Tag Archives: old-age

It’s Not Time Yet!

Retirement is a stage of life that most workers look forward to. It’s a time to rest from regular work for the rest of one’s days. For some, it means rest but for others like ninety-year-old Nwana, it means death.

He believes that the moment he stops working, he will die. 

He’s a painter and painting makes him feel the blood in his veins. He loves painting houses and old age has not changed his passion and expertise.

It began when he turned seventy and refused to retire, his children did not understand why he kept working at his age. It became a thing for concern when he turned eighty-five. They knew what people were going to say – no one caters for his needs. But all their effort to stop him failed.

‘Force your father to stop now  before he dies working!’ People say.

And his children try all the tricks they know to make him stop, including soliciting with his clients to stop giving him work. Nwana finds out and summons them and says, ‘ I know you care about me but if you care about me, let me live my life the way I want. It’s my life. If I die living my life, it’s my death as well. Please, let me be..’ 

‘No papa, you must stop. It’s not good for you. And People are talking!’ The youngest says.’ They’re laying blame on us!’

‘Well, let them talk.’

‘You must stop or I’ll make you,’ the eldest says. 

In the night while Nwana sleeps. They gather his painting tools and burn them to ashes. Nwana wakes up early in the morning with no tools for his day’s work. He searches for them until he finds out what happened. His children burnt his tools. I force-stop him. 

He stays at home the whole day in silence and his children think they have won. But he calls them again in the night and gives them a warning.

 ‘Before tomorrow’s dusk, I want to see all my tools in my hands. That’s all I have to say for now.’ 

He gets his tools back and keeps working into his 90’s, and everyone fixes wide and condemning eyes on his children, who are in the position to support his used life. 

But each time Nwana sees their sympathetic stare, he wonders if they think old age is a time to sit around and depend on others. He’s not tired. He’s strong and healthy enough to work. Why do they insist on retiring him?. 

Nwana turns 92 and his strength fails him. He’s forced to stop painting. He only stared at his tools.

Ten years later, he’s still alive and knows that what keeps him alive is neither work nor rest, 

It’s not yet his time.


She's a little over eighty,
Wears heels high and pointy,
and stands tall, joyful and strong,
even when they say she's wrong.

She's beautiful by the way.
She's more so with hair grey.
Her ageless steel toughness,
Keeps in tune with gingerliness.

They wince while she prances,
And run when she dances.
They've the right to be scared,
But none to say she has erred.

When her Maker keeps her fit,
The last thing she'll do is quit.
There's no better way to live,
than to take the good life gives.

She turns a hundred and weak.
Now sits in her chair and peeks
At her grandchildren find their fit
And smiles as recollection permits

Laments Of The Very Old

They hold and feed me like a neonate.

They carry me about as though I’ve got no legs.

I can neither see nor cavort with my great-great-great-grandchildren.

My age-mates long gone keep calling me home.

I would happily join them but do not know how.

Yet, my bones quake within me, my strength is gone.

Why, life, do you persist? Why, oh death, do you flee?

Come to me! Snatch me away! Take me to rest.

© Florence Ezekafor

12year ago, I went with my cousin to visit the oldest woman in our community.

She was 120 years old at the time.

Except for her sedentary life, a bit of memory loss and failing eyesight, she had good physical health, hearing and speech. She hardly got sick.

When we entered her house she was crying bitterly . It was a kind of lamentation in a bitter sing-song manner.

She said death had been so unfair to her and had refused to reach out for her. She sang her words and we listened with teary eyes.

Yes, we felt her pain when no amount of consolation from us could calm her. We told her that old age was a gift from God and that we wished to live as long as her. She said we shouldn’t dream for that. She said her state was a horrible one, that she saw her dead friends around.

It’s the irony of life.

While some spend millions to save their lives, some beg for death to come take them away as in the case of the old woman.

She died at over 125 years. It was a celebration of life and when I heard she had died, I was happy for her.

At last death granted her request and I guess she wore a smiley 🙂face in death.