Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is mourning her father who died after a brief illness recently.
Taking to Facebook on Saturday (4 July), she lamented that she couldn’t travel to Nigeria from her US base due to the international travel ban as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to stand by her extended family in the period of mourning.
Professor James Nwoye Adichie, a renowned professor of statistics and erudite scholar, died aged 88 on 10 June, but his death was announced by her daughter only on Saturday.
In her tributes, Adichie noted with pains that her heart was broken, saying the loss of her dad had profoundly changed her life, adding that “grief is a cruel kind of education”.
Continuing she said: “I am writing about my father in the past tense, and I cannot believe that I am writing about my father in the past tense. My heart is broken.
“Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn that your side muscles will ache painfully from days of crying. You learn how glib condolences can feel.
“Sleep is the only respite. On waking, the enormity, the finality, strikes – I will never see my father again. Never again. I crash and go under the urge to run and run, to hide from this.
“The shallow surface of my mind feels safest because to go deeper is to face unbearable pain. All the tomorrows without him, his wisdom, his grace.”
Born on March 1, 1932 at Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, Professor Adichie came from a poor background but his parents were able to pay his primary school fees.
He studied at the University of Ibadan for his first degree and obtained a PhD in Statistics from the University of California in 1966, the first Nigerian to do so. In 1976, he became a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, again the first Nigerian to achieve the feat.
Professor James Nwoye Adichie also became the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university between 1980 and 1984. He retired from the university in 1997.