Yes, It’s been 731 days
Some would talk about their own experience being a blur. Mine wasn’t. I remember everything. Vividly. The evening before in the ICU when I assured him it was going to be alright and couldn’t wait to have him home again.. The look in his eyes as he stared intently, meeting my gaze as I spoke, then drifting off to sleep again under sedatives earlier administered.. Holding his hand as we prayed and thanked God for his impending recovery.. Walking out the ICU and glancing back when I reached the door just to look at him one more time (I’d actually thought to myself right then: “this had better not be the last time..)
But it was.
And even though I’d left that place elated and in high spirits, expecting to return in 2 days when he’d no longer be in the ICU but in his private ward, the call came in 7am the next morn – calmly asking me to come over to the hospital as soon as I could – and I knew. I knew but remained enveloped in denial. Hung up the phone so I would’nt hear the reason why I was being called. If I never heard it, then it’s possible that it wasn’t so, right?
Then I remembered that I hadn’t prayed, the past couple of days like I said I would, for his speedy recovery. And so I went into the bathroom and I began in earnest.. declaring and decreeing.. casting and binding.. voiding and nullifying .. begging and pleading.. appealing and groveling.. denouncing and denying.. praising and worshipping.. I did them all. I did them all till I nearly passed out, drenched in my own sweat while pacing up and down like a raging bull, my heart beating violently against my chest.
I remember sitting by the front door for at least 4 hours after that, refusing to leave the house, especially as no other call had come in since, giving me further hope that all was well and whatever the ‘minor crisis’ was, had been sorted and my presence no longer needed. In that 4 hours, I must’ve gotten up to pee at least 8 times, I was that nervous and unsettled. But somehow, still very hopeful.
I’d decided I would go anyway. Find out what they’d wanted, just to be extra sure. It was 2pm. Casually embarked on the longest ride of my life from mainland to island, without explaining the reason for my destination to the driver.
On getting there, I called my early morning caller, but his phone was switched off. Very unusual. Looked around the premises and the busy waiting room once in, to see if there were any familiar faces. None. More hope. Walked over to the receptionist’s table – same lady I’d seen there the evening before. She looked up and saw me approaching and before I could utter a word, she’d asked:
“Yes please,” I’d replied. She was out of her chair in an instant.
“Let me get Dr. X for you.. please follow me..”
I’m standing there waiting for her to lead the way, and I’m thinking.. well that’s neither here nor there.. make I see Doctor first..
And just as she made to leave the waiting room, the stupid girl turned back to me with a nervous smile and said quietly:
“Sorry for the loss..”
I didn’t even answer her.. she’s looking at me, but she ain’t talking to me. I remained calm and blank-faced. She led me to a corridor and asked me to wait there, standing, no chairs in sight, while she went to get him. Without exaggerating, I must’ve stood in that corridor alone for nothing less than 40-45 mins watching the medical staff come and go about their regular duties without minding me – no doctor, no further info., whilst still processing what she had just told me.. Probably the longest wait of my life.
Well thanks to little miss Tatler, I now knew for sure, what I didn’t want to know before. There was no denying it now. It was all over. All that was left now, were questions – Why.. how.. when..?? All the while, rather than the painful realization that I’d just lost yet another sibling, all I’d kept thinking was, how in God’s Name, was I going to break this kind of news to everyone else?? I’d remained waiting in that corridor casually pacing up and down with a straight face and surprisingly calm disposition – just like he had taught me to. And he taught me well.
Right from childhood, he would never let you cry, regardless of the extent of your injury or physical pain. Even at the age of 5, if he ever saw you crying for any reason, he would firmly say, “Hey..no crying!” or “I don’t want you to cry..” It was never a request. As a result, I would cry if I so much as bruised my knee but once he approached, I would instantly dry my eyes and fix my face. If he had anything worrying to tell me, he would warn me beforehand not to cry or panic no matter what. And so over the years, I’d learned to play the part very well, even though inwardly, my emotions would be running riot. I would only let them loose in private. Anyone who’d seen me at that moment, would never have guessed what I’d just been told.
Eventually the receptionist came back and led me to a chair in the pharmacist’s office, away from prying eyes. I thankfully obliged, and the waiting continued. Twenty minutes later, still no doctor. Twas a very, very lonely place to be mentally, and I was starting to lose my mind alone in that empty office – when it suddenly occurred to me to call the one person I should have called, the moment I’d been summoned – My oldest sister, Angela.
I’d asked her to meet me where I was, without telling her why, but dang, we’d been down this road more than once before, and there just was no fooling her. She instantly hit the road, no questions asked. Before her arrival, the doc finally showed up with another in tow. Maybe they’d thought they’d have to sedate or calm me – not sure – but, no need. I was now in a consulting room, where he’d met up with me. After intros, he went straight to the point :
“I’m afraid I don’t have good news..”
I nodded casually and replied, “I know..”
Surprised, he asked how.
“No be today,” I’d replied with a sad smile on my face. “Once I got the call early this morning, I knew. Besides,” I’d further explained, your receptionist has a big mouth.”
“What?! I told her not to tell you anything, and she even assured me that she hadn’t..” began Dr.X.
“She did, o! She said sorry for the loss, that was how I became really sure of what had happened!” I cut in sharply.
The two docs eyed each other incredulously, and I knew she was in trouble. Good. Make she self chop inside small. Olofofo of life!
So having exhausted all other questions, I’d concluded with one last one:
“So I’m expected to break this kind of news to everyone else??”
He shrugged and looked at me like, du-h.. Na me go do am??
At this point – and to my relief – sister walks in. We instantly find solace in each other’s arms.
Sadly, in this global village which we now inhabit, there’s no longer room for taking time to visit someone in order to break the news of a loved one’s passing, before that person reads it on a blog, or some drama queen calls, screaming down the phone: “Is it true?? Is it true what I’m hearing..??!!” And so while at the funeral home, we began with the calls.
And these calls, without a doubt, we’re the most difficult ones I’d ever had to make in my entire life. Very emotionally draining. Got home around 8pm and finally collapsed into the arms of my 2 older teens and cried my eyes out, whilst they held fort..
It was May 30 2018.
The rest of that year took me on an emotional roller-coaster. I was enveloped in so much grief, at least 3 people suggested I went for counseling. And then I was angry. For the first time in my life, I questioned God. The emptiness I’d felt was overwhelming. I lost all motivation to do anything but live. I stopped drawing, something I’d become so excited and passionate about, the last couple of years.. I’d stopped singing – even in the shower.. I’d also stopped minding my businesses and didn’t care that the staff could be having a field day stuffing their pockets in my absence – whereas prior to that, I was around to monitor daily, reconcile accounts and keep records myself. Constantly kept everyone on their toes.
I’d only snapped out of it about a year later, because I’d imagined that if he could see me now, he’d be so disappointed and irritated, having been one of my biggest cheerleaders til the very end. All this ‘sme sme’ I was doing would’ve downright pissed him off. I also learned that God’s ways are not our ways and we just have to continue to trust in Him.
So why the epistle?? Well I’m told it could considerably speed up the healing process, ni.
Anyway sha, let’s see how it goes..