We bring to you letters written by women to women they love, miss, cherish or just remember. To celebrate the support women continue to show each other, this is #ToHER.

From: Arike, the woman who sees herself as an extension of her mum

To: Iya Arike, a woman who’s deeply missed

Iya Arike,

I’ve thought about everything I wanted to write in this letter every day that led up to this moment. But here I am at past 1 in the morning and nothing seems perfect or right. I guess that’s because none of this is right. I shouldn’t be writing this letter talking about the crushing pain in my chest from missing you so much. I think “I miss you so much it hurts,” is such a hauntingly beautiful line whenever I come across it in novels. But now I’m experiencing it, all I see and feel is the unending pain in my chest from losing you.

It’s been over a year now, but it feels like just yesterday, you took your last breath in my arms. It feels like just yesterday, I was scrambling to remember everything I learnt about CPR from medical school so I could bring you back from what should’ve been a nap. It’ll always feel like just yesterday, I felt my heart plummet to my feet when I realised you were gone.

But a million and one things have happened since you’ve been gone. The earth had the audacity to keep spinning as my entire world was crumbling without you. I’m stuck with so many questions I don’t have answers to, mummy. 

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I have no idea who I am anymore. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and don’t recognise myself. The person staring back at me cannot be your Arikenke. But then, how can I be Arike without you Iya Arike? How can I live with just the memories of you? Memories of the past? I’m so lost without you.

You spoke way too much about the future to not be in it with me, mummy. You had the outfit you’d wear for my induction planned. You spoke so fondly about my wedding, how you’d come to do omugwo and how my siblings and our future families would all come back home for the Christmas holidays. “You can spend new year’s with your inlaws”, you’d say. 

As it stands, you’ve missed three graduations so far, and it hurts that you’ll miss mine too. Damn, you’ll miss everything you spoke about mummy. The beautiful visions of the future you always painted with your words will always exist in my mind, but reality will never measure up.

It’s funny how when I was younger, I’d always disagree with people when they say I look like you. The daddy’s girl in me just wouldn’t allow it. But here I am now, basking in those comments I now consider compliments. Because if I turn out to be like you, that’d be the best thing I can aspire to be. 

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Is it weird that I think you’re my soulmate, mummy? Because it should be impossible to love and miss you as much as I do if you aren’t an extension of me. I guess this is why I feel like people who met me after you passed will never truly know me. They’d never truly know the Arike who was loved so dearly and intentionally by her mother. You were all the best parts of me. 

My heart will love you forever, Iya Arike. My thoughts will always stray to memories of you, and my soul will yearn for yours as long as there is breath in my lungs. 

Watch over your baby, mummy. I’m just trying my best and in way more pain than I let on. 

All of my love, 

Your Arikenke.

Letters #ToHER will be ending in September. We have two more slots to share a letter, so click here if you’d like to write one too.

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