Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years for their souls were pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness (Wisdom 4. 13-14)
My husband Greg and I were exceptionally blessed by God with five beautiful and lovely children of whom Nkiruka remained the first fruit of my womb and product of our marriage. At her birth we named her ‘Nkiruka’ which means the ‘future is bright’. There was no doubt that her future was bright with all the startling qualities we saw in her right from her childhood, which she carried on to adulthood. Any door she knocked at in life opened, in her academics, social and spiritual life. Eventually the Lord through the lottery visa took her to America where she lived, studied, worked, became sick and finally returned home and passed on to God.
Nkiru my daughter had character, drive, positive ambition, she was so mature that she always knew what to do or say in every situation. She was beautiful and had a calm and special way of connecting and dealing with the world. She was respected and respectful to family members and to all who came in contact with her. NK was single minded and sometimes funny. Yes, I am her mother but she was my advisor.
My daughter was an inestimable jewel and a lioness who knew what she wanted in life. She had positive dream about our family which I know that from God’s throne in heaven she will help us to realize them. No doubt you loved me and your siblings and God also gave us the opportunity to show our love to you till the end. Honestly a big irreplaceable vacuum has been created in my life and family. Nkiru you had a short but fruitful life. I am proud of you.
Indeed with illness coming into your bustling life you showed courage, strength and good humor in the face of adversity, pain and loss. You never allowed yourself a moment of pity or self doubt. Though your body grew weak, your mind and will stayed strong and your spirit was ready to sour. You found the comfort of faith and power of prayer. Indeed you survived as long as you did with the help of chorus of prayers that were offered up in your name. NK you appreciated all of the acts of kindness and supports given to you by so many that are gathered here today and beyond.
My daughter, though you have no biological children of your own, I promise that your dreams and legacy will continue to live in our family and that all children born to this family in generations to come will hear about you. Baby-m your mortal eyes may be dead but your spiritual eyes lives on in our hearts and family.
Nkiru, as my heart bleeds at your demise, I trust that the almighty God who gave you to me will look after me and your siblings. May Jesus the Good Shepherd and our resurrection and life grant you peace in his kingdom until we meet to part no more.
Ada Odilibe, Mummy, My baby, Ada m, NK, Nkiruka good bye and rest in perfect peace.
Your Mother, Nonye Odilibe×
So here I am writing a tribute to you, thinking of the words to choose to pay you this respect, what words do I use? What adjectives to come up with so I could tell the world about you? None Sister, none. They have missed- those who heard but did not see the greatness within you and the myriad of blessings and positives that came with your presence.
Now who do I run to? Whose back do I run for cover now? When I got into troubles you had my back as I stood behind yours, now I am bare to the world, questions flood my mind, tears far from my eyes because each time I get hurt I just think of us, the memories we had, the songs we danced to, the jokes we shared. I remember your style of tying wrapper around your neck, how we laughed when I, out of excitement, printed spam mails after you gave me access to your Email account, your password then was Taurus, I can never forget that. You were indeed a bull and you showed it to the end. I remember watching you always clean the house, talk about AIESEC, who could forget the Dutch visitor you brought home! And I grew up staring in awe. Trust me sister, I don't mean Emeli Sande when I say beneath your beautiful there was Grace, Love, Hard work, and a mother unborn.
But you're gone and like I always believe "Sic comprehendis non est Deus" The moment we fully understand God, He ceases to be God. Why you are gone I don't know, why you have left us I do not know. It was not your decision neither was it ours but you're gone and who are we to question Him? Even in your health how you would look at mom with this face that said "please rest, you have done your best". And then I read your statements of you wanting to be at peace with God, I think to myself, where else can you possibly be?
It would be cliché to say till we meet again to part no more, Adieu, We loved you but God loves you best. So by the power of His resurrection which I firmly believe and knowing death cannot touch you anymore I ask "Kiki, how have you been?"
In preparing for this tribute, I received a lot of input from many different people. People I have never met, people who knew and loved Kiki. People that shared stories and experiences with her. As I listened to these stories, in all of this communication, there is one word that permeates, that seems to clearly embody the sweet light of Nkiru Odilibe-Kind.
Nkiru would do anything for you. She was strong. If you needed a friend you could call her and she would come to you. If you needed a place to stay her home was always open. She would go out of her way to help people in need. She truly cared about others and her warm smile always made you feel welcome.
But there is one more adjective that I feel greatly describes the woman that I was so privileged to know; One adjective that could only begin to describe the experience of her last year with us. That word is Brave. The past year she was a brave warrior.
I didn’t want to write this tribute about the recent past. Though it did exist and brought us to be here today, the Kiki that is in our hearts, and in our memories, far exceeds last year’s experience. Kiki was laughter. She was life. She was, and she is, love.
I’m going to share with you a few adjectives that her friends and family have used to describe Kiki.
Sweet, gentle, welcoming, loving, giving, caring, open, mothering, supportive, faithful, accepting, fun-loving, silly, thoughtful, true, kind, compassionate, genuine, committed, selfless, gracious, dependable, light hearted, playful, encouraging, warm, kind hearted, generous, smiley, real, inviting, awesome, and my personal favorite...Nwa nne madu.
It doesn’t seem fair to be writing this tribute of my 32 year old sister who I truly loved. But there are things in this world we can never understand. Kiki relied strongly on her faith in Jesus, more so than ever towards the end of her life, and in that faith she was able to be the brave warrior that she was. That she is.
Beautiful Kiki, thank you for the light that you brought unto this world, as you watch down upon us, as you shine in the sky at night and dance in the breeze that kisses our faces, know in the depth of your soul, that you did us proud.
As I write this tribute today, looking out at the many lives she touched and remembering all the causes she championed and contributed to; I know that she has achieved what she set out to. Anything is possible. She proved that to us all.
Nkiru will always be remembered for her warmth and generosity, her commitment to humanity as a group and as individuals, her brilliance and unflagging optimism, and her great big heart. She set an example of courage and compassion that inspired everyone who knew her. God Speed, Nkiru– Heaven only knows what’s in store for you next!
Your Sister, Ifeoma Odilibe