Award-winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has lost her mother. Various Nigerian news sites report that Mrs. Grace Ifeoma Adichie died suddenly on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Awka, Nigeria. The date coincidentally was the 89th posthumous birthday of her husband Prof. James Nwoye, who died barely a year ago on June 10, 2020.
Mrs. Adichie was an administrator and the first female Registrar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She is survived by Ijeoma Adichie, Uchenna Adichie, Chuks Adichie, Okey Adichie, Chimamanda Adichie, and Kenechukwu Adichie.
“It was very sudden and we are devastated,” a family spokesperson said.
The death of Chimamanda’s mother come barely two months to publishing of her new book titled Notes on Grief . In the book which is scheduled to be launched on May 13, Chimamanda details the sudden loss of her father amidst a global pandemic.
“We are so honoured to be publishing NOTES ON GRIEF by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this tender and powerful essay, expanded from the original New Yorker text, Chimamanda remembers her beloved father and examines the layers of loss and the nature of grief,” read an official statement from her publisher.
Prior to this, the author had written on the pounding grief she felt in an essay in The New Yorker. In her latest work. Written in 29 parts, the essay is a gut-wrenching exploration of the sorrow she experienced after her father’s demise. At one point she writes on grief. “Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language. Why are my sides so sore and achy? It’s from crying, I’m told. I did not know that we cry with our muscles.”
In another part she writes: “Grief is forcing new skins on me, scraping scales from my eyes. I regret my past certainties: Surely you should mourn, talk through it, face it, go through it. The smug certainties of a person yet unacquainted with grief. I have mourned in the past, but only now have I touched grief’s core. Only now do I learn, while feeling for its porous edges, that there is no way through.”
The essay concludes with two definitive lines. “I am writing about my father in the past tense, and I cannot believe I am writing about my father in the past tense.”