I’ve not looked in the mirror since my husband died — Florence Okosuns
If the late music legend, Evangelist Sonny Okosuns, who passed on May last year, had been alive today, January 1, 2009, would have been celebrated as his birthday.
Although dead, members of family and the Church he established still rolled out the drums to celebrate him. And the woman who led the congregation, was no other person than his wife, (now the ordained head of the Ministry he left behind), Mrs. Florence Okosuns.
In this interview she granted NFC during the birthday celebration, Mrs. Okosuns shares her pains as a widow and the responsibilities she now bears as the head of the Okosuns Ministries.
Did I hear you say you've never looked at yourself in a mirror since the death of your husband?
Yes. I've not looked at the mirror and neither have been doing any form of make up since Sonny my husband passed on. I saw no reason why I should take care of myself to the extreme. I used to do all of that because of him.
Do you still watch the television?
Is it that you afraid of seeing him on TV?
Partially yes. I'll say that my social life now is at zero level since his departure. This is basically because I'm trying to reconcile and strengthen my relationship with God.
Okay, you are now the head of the Church. What has it been like since you assumed that position without your husband's presence?
As soon as I assumed office as the head of the Church, I realised what my husband was going through. I just realised I have so many roles to play as a mother in the house and then in the ministry as the spiritual head of the Church.
These days, I don't even have time for myself. I think more about the Church, the family and the business he left behind. I spend twenty four hours of my time thinking and asking God to give me the strength and courage to be able to manage all these departments.
Before now you've never been a preacher, so how have you been managing to do it?
It is by the special grace of God, because ever before I resumed as the head of the Church, I never thought I could do it, but God used somebody to speak to me. After that day, I had the courage to go to God in tears. I prayed and wept to God for the strength to carry on the work and he answered me. Since then, everything has been working out fine.
Are you enjoying what you're doing?
Yes, I'm enjoying it 100%. Even before now I never thought I could come into the Church without seeing my husband or sit down without him by my right hand side. So I thank God for who He is and the wonders He has done in my life.
That means you don't feel the emptiness anymore?
I still do, but I'm able to stand it now because of God's grace.
January 1 was his birthday, how did you celebrate it?
We celebrated it well. I didn't allow the pains of his absence to ruin the joy we had for seeing a new year. The fact that we are alive to celebrate him in the normal or traditional way is enough to be happy for.
What is the normal way of celebrating his birthday like?
Normally when he was alive , we start his birthday immediately after wishing ourselves happy new year in the church but this year it was different. In between the church service we had a tribute and a special number for him and played most of his songs which touched most people especially the children.
At this point, people started weeping and I also joined them to cry. But I was able to control myself after a while because I must be courageous. Later I stood my ground and gave some words of encouragement to everyone and we had a minute silence for him.
After all the praise and worship session in the Church, we went home and prepared food, cake, and drinks for everyone to enjoy.
On the birthday cake was written “Sonny Okosuns lives on, Happy Birthday Dad”. Other members of the family that live in other parts of the world also called to say happy birthday. It was fun for everyone.
When he was alive, how do you normally celebrate his birthday?
I wake up to surprise him with a birthday food and wish him happy birthday.
So he loves food?
Yes, Daddy loves food so much but it was the other way round. The children gave me the birthday food on his behalf.
Sometimes I wonder if you are going to end up your life becoming a preacher or there is something else you want to do?
I'll remain a preacher aside other things I want to do. I was running a business before now, so I want to go back to my business when the time comes, so I don't have to depend on the church.
You are a very beautiful woman, do you sometimes think of remarrying?
(Laughing) Am I too young.
Of course you are beautiful....
Is 50 years too young? No, marriage is the last thing I want to think of. It is the last thing on my agenda. May be I should say that my mistake is that I over- loved my husband and as it is today, I don't think there is any man who can replace his love in my life.
Apart from celebrating his birthday, is there any other thing you and the children are doing to immortalise him?
Yes, we're planning to use part of the studio to immortalise him. We'll design it like a museum where we can put some of his best things for remembrance. His music will be played in this museum twenty four hours for people to come and get entertained.
Is any of his children interested in music?
For now it's only Ebony that is interested in music.