Hmm… I shrug and draw my coat closer to keep the cold out.
I wonder how long I’ve been kneeling here,
While my ears are still been attended to by the beautiful music from the humming birds.
The aura of sadness and death is still pretty much around,
But it’s pretty much been diluted with calmness and I fell solemnity approaching and fast too.
My gaze switches to the tombstone which I’m facing and my mind unconsciously travels to the past and I go through a series of memories before I finally arrive in the porch of my childhood home.
I’m suddenly oblivious of my Papa’s presence, and I see Gabriel in the distance running towards us from the field.
There is a large grin on his face and I smile mildly now remembering why he had it.
His cow, which was his first, has just conceived her first calf and he had anticipated it all summer.
“It’s a boy.”
Papa looks up from the newspaper his attention was buried in and manages a faint smile.
It’s obvious he’s trying to hide something but I never saw it then.
“I wish i did though.”
Gabriel reaches the porch in no time, takes a while catch his breath and starts explaining the ordeal.
I see myself get excited as much as he is and was just about to run off to the barn when Mama’s voice halted my advance.
“That’s my boy.
I’m proud of you, Gabriel”
Her voice sounded so pale and she looked worse, maybe even more than I remembered.
I wasn’t bothered though, at least then.
My young infant mind was totally excited at the prospect of meeting Eddy.
That’s what Gabriel later named the calf.
Papa stands up and slowly guides her to his chair. I can still see the forced smile on her face,
And her cheek bones were so visible……
There is a moment of silence and i finally break the air.
I now see the shock on Papa’s face when I said that.
At first nobody says anything, but Mama finally did;
“Leukemia is a bad man. A very very bad man.
“He is hurting me, but don’t worry, God will deal with him soon.”
“Why can’t Papa kill him with his gun?”
“He can’t. Only God can.”
“Besides, Papa can’t use his gun to kill a human being”
“But he is hurting you!”
“It still doesn’t matter, Mary”
“Don’t disturb your mum. Didn’t you just hear that it’s only God that can kill him? Papa blurts out.
Why must you be so stubborn?”
“I only wanted to……..”
“Go to your room!”
Disappointed and visibly shaken, I walk into the house wondering what exactly i did wrong.
If only I understood.
I feel so insensitive.
Later that night, Papa took Mama to the local clinic nearby but Mama never came back.
Nobody said why but i didn’t care then.
I just acted stupidly like I always did.
A nail biting breeze jerks me back to reality and I’m back in the cemetery.
Kneeling right in front of Mama’s tomb.
“I miss her.
I really miss her.”
It’s been 10 years since Mama died, but it seems just like yesterday that she left.
I won’t forget our last conversation though.
Right before they left for the clinic that night,
I was lying in bed still angry with Papa because of his outburst, when Mama walked in,
“Make me proud.”
“Are you going somewhere, Mama?”
“No Dear, I’ll always be around.”
As she walks out, I called out
“I love you”
“I love you too.”
I’ve played that conversation in my mind every day for the past 10 years.
Can’t seem to get it out of my mind.
can’t ignore the regrets.
My attention is interrupted by Gabriel’s call.
“It’s time to go”
Seated in the car now beside Gabriel,
I take one last glance at the cemetery, and….
“I do miss her”
In memory of Zainab (1993 – 2002)
Though I was too young then to understand or feel the pain of hurt you felt,
I do now, and i hope you’re somewhere better where you can’t feel pain anymore.
This post is also dedicated to anybody and everybody who has lost a loved one or family member to any form of cancer or terminal disease. God loves you.
Thanks for reading.
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