It was morning yet the skies were as dark as the night. With so many relatives and friends in the house to comfort Mother on the loss of her husband, the house too seemed too quiet for comfort. Just two weeks ago, the same people had gathered at our house to mourn my brother, ejire mi. Now, they are gathered to mourn my father and tomorrow? Only because the Doctor assured Mother I could live a healthy life if treatment and medications were taken seriously, I wanted to believe I would live to bury my mother. For all it is worth, I want to see her smile again.
Since then, all she wanted to do is sit in her bedroom. I couldn’t have let her be. I also needed her so we spend a lot of time in each other’s company, comfortable in each other’s silence. But when Mother speaks, she is cheerful, encouraging me and as much as I could be spending my time locked up in my room, beating up myself, I only want to reciprocate the cheer in her voice for me. But I know that hard as I may try, I can never leave my life being the same person I was before University. Deep down, I feel empty and hopeless but I can’t let Mother see it. She is more optimistic than I because she prays she wouldn’t have to witness my funeral. Her prayer every time we kneel to pray is first that I may live long enough to bury her instead and lastly that I will live a fulfilled life.
That was two years ago since the tragic loss in my family. Following the Doctors orders and taking my medications religiously, I have managed a healthy life. I’ve cut away all ties linking me to events in my life before my brother’s death and I strive daily to find peace within me.
Here I am, graduating with honors from the same University of Lagos. As the students sit in the multipurpose hall, listening to the Dean address the graduating class of 2001, I couldn’t help but look back on how my time at the university have changed my life forever. If only I had lived it differently, it would have been a happier day today. It is a moment of mixed feelings. I glance over at Mother seated with the rest of the parents. I catch her looking right at me. We exchange smiles but I can tell that there is something in that smile that restricts her joyfulness. But for what it’s worth, we have gone past being sorrowful, focusing onward and celebrating life while we have it every step of the way. We may have lost a lot but we have even more to live for until the day death comes knocking at our front door again.