The late filmmaker would have been 56 today.
This is the day I have chosen as your Remembrance Day; the day you came into this world, not the day you departed from it. It’s been another 365 days since I last wrote you a letter. You have been well, I can tell. I see you all the time, so I know.
Thank you for being my place of comfort since that non-event in October. What if I didn’t have your words to run to? My friends and colleagues still don’t get why I’m not mad or sad about it. LMAO. They don’t know what I know; they didn’t have the privilege of listening to you for 8 years.
2018 was massive for me. We delivered the best season of MTV Shuga so far in the series’ history. I remember those crucial 3 days locked in a hotel room with Emmanuel as we searched for a new soul for the show. Many times Emmanuel would go back to his room during breaks and I’ll sit quietly and listen to your voice as I asked repeatedly: where should the story world be? Is this Igbo pot of soup cooked yet, in line with your theory of content for mass audiences? Do we have all the characters we needed? What am I missing?
Thank you for your lessons on contextual realities and authenticity. “Let it smell and taste like the place it comes from; don’t worry, it will sell. It is emotions we sell in this business, and human emotions are universal” you taught me over and over.
I will need you more in 2019. It has taken me 4 years to be in a position to begin the process of achieving the dream that was truncated on the evening of April 28, 2014, when you transited to the upper realm. You know what I’m about to do. We spent 3 years planning this. You have left it in my hands.
I am scared.
I worry constantly that perhaps I’m not fully ready. Then I remember you often saying to me: “You were born ready, Chris” and then I fear no more. “It is good you have butterflies in your tummy, Chris,” you said when you handed Fuji House of Commotion to me in 2009, 2 years after I had direct it with you. “It means that you will go to it with respect and not arrogance, and that is good.” The sheer size of this project gives me goat head sized butterflies in my tummy, but I hear you loud and clear boss.
I listened to an episode of On Being recently. Krista Tippet was having a conversation with Pauline Boss, known for her work on Ambiguous Loss. She talked about the myth of closure, the foolish idea that we can close the door to the presence and memory of those we loved and lost. It blew me away.
See ma’am, I have been looking for closure on your passing, trying to understand why you had to go. Pauline Boss has now helped me to understand that closure is a myth, it never happens. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, she says. It is okay to not seek closure, to not wish to forget, to not want to get over a loved one’s passing. Of course, life is a continuum and one must go on but ‘closure’ is not a prerequisite of going on.
So, Ugochinyelu Umuaba, feel free to jump into my dreams and stampede my moments of meditation; you’re most welcome! I no longer seek or need any closure.
Oh, I’m worried about you. Having Tosyn and Efere close by must be trying. They are going talk your ears off! Sigh. Say hi to both of them for me.
And please don’t worry, Ruby and the boys will be fine. As will all your other ‘children’.
Rest on, Boss. I miss you terribly.
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