The next morning was a Saturday, I woke up as early as 5:00am to make breakfast for the family.
I arranged the house and swept the whole compound.
When my siblings woke up, we all prayed for our late father to continue to Rest in Peace while we prayed for mom’s quick recovery.
After the lengthy morning devotion, I served my brothers breakfast. I served mom’s own as well.
I couldn’t eat because I had to wait upon the Lord with fasting and prayer for her quick recovery throughout the day.
I took my bath and headed for the hospital. It was a cold morning, the sky was filled with dark clouds like it wants to rain even though it had rain earlier, in the night.
The sun was nowhere to be found. The drainages were full to the brim with waters flooding every part of the street. I was about to start my journey to the hospital when my phone rang.
I brought out the phone and realized Tumise is the caller. Tumise was my girlfriend, I clicked the green button.
“Happy birthday, baby!” one could feel the excitement in her voice.
I hesitated at first, I later replied her and wondered why she sounded so excited.
I asked myself if the day was truly my birthday. I asked her in disbelief and she replied in the affirmative.
“Today is your birthday, love. Today, August 29th. Do you intend to play pranks on me?” I greeted her excitement with silence and she asked what was wrong with me.
“You stopped talking to me for some days now” Tunmise added. I agreed with my instincts when it told me she felt disappointed.
“Oh, yes it’s my birthday.” I said with an ecstasy that was meant to ensure I have successfully avoided her questions.
I didn’t inform her that my mother is terribly sick.
“I’ll call you back baby… I have to do something important at the moment.”
“But we haven’t fin….”
Tunmise tried to continue the discussion but I hung up and zoomed off to the hospital.
At the hospital
The hospital environment seemed to change today unlike the other days. I said to myself as I went through the security checkpoint.
I entered the main building, the smell of the environment wasn’t inviting at all. It was a bad, it was a choking smell.
I went straight to the Nurse on duty that morning and stated my mission to her.
“Oh, good morning Timmy” she said. “Doctor Hassan would love to see you. He is in his office presently.” the nurse added while she pointed to the Doctor Hassan’s office.
I walked towards the Doctor’s office. On entry, I was surprised to see him seated because he told me he won’t be coming to the hospital that Saturday.
“I’m off duty,” I could remember he said it while driving me home the other night. Doctor Hassan greeted me warmly and offered me a seat right beside him.
“Timmy, I don’t have to keep you in darkness anymore.” He paused for a while before he continued “You mother is affected by cancer, leukaemia, to be precise.”
It appeared that it was as worse as he had concealed the true illness from me before this time. I repeated after him softly. Leukaemia. Leukaemia. Leukaemia.
“Leukaemia!” I yelled and gripped the shoulders of the chair I sat on.
Leukaemia was something I had read about in magazines, I had watched programs about it on TV and I had been taught in school.
It was said to be a very dangerous form of cancer. I never believed and I never thought, even for once, that my mother would battle a life threatening sickness like it.
My heart shattered and felt pity for my mom for the first time. I cried like a baby.
How can this be true? When did she start her battle with leukaemia? Why didn’t she tell us about it? I asked myself a lot of questions in the few seconds of silence and I couldn’t conceive a clue to answering them.
“She has been battling with it for four years now.” Doctor Hassan added.
Aside that, “your mother wished you a happy birthday and she wanted you to have this.”
He stood and walked towards his table. He brought out a box which I recognized instantly.
It was her necklace box, her most prized possession. According to her, her mother, which is my maternal grandmother, gave it to her before giving up the ghost. It was a real gold jewel.
I collected the necklace from Doctor Hassan and kept it in my pocket.
“Can I see my mother, sir?” I asked, as I licked the tears on my face with the edge of my cloth. He sighed and shook his head for a moment before he finally opened up to me.
“You do not understand yet.” He paused and stared at my face. “We lost your mother to the cold hands of death this morning, we could not save her.”
“You lost who?” I screamed at him. I intended to be at ease but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
The next three hours of my life that day wasn’t the one I’d love to experience again.
The pain of seeing someone you love die slowly right before you and you couldn’t help it was the worst pain one could feel. After much pleading, I was allowed to see my her corpse.
She had been covered already. I walked towards her. She laid there lifelessly. I gently removed a thick white robe from her face.
She looked just beautiful and radiant like ever. Her brown skin glowed as if she just took her bath. Her body was cold.
I screamed. I could remember that I slapped and pinched her body but she didn’t wake up.
She would not answer me. I called her name and her father’s, she didn’t wake up.
“Mummy, it is my birthday. My birthday is today.”
“I still want to take you to London, mom, I haven’t forgotten my promise of buying a 4matic Benz for you, mummmmy” I said and wailed bitterly but she would not move an inch, nor lift a finger.
I fell to the ground and wept bitterly. That day, I wished that tears could bring back dead people to life, and perhaps, my mother would come back to life.