It's coming up to 4 years since she passed away and within this time I've never returned to the house since the funeral. In a conversation with one of my sisters I misunderstood a comment she said and understood it to be her saying that the council are planning on knocking down the block of flats, immediately I panicked, I panicked because I was worried that the memories I had built up whilst growing up frequently visiting that house would be lost along with it! Thank God they are not knocking it down however that panic interested me, and that is the Genesis of 'Mummy Brixton'

'Mummy Brixton'

This was a nickname that was affectionately given to my step mum (who I will refer to as bigmummy as that is what I used to call her) by relatives. When family from Nigeria would come to London they would either stay in her house or would definitely pass by before returning to Nigeria. 
I remember the Christmas parties and family gatherings we would have in this house, this house was the 'spot'. She would always make sure her visitors were fed especially with her rice and stew. I would constantly watch her as she made the stew and at times she would tell me to make it, but it never turned out as good as hers, and still dosent till this day.

I spent the first 8 years of my life growing up between Burnley (a small town near Manchester) and London. I was always excited when we'd drive or take the coach down to London, Burnley was quite racist at that time so it was my way of escaping the bullying at school and seeing my sisters and brother. Big mummys house was distinctive, the zig zags on the estate is one of the most notable things, so much so that when I would draw her house as a child I would finish it of with Zigzags.

After she passed away I found it hard to return to Brixton, so I chose not to for a few months. I knew I couldn't avoid it forever as one of my sisters lives in Brixton, I guess my main fear wasnt the area, it was seeing the house with the zig zags. 

10th of August 2015 I was on my tea break sitting in the canteen with my colleagues, I received a call from one of my sisters in Holland which I thought was odd as she did not usually call me during my work hours. She asked me to go to a quiet place and immediately my heart started racing, I confirmed with her where I was, then she told me the words which would set me on a new phase in my life. 'Annie, my mum passed away this morning' I held my breath, leaned against the wall and started to cry. I could tell she had been crying too, she spoke a little more and confirmed she would be in London within a few days.

I was working in my churches headquarters at the time as a writer for the newspaper, I left the office I went to the auditorium to pray, my head was spinning, I then went to the toilets to clean my face, I was wet with sweat and tears. 
I went back to the office and tried to discreetly tell my manager that I couldn't stay, before I could even get the words out that my step mum had passed away I started to cry, I cried so hard my whole body started shaking and I couldn't breath, she quickly took my into her arms and held me.

That was the worst day of my life.

I recently just came back from Nigeria and found myself thinking about Bigmummy alot. I spent many precious moments having emotional, fun and humerous conversations about her with her sister. I'll be graduating from university this Friday and found myself commenting on how these are the moments that I wish she was alive. 
She would always encourage me when it came to my studies. She didn't understand my choice for photography much, but showed an interest and gave me my first film camera. 
My aunties and uncles only had good things to say about her, she kept her children together and it's because of her that my sisters and I know the other side of our family, she was basically my glue.

It's amazing that even though almost 4 years have gone passed since her death, she's left a legacy which will last generation's to come. My children and the children of my sisters may never have gotten the opportunity to meet her, but they will definitely know about her. She remains forever in our hearts and soon she will be in theirs.

I started going to Bigmummy's house alone when I was 11 years old. I used to take 3 buses in total from Walthamstow, (East London) to Brixton, (South London). It would take well over an hour and a half sometimes two hours to get there but I loved the journey, I loved looking outside of the window and then counting how many stops I had left until I arrive at Camberwell.

Sometimes I would spend a few weeks with Bigmummy and would go to school from her house. The journey was long but at the end of my lessons I would be excited to make that two hour journey back. I spent alot of mornings at this bus stop, so much so that returning to it after almost 4 years left me a little bit emotional. 
Alot of memories came to mind but the most predominant one was Bigmummy always telling me to 'wrap up warm' before leaving the house to go to the bus stop so that I wouldn't catch pneumonia.

Bigmummy would always send me to the shops to buy calling cards for her to call family in Nigeria. I lost count of how many times I would make those trips to the shop across the road, but I still remember in details what her request would be, in fact there would be times where should wouldn't even need to tell me, I had memorised it for her. It was usually a £20 Lebara calling card and she didn't like it when they would give it in two £10 vouchers.

Aunties, uncles, cousins and friends would always call her phones (yes phones plural as she had more than one, and at times would be speaking to two different people on two different phones at the same time) I would ask her 'Bigmummy, why do you answer the phone if your already speaking to someone on another line' she would reply, 'Because that phone call might be important.' I understood what she meant, in that same year, two of her siblings passed away, my uncle also passed away.

Then so did she.

10th of August was the 4 year anniversary of Bigmummys death. I planned days ahead what I would post as a tribute to her, in the end, I didn't end up posting anything. 
This was the community centre that we held a memorial service for her, around a week or less after she passed away. That day I felt like rubbish. So many emotions were running through me, things I had never felt before. I depended on my faith to help deal with those feelings, which helped however, I wasn't attentive to those closest to me. I shut them off and chose to grieve alone instead of with them, something I still regret doing till today. 
At the memorial service, it was the first time that I had seen some family members cry, it was also the first time I had seen others truly express how they had felt and what Bigmummy meant to them. Some speeches were touching, emotional and funny. People cried, laughed and sat pensively thinking about her. 
I sat there and took everything in. I don't remember crying at least once during the memorial, but I think that was the moment it finally hit me that she we gone. 
I sat there numb. 

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