Multiple award-winning Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has returned to social media to pen an emotional tribute to her mother, Grace Ifeoma Adichie who died in March 2021. It must have been a challenging period for the ‘Purple Hibiscus’ author as Grace’s death happened barely 5 months after her father, Professor James Nwoye Adichie was buried.
“How Does a Heart Break Twice?” She captioned the touching tribute. Adichie describes her mother as warm, loving, funny, kind, quick-witted, and beautiful. According to the short biography contained in the tribute, Grace made history, becoming the first female registrar of the University of Nigeria, Nsuka and was a permanent board member of the Anambra State Basic Education Word.
Known to give compelling and passionate account of events, Adiche describes the build up to her mother’s death in the tribute. She recounts that Grace lived in their ancestral village, Abba in Anambra state, and died on 1st March, her father’s birthday, following a brief illness.
She closes the eulogy by answering the titular question “How Does a Heart Break Twice.”
The questions. Why so soon? Why like this? Has the universe not given us our fair share of pain now?
“To have loving parents, an entire life propped up by them, and in months to have it all end, so abruptly, with such unbearable finality. O kwerom edi.
So much laughter and teasing and jokes, the easy companionship, the stories told and retold, the time spent. Time. Times makes memories. And now that is what is brutally left. the shock. The sense of sinking. The world feels wrapped in guaze. Everything is hazy and unclear.
This is how a heart breaks twice, this feeling of being utterly lost.”
Chimamanda was the fifth of six children born to academicians, James and Grace in the coal city of Enugu, whose infectious scholarly attribute is mirrored in the lives of all their offspring. They were huge victims of the Nigerian civil war, something the author hints in “Half of a Yellow Sun.”
May the souls of James and Grace Adichie rest in peace. You can see the entire tribute in the gallery below.
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