•But Died Exactly One Month To Her Day
Life, they say, begins at 40. But for Ibidun Ighodalo, life, for her ended at about a month to her 40th birthday. The news of her shocking death is still reverberating within the length and breath of the country.
She has lived a selfless and purposeful life in all her short years spent on earth. There has been an outpouring of grief on social media as people spoke out about their shock and sadness at her death. Nigeria’s President Buhari was among those who sent messages of condolence to the family.The President shares the pain and sorrow of the family at the sudden death, and prays God’s comfort for the entire family, friends and members of Trinity House,” his aide said in a statement. The news of the death of Ibidun Ighodalo, wife of Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House Church, who died on Sunday 14th June came as a shock to many who never expected it.
For late Ibidun, she had many plans towards her 40th birthday. She said she does not want to party. Her biggest dream was to help 40 women who are waiting on the Lord have babies through IVF. In her last conversation with one of her closest friend, Ty Bello, she revealed Ibidun’s plans for her 40th birthday which is on the 19th of July. The famed female photographer, TY Bello, said she received a message from her friend on the night before she died where she talked about her birthday plans. “Sweetie, it’s my 40th next month,” she wrote in the WhatsApp message.”And I want to help 40 couples to have their babies… That’s all I want. No party. No surprise. Nothing. I just want to make 40 homes happy,” she continued in one of the last messages she wrote. Ty Bello who have known her since university days and who both went through infertility together revealed.
Making people happy and putting smiles on the faces of women waiting on the Lord has been Ibidun’s greatest passion, and that was what led to the opening of Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation. This gesture is as a result of how she also waited on the Lord for almost 13 years. After waiting for so many years, she opted for adoption. In one of her exclusive interview, she narrated why she adopted her 2 children and all what she went through in her 12 years of trying to have babies. In one of her IG postings, she posted herself and her 2 adopted children, Keke and Zenan. Ibidun wrote on how God made her welcome the choice of adopting children and also about her struggles with infertility. Where do I start? You are such a loving and kind Father it’s incomparable. Your wisdom and might is unrivalled as is your knowledge. You know the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end because time truly exists in you. You knew me before you formed me and you knew my life’s journey and you prepared for me every step of the way…. My choice of a life partner though questioned by many was a divine masterpiece by You… You already saw the struggles and you knew the perfect fit for me.. You knew who could handle the storms of life with me and you blessed me with a wonderful husband, friend and lover. Ever so supportive and loving. Supportive through almost a dozen episodes of IVF, never wavering, there for every test and doctors appointment. With all the societal pressures and shaming you held me and comforted me in my low times.
Even when that did not work out you were already planning something mind-blowing. How else could I explain the burden you laid on my husband heart to establish an orphanage even before our marriage? This same orphanage gave me my beautiful daughter who again has your hand in her life. Born on the same day as myself and named by her dad after me (such prophecy) and brought to the orphanage. Even when I did not recognize your hand it was there till our eyes saw that which was always in front of us.
Again ever supportive, my husband was in support of our choice to go in that direction. The way you piece our lives jigsaw puzzles astounds me continually papa. Out of the blue a call comes to my phone and my darling aunt says I’ve seen your son. Come and pick him…. Not a clue to the process I started in faith and you made a way and Zenan became ours….
Even when I’m not thinking about myself you are thinking about me and putting my thoughts in the hearts of people. Seeing my son is a moment I would never forget. The bond was instant, and love was in full flow. How could I ever have orchestrated my life as perfectly as you have done. I’m so glad I have you papa because your ways are not my ways and your hand is evident in my life”.she wrote on adoption.
Ibidun is thorough fighter, she is a blessed individual, not having a child for 13 years has not taken smiles off her face, this amazing blessed mother as she calls herself is the founder of Ibidun Ighodalo Foundation while her husband, Ituah, sits on the board of the company. Her foundation, IIF, is a non-profit organization created to raise awareness on issues pertaining to infertility and to provide grants for couples that require fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination, She also runs Heritage Homes, and actively involved in Lydia Grace, a foundation for socially challenged women. She is a foremost event planner cum decorator who has been playing big in the event business for more than a decade. She was formerly Miss Lux Beauty Queen and also runs a 3000 capacity Dorchester Event Hall in Lekki.
For Ibidun, happy times were hers because the pretty wife of Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, the senior pastor of Trinity house church had put her burden behind her and embraced a new life while she was alive.. Ibidun Ighodalo unveiled the baby girl after 10 years of waiting for a child. She decided to unveil her adopted daughter, Keke on her husband’s birthday on Thursday, April 6 with lovely photo collage to illustrate her affections towards her family. Ibidun is a lady of few words, she rarely grants interview especially when it comes to issue of waiting on the Lord for a child. But a year before she passed on, she came all out to talk about why she floated her foundation to help waiting mothers. Her story is better told by her, she had gone through it all, despite the challenge, she held on to God, believed he will do it at his own time, and while waiting she was putting smiles on the faces of many other waiting couples. She spoke about her waiting period and how far she has been running her foundation. She says, Ibidun Ighodalo foundation was born out of pain, when I have waited for so many years, so we decided to put smiles on faces of parents in waiting. When you get married, you expect that you just have children and everything just works out fine for you, but when you start to wait, first year, you are not pregnant, I honestly thought, the first 6 months into my marriage, I will be pregnant but I just thought Okay, it will come, so I waited for one year, 2 years and I started getting worried that what is going on? My husband was not and is still not get worried a bit, He keeps saying what God is going to do let him to do it and whatever God is going to do, let it be left undone.so I held on to that, but as a woman, you know you will never want to sit down and not do anything, so I started ,I got worried, I go to the hospital and I have been on this journey for 11 years now, It has been tough actually because in our society ,they won’t spare you, yes the society, inlaws, friends, sometimes it is not intentional, it is not on purpose, But when you are waiting on God for a child, You are so sensitive that the little things that people do get to you, you might not even know that it is getting to you and everybody is running around doing school runs, your friends who you got married together are going to their children’s school, their kids are coming to yours and you get back home at night and it is just you and you alone. It gets to a point when you just really want children. You want company, I mean your husband is your friend, your best friend, but you guys go to work together and come back, after a while you will want to plan a family. you just want people, you want kids around you, when asked about how easy it was for her floating a foundation and if love play any role in all of it? She said, “It was out of pain, after going through IVF 11 times, 11 times is not a joke when you are doing IVF, I just woke up one morning on my birthday, I usually have this thing I do, I take my birthdays, I sit down and i pray, I have a conversation with God, that last year of my life, I achieved this, I will love this and this to happen the following year, I write things down and we talk. And I set a message that you know what? I am not doing their IVF again. How you are going to do it, I do not know, I do not want to know, I do not care but I am trusting you completely and I heard something, In the meantime, just go ahead and help as many people as you can, I thought I did not hear properly, but I said to myself, I should help other people while I wait? And honestly it was as though I felt life, I felt like this is why I was born and the meaning of my name is Ibidunni, sweet to give birth, sweet to have, for the first time, it was as though my life was playing in front of me and I said ,okay I will obey this voice, I picked it up, I dint know how I was going to do it, I did not have a clue, it has never been done before, so I just said to God, I am trusting you on this journey, I am going to obey you completely and totally but you have to promise me something, every single woman, every single couple that comes or walks through this foundation, hears, sees ,or mention this foundation, you must give them a child. We have 3 babies now, a set of twins and a baby girl. when the first one came, honestly it is priceless, it’s one thing to have a dream, it is another thing to actually carry, when I carried them, it was as though I was carrying my own, when the mother gave me a hug and she was crying, I felt her pain, I felt her joy, I cannot describe the feeling, it was priceless.so at our foundation, We make money available, we give spiritual support but mostly it is to help people who can’t afford IVF, that treatment is very expensive. Yes, I have tried other means as well and none yet. I have made up my mind, I have told God, I don’t know how you are going to do it but all of them must have babies, and he is going to do it. I am still waiting but I have forgotten the waiting, I am a mother of many, my foundation has 3 kids. I have a beautiful daughter that God has blessed me with. I am a mother, I adopted a daughter who is a gift. Also on her IIF foundation website, she wrote about herself, we told you earlier, hear it from horses mouth “Like any newly married couple, my husband, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, and I looked forward to starting our family and holding our children in our arms. You can imagine our dismay, when after getting married in 2007, we watched the years roll by without a child of our own. After several doctors’ appointments, we were told that we wouldn’t have children unless we sought treatment through assisted reproduction. This was the doctor’s report we received, but we choose to believe God’s own report, unshaken in our faith as we firmly believe that that we will have our children. This period of delay also came with pressure and a lot of insensitivity from people to our situation. I also had to deal with the emotions, pain and the roller-coaster hormonal imbalance that comes with all sorts of treatments. Thankfully, I am married to an amazing man who has been there for me through all the procedures; unflinching in his support.
Along the journey, I have met women who only needed one round of a treatment I had done nine times. The only thing holding them back was either the lack of finance or the psychological support needed to get through it. It was at that point I decided to stop thinking about myself and start trusting God to help these couples fulfill their dreams of having their children.On the morning of my last birthday, I thought about not having had children long and hard while praying. There and then, I made a covenant with God and told Him that I would leave it completely in His hands. In the interim, as we wait for our miracle, I would help couples going through the same challenges by providing spiritual, financial and psychological support. I was ready to do my part to get rid of the stigma attached to childlessness. I wanted people to instead see couples-in-waiting as blessed mothers and fathers of nations! Upon thinking about the weight of this dream, I started out feeling a little reluctant especially when I thought about the privacy we might lose. However, when I thought about the unending joy it would bring to people’s lives, it seemed to me that it would be worth the sacrifice.I made up my mind to stop worrying over childbearing and to just keep trusting God while helping other couples through their own fertility journey. As I prayed and mulled over the idea, I felt peace and that was how the IBIDUNNI IGHODALO FOUNDATION was born! As part of our plans to raise awareness on issues pertaining to fertility and bring hope and joy to many homes, we have partnered with a number of fertility clinics with high success rates that are willing to help with discounted costs for treatment. We also have partner organizations that help subsidize other medical bills while raising awareness about fertility issues alongside. Parenthood is a reality that should not be denied to every couple that desires it. These were Ibidun’s words. She died with her dreams fulfilled.
-TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI