Posted by By BEIFOH OSEWELE and HENRY CHUKWURAH, Port Harcourt on
Joy, it has been observed, has a slender body and can snap easily. This is the reality that confronts the Uzodis. For them, this is indeed the sweetest of time soured by the cruel hands of fate.
Joy, it has been observed, has a slender body and can snap easily. This is the reality that confronts the Uzodis. For them, this is indeed the sweetest of time soured by the cruel hands of fate. Until last Saturday, the family was cruising at a high altitude on the wings of bliss. Life for them was like paradise. They felt on top of the world. Their joy was at its peak as great tidings and good fortunes dogged their every step. They had a sweet melody on their lips.
In one fell swoop, two of their four daughters bagged academic laurels; one had just completed her housemanship at the UPTH thereby earning for herself the enviable title "doctor". Yes, Dr Adaora Uzodi. And her younger sister had just become a lawyer. In addition to that, mummy was tidying up the dissertation that would earn her a master degree. She had plans to pursue her Ph.D afterwards. Outside the academics, Mr Uzodi himself was at the verge of feting relations and friends having just overcome a health scare that necessitated his having to travel abroad for medical attention.
As a prelude to that great party, he was to host the end of the year party of his community in his palatial Port Harcourt residence. Guests had already started trickling in on that Saturday. The man was upbeat as he awaited the arrival of his wife from Abuja to play her role as the dutiful hostess. A driver was in fact waiting at the airport to pick her up.
But unknown to them, death, the grim reaper was waiting in the wings, ready to pounce. And when it did, it took away over a hundred lives, including that of Mrs. Eugenia Chinyere Uzodi. Death plucked away the wife and mummy of the home, leaving behind sadness and woes. And ever since, joy has gone on leave from the otherwise warm and happy home.
When Daily Sun visited there on Monday afternoon, a palpable air of gloom hung in the home threatening to completely envelop the once happy occupants like wet blanket. Although Mr Uzodi tried to be a man by maintaining his calm, it was quite obvious that it was a matter of time before he succumb to overpowering emotion, what with the yawning gap left behind by the sudden demise of his wife of almost three decades.
The late mother of four daughters was until her death a teacher at the Abuja-based Gwarinpa Girls School. In the last ten years, she had strived to maintain a balance as a career woman and dutiful mother and housewife. This she did by shuttling between her work place in Abuja and family home in Port Harcourt. She is said to have flown that route so often that if it was possible for anybody to know the skyline, she would have known it like the palm of her hand. And each time she set out on her homebound trip, she would alert her family on the phone.
The home would suddenly light up in anticipation of the great reunion that attended her presence. And the entire household was looking forward to her arrival and the great party that was to come but which was not to be. While the driver was waiting at the airport to ferry her to the comfort of her home, a loud bang occurred and the giant iron bird in which she had flown thousands of miles exploded, claiming her life and many others. It was mass flesh of the once beautiful and active lady that was picked from the wreckage. It has since been laid in the cold morgue in Enugu, far away from home pending when it would be interred.
If there is anything that consoles Mr Uzodi, it is the biblical injunction that whatever happens, the name of God must be glorified. "He gives and He takes, He knows best why it had to happen that way. So who are we to question his authority? We leave everything to him."
But Donald Ugwu, the late Mrs. Uzodi’s younger brother and former journalist with the Lagos-based National Interest described his late sister as "very warm, personable, genial and a disciplinarian." Just like Mr Uzodi, Ugwu is yet to come to term with the fact that his sister is gone forever though he was among those that helped ferry the corpse to Enugu.
"We’ve lost a dear one. She was more than a mother or sister. She was everything to all of us. She was the tie that bind the entire family together", he says brushing aside stream of tears with the back of his hand.
"We were expecting her on Friday but unfortunately her plans changed and she now decided to travel on Saturday morning. She usually flew Sosoliso, which she said was very reliable. She hardly flew other airlines. In fact, she had won prizes and awards several times on account of her being a very loyal customer."
Indeed, it is an irony of fate that that she had to fly into the abyss on the wings of the airline she loved so much, patronized so regularly and for which she was rewarded. For the family she leaves behind, her death is not what they would have wished for her loyalty. It was one gift to hard to bear.
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