Everyday I pray for you, I whisper a supplication every time I look towards the flesh beneath the breast you once caressed, I see where you once called home. I seek forgiveness for what I did, but forgiveness today doesn’t mean yesterdays sins are forgotten. Often I wonder what you would look like, and even though I have been blessed with three more of you, you stand out in my heart. You seem to have occupied a space in my heart that your siblings don’t even know existed. I once thought to expurgate my thoughts in the hope of finding serenity from the heavy compunction you cursed me with, but to forget you is to rip out my heart, to hack my heart out is to perish. Sadly I am stuck in this abyss as a memorial of my foolhardiness.
Oluwapamilerin, and that’s exactly what you did, made me smile whenever I looked at your little face. How on earth does one kill a child? Or how do you live with the thought that you placed a little defenceless candle in the wind, and when I ask why they did that to me and you, they know nothing better than to murmur or feign obliviousness of the subject matter.
How can I repay you? How can I payback for that which you missed, the clear blue sky on a beautiful summer morning, or the sight of the twinkling stars against the dark blue clouds. My dear, you should have seen a waterfall or the face of your mother when she gives you a smile that only true love could bring forth. That last part truly breaks my heart because I got to see that a lot and you almost never did.
At the hospital where you brother was born, I refused to look at his face for two days because I was afraid he wasn’t going to be you. When the doctor told me I was pregnant I thought you were returning. They transferred me to a psychiatric ward when I refused to breastfeed your brother for a week, but they never got to see your priceless smile. Sweetheart, by now you should know you live in my heart, do I still cross your mind?
Olukanni. My prince, I remember like it was yesterday, how you lost your crown. I keep the records of your short being in a special part of my brain, in a separate folder, on a separate shelf, in a carefully locked safe, so that no one tampers with my memory of you and the memories of you don’t tamper with my existence. It was all in a matter of a few hours, maybe two or three, and you were gone. Gone like a visitor in a market who is afraid of occupying the market woman so much that she looses her customers, Omojola, I refused to accept it but you were gone.
The nurse had the nerve to blame me for not bringing you to the clinic when I noticed you had a fever, but do I say no to my mother who offers me herbs for my child. She called me aside and said she blames my husband for not having enough money to buy good medicine, but your father says it’s the government who cannot provide proper health care. The government blames the doctors for going on strike, yet the doctors blame my husband for voting wrongly, my husband blames his father for practicing partisan politics. His father blames his father for feuding with the clan that had the better candidate. Tired of this blame game, I take all the blame for bringing such a pure soul like you to this filthy earth.
Malaria tainted my baby’s life, poverty left me unable to guard him, and powerless mummy watched her jewel get expunged from the earth. None of my many tears could resuscitate him, the community that had a hand in his death offered apologies, word that couldn’t raise the dust that sat over his head. Your father, in an act of retaliation against the cheat that death is, made me gravid three times after you left the earth. Not that I am not happy with my life, but you added a special colour to my rainbow.
It’s not right that we remember the dead with sad tales, especially when their life brought so much joy to our feeble heart, and their death opened our eyes to the little we know of life, happiness and everything in-between. The scars they leave behind could be an insignia, so that you value the life we have like we are holding an egg, easy and delicate, but never too delicate because it might just fall of our hands.
In the end, death is my friend, and in due time he will take me to you.
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God over everything.