you never resurrect again forever and forever. Amen!” There was no funeral rite afterwards. They all went away happy that their burden has been laid to rest.
The husband of a sweet mother calls her Mummy. Her children call her Mummy of all mummies. My mummy is a sweet mother. I wish she will be my sweet mother again in the world to come. She celebrates her 80th Birthday this year 2022. I am grateful to God.
I wish her God’s blessings and additional twenty years. I saw my departed father in a sweet dream last night. He was happy. He told me that he has been missing my sweet mother since his demise nearly two decades now. From all indications, my sweet father is in heaven waiting anxiously to be reunited with my sweet mother after her centenary birthday.
Once upon a time, the husband of a bitter mother sadly said, “If I go to heaven and see my bitter wife there, I shall take an excuse from God and come back to earth.” At the graveside of the burial of a bitter wife and bitter mother, the officiating priest mentioned to the bereaved family that this woman being buried would rise again when the time comes.
The bereaved husband interrupted the priest and shouted, “Reverend Father, I cancel this prayer! I have endured enough! May she never rise up again forever and forever!” The bereaved children shouted, “Amen!” There was confusion and pandemonium. The priest left unceremoniously. The funeral became a joyful celebration of the departure of a wicked soul who was a thorn in the flesh when she was alive.
The lives and times of sweet mothers leave indelible testimonies. Their departure is like an annihilation and very painful. Sweet mothers gladden the hearts of their husbands and children. The neighbours enjoy peace all the days of their lives.
If you are a sweet mother, rise up now and praise the Lord. But if you are a bitter mother, remain sited and examine your conscience. Sweet mothers are great treasures to the families concerned. People who come in contact with them are proud of them. God himself is happy with them and blesses them abundantly. When they die, there are reserved seats in heaven for them. The Angels and Saints of God welcome them with excellent gladness. They become automatic Saints, whether canonized or not. I wish all sweet mothers happy Mothering Sunday and heaven at last!