You never get used to it, I found out recently. Even if you had the same experience everyday for seven days, its occurrence on the eighth would still have the same shocking and devastating event. Even if it was your enemy, this is one piece of information that jolts with the same intensity as electricity. You never get used to death.
Two Sunday’s ago there was a family celebration; my cousin dedicated her baby girl in church and we all went for the reception. It was so much fun, the music, the food, the emcee was on point (overdid it at some point but I’ve forgiven him), it was generally a very interesting and exciting day. I saw my cousins, caught up on gist, where everyone’s at now, that kind of stuff.
I saw my uncle too, I remember the delight on his face when he saw me, and him teasing me about ‘not bringing pounds for him’. I laughed when he said that, knelt in front of him (he was sat on the couch), and he started blessing me in Ibo. One of the prayers he said (that I understood) translated means, ‘you will not bring evil from the white man’s land’. Made me smile because last time I heard/read the phrase ‘white man’s land’ was a veeerrry long time ago.
Uncle teased my sister for not greeting him, and promptly apologized when she said she did and he probably did not hear her; Uncle was easy like that. Very funny, one of the people I probably inherited my sharp tongue (read as wits) from. I took pictures of him with my dad and another relation later that afternoon, one of the many family meetings they held.
Fast forward exactly one week. Sunday I was in Lagos, trying to make up my mind if I could afford to stay for Bez’s album launch or if I should save my money and fly back that afternoon. I was playing with my phone, waiting for the 10 minutes Aero asked for to find me a ticket when flicked down Facebook and saw that a cousin of mine had written ‘Rest in Peace Uncle…..’. I was like, ‘that’s not even possible, what a cruel joke’. I rang my sister, and then my dad, and then I began to cry. Hearing my dad over the phone broke my heart a thousand times over, I love my dad more than anything in the world, and I couldn’t begin to even imagine how much he was hurting, and still is hurting. I replay that conversation in my head unconsciously.
I’m back in Abuja, visited with the family severally, seen the pain first hand on my cousin’s faces. I’ve tried to imagine how they feel, knowing that Friday night they slept and probably said ‘good night daddy’ but that can’t happen anymore. I imagine what I would do if I were in their place and it breaks my heart so much I can’t stop the tears. My mind swings like a pendulum these days, the slightest thing sets off the dam. Lol. You never get used to death walai.
What do you do when you’ve run out of tears? I’m tired of crying; more than ever I know it won’t bring Uncle back. If we could bring him back with our tears I don’t think he wouldn’t have died in the first place with what we’ve shed already.
It’s a wake up call for me, this one. And even though I cannot exactly explain what woke me up or what has been woken up, I know things will never be the same again. The way I see my family, the way I relate with them, every moment is precious. Life is fleeting, here today, tomorrow no more.
Where do we go from here? What’s next, especially since I’ve run out of tears?
I commit you to God Uncle, and to the power of His grace, which will keep you till we meet in a place where no illness whatsoever will be able to take you away from us. And for the family I receive grace to be strong, strength to get through each day, and faith to cast our pain at your feet and bask in the comfort that only you Lord can give.
You live in our hearts forever Uncle, tickle Jesus for me.
- Death is cruel. (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)
- heart torn in two (livingoverseasandlovingit.wordpress.com)