Last week, the remains of Lady Aderemi Ayodele Ogunlana were laid to rest in Lagos. Below are the tributes of her husband and children.
MY WIFE, REMI
Oh! Yes, it was a statement we shared; “until death do us part”; that was uttered solemnly on the 12th
June 1964, but behold translated, to reality in the early hours of that Saturday morning, 19th August, 2017.
The exit was gradual, quiet and interspersed with movements of her head as she responded,
apparently, to the tunes: “Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast. Thereby His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest”. As she was lying, facing the end, it was as if a knell was calling my loving wife home.
The departing of her soul was so real as the impact of cold hands of death was felt when my hand went from her feet to her body and head.
Yes, it was death taking my wife, my companion away from me – Oh! How painful- ‘Remi is dead but, alas! Behold the feeling of solitude: Oh, solitude! Where are thy charms, the sages have seen in thy face, only to be left with reflections over time and time again. So, I recall how I learnt from her, the words that we read together on her dressing table:
“LIFE IS A SERIES OF LITTLE MOMENTS”
Focusing on these words; we shared together many moments. Moments of love, pleasure, joy and having children and watching them grow, amid fatigue and vicissitudes and all. Life, indeed, has been an experiment in living, but glory to God, who gives us the victory.
What a joyful note to read from a friend, who sent in condolence from California; “I remember her very clearly, I know her as a very dignified, kind and considerable person …”
As I will try to derive strength and comfort from the memories of her full and very successful life, she has, indeed, touched many lives. I cherish the hope and faith in God that her departing now, is only for now, but we will meet again to part no more. Adieu’Remi.
– LANRE OGUNLANA
TRIBUTE TO SISI REMI
I had met Mama Oyin or Sisi Remi as all fondly called her some 27 years ago, while wooing her daughter and we immediately struck a cord of friendship. She welcomed me into her home and adopted me as her biological son. But above all, she was more of my friend. Mama Oyin, my friend, mother-in-law and grandmother of my children was a virtuous woman. She was a mother-in-law to Fola and I. She was a very good wife of Professor Ogunlana for whom she lived her life. She was completely devoted to him and their children. She was grandma to Tunde, Ayotunde, Simisola, Toni, Tito as well as Sunkanmi and biological mother of Oyindamola, Oladele and Diran and mother to so many others.
At her 80th birthday, I recall equating her with the Biblical Ruth. Sisi Remi was a devout Christian and one of the best home keepers I ever knew. She was restless and always arranging and re-arranging things in the home. She would clean and re-clean. She loved her garden. She was generous to a fault. She was compassionate. Her domestic staff remained her children even after ceasing to work for her.
She sponsored the wedding of one of such that I remember held at her home, even after the lady had moved on.
Even though I never knew her in her active working life, I heard good testimonies of her as Chief Matron of University College Hospital, Ibadan a height she attained at only 32 years of age and was the 2nd Nigerian to rise to the position. It was good words I heard of her during her sojourn in University of Ife Teaching Hospital. I did hear good testimonies of her when she ran a creche at the University of Ife.
Mama Oyin had so many children in University of Ife, who lived with her. She was a mother of all. She was always there for my wife and our children. She was our care giver, the unpaid nanny of our children. Our nursing officer and sometimes cook. She was selfless. She was a rallying point for the extended family. She brought them all together. Sisi Remi played the role of a mother to me having lost my biological mother at a tender age. She filled the void very well for the past 27 years.
Your biological children and “children” as well as your grandchildren shall miss you. Oyin, Tunde. Ayo, Simi and I shall miss you. You touched too many lives. You imparted on many lives. You touched our lives. You bore me a good wife. You built bridges.
Good Night, Mama Oyin. Good Night, my friend, Sisi Rerni, Good Night Grandma. Good Night, Good Person.
– BABATUNDE OGALA
TRIBUTE TO A DEAR MOTHER
Mummy, going down memory lane, I can only thank God for your life and time spent with us. To God be the glory! I recall that growing up, when I was home, I had to practically do ALL the house work with no mercy or praise. I often wondered then, if I could have been your only daughter but alas, when I looked in the mirror, I saw you. You were particular about details and everything had to be decent and proper. You were, indeed, a Lady. Your home was certainly home to many without any complaint or query. You were friends with our friends. I learnt early that hard work, diligence, honesty and humility pay in the long run, that anything worth doing is worth doing well and that givers never lack.
Everyday now, I thank God for having you as my mother and for all you instilled in my life which I prayerfully instill in my children and wards. I remain amazed at your strength, even in challenges. The last three years were traumatic and challenging for us all for various reasons, but whenever you were able to, you assured me that ‘All is well” “Olorunwa”.
Thank you ‘Mama Oyin’ for giving your all to us, for your selflessness and above all your enduring love to us all. You loved your God and you were clearly a Proverbs 31 Woman. I know and understand that ‘to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven’ (Ecc. 3: 1).
Rest in perfect peace in the bosom of your Creator till we meet to part no more.
Good Night Mummy. Sun Re Iya Rere. Your One and Only.
– OYINDAMOLA OGALA
Over the years, you taught us to be the best, you groomed us not to “fear people” but to respect and regard them. You were brilliant, smooth and, of course, extremely passionate about your family and friends. Mama Oyin, when I think of those early years at House 36 and how you gave Christmas a different meaning, with us “attending” to the patients ward by ward … what a woman, such a beautiful soul. Then came Ife, Great Ife, when you begged me to give up riding a bike to drive OY 4049 F; which was such a blessing for us especially with those trips to .. I can’t say!
“My mother”, who lived and played that great poem and brought life to every word penned down in “sweet mother”; how can I forget you? “O ye Oluwa”, you would say with a sigh and that puts a seal on most of those questions we maybe, should have probed even further but then …
I am glad, however, that Sunkanmi spent those early years, those real formative years with you and he did learn much; he often expected those tea and biscuit evenings and yes, I hope to keep that dear to him even as I, have not departed from that “ritual”. Mum, you were a friend, able to hold secrets and even would “cry much more than the bereaved” – wow! Such a woman!
As we shared time together to plan your burial, I often smiled and nodded, not because I was happy to say good bye, but because I see in myself and my siblings so much of your gestures, mindsets and a heart of thanksgiving. A beautiful and wonderful soul, an amazing mother; without a doubt, you gave your life to us and we are proud of you always. Sleep on mum …
– OLADELE OGUNLANA
Mummy, I would miss your lovely, captivating smile, which always brightened wherever you were present, your calling me my childhood personal nickname, “Didi Puss” or in more recent years , “Aji Baba”. Nine times out often, it preceded, “ki lo ma fun mi mu’, with a wry smile or a wink … you sort of knew she wanted a small glass of Sherry or a long drink of shandy or a mixture of Remy and coke.
Your favourite snacks some cheese and biscuits, bourbon cream or simply some chocolate would suffice for your relax state and it’s time to gist. It’s amazing how seemingly small things I remember even over a few decades would always bring a smile to my face, remembering your glorious personality.
Your caring persona, always available listening ears and straight talk advice were in my opinion, your greatest personal strength mum. You were always there to listen and many were comfortable to speak with you, share issues and welcome real and truthful advice … though sometimes I felt they were too hard, but hey! Mum knew best? I guess her then Florence Nightingale pledge as a nurse in her early days was the caring for others as a priority.
Mummy, you have definitely made a solid, positive impact on how I live my life, as an example, planning in advance is one, even my wife and some of my friends say I plan too far in advance, but then I remember your words, it’s never too early to start planning, but can be too late to plan. Uhhhmmmmm, as a parent and father myself, trust me mum it had been useful in both professional and personal life. Thank you.
Mummy, your children, grandchildren thank you, we know the efforts you gave and the caring you showed when you could. The small dainty gifts you constantly sent to my kids even when there was not much to give, we always loved the thought, visibly bigger than the items.
Your inspiring words and super mum attitude, as your mug inscription reads … we will miss you dearly.
Mummy, even in more recent years, owing to fraying health, we could always see in your eyes the warmth and well wishes you radiated. Plenty have benefitted from you over the decades past, plenty would wish you could be with us forever…including your dear last born.
However, mum, I know that you are now resting in the bosom of the Lord. However, I am sure you would still be watching and caring over us as our guardian angel, and the other angels, saying Remi, let me take some time to watch them as well.
So mummy, until we meet again at Gods’ own time when we will part no more, I love you and rest in peace mummy. You have left a legacy and will always be remembered. Adieu mummy, Adieu my rock, Adieu grandma!!!
– DIRAN OGUNLANA
Mummy, I can’t express enough how much you’ll be missed. Is it your sweet sweet voice on the phone or the warmth that you showed to everyone around you. I remember vividly when I had Tito and we spoke on the phone. I knew then that everything was going to be all right. Such was your character, very caring and thoughtful.
There are many stories one hears about a ‘mother-in-law’, but my story is certainly different. Thoughts have crossed my mind on many occasions of how a mother-in-law could be like this … ever so warm, helpful and thoughtful. You were one of a kind. A woman of virtue through and through. I consider myself really blessed to have known you.
You were a truly fabulous woman. An epitome of beauty on the inside and elegance on the outside. If there ever was a definition of a ‘woman and a half’ … you were that! Loyal to the end. You’ll be missed by all of us. Adieu Mummy … the rare gem that you were. Rest in the perfect peace.
– FOLA OGUNLANA