Lifestyle and Health

LIFE AFTER

My little girl had marasmus; my husband had brought another woman home.  One wall of my house was falling. There was no firewood, no water in my kitchen and my one of my cooking stones was missing.
My clothes had been eaten up by rats and my house was full of spider webs. Our bed had no mattress; he had taken it to his new house.
I stood outside my compound and imagined the phase of my life that had just ended. I heard cries, cries of little girls and boys. I heard the screams of distressed mothers, mothers who had woken up to find their children stiff, mouths open and in a state, the state of rigor mortis. I heard women shouting, commanding mothers to make their beds, to hold their babies and all that blab la. I saw blood, sometimes it was gushing out, other times spurting out, many times I saw dried blood. I inhaled smells, of burnt human flesh, of rotting of burns, of urine, pus and poop.
I saw life leave my son. I slept next to him briefly as his body transformed from warm to cold. I felt as he became stiff. I watched as a mosquito entered his open mouth, it didn’t come out. I knew he had died. I didn’t cry. I just sat at the edge of the bed and looked at the ward. I looked at the child at the far co he was awake, at three in the night. His head and left face was bandaged, he had fallen into boiling uji. He would never see, his left eye was gone. A mother on the bed opposite mine was breastfeeding her infant, they had been involved in an accident that left her without limbs, her baby’s skull was deformed. I felt sad for them. A mother had come in at two in the night bringing her three year old daughter; she had an awful stomach ache. They were yet to be seen by the doctor, the girl couldn’t sleep, and the mother couldn’t stop crying.
I was supposed to be sad, I was supposed to cry, and pull my hair. I was supposed to throw myself down and roll over. I didn’t. I was ironically happy. I was happy that my child had rested. How was he supposed to die with half her face burnt? How was he supposed to live without a face and ears and with deformed limbs? It was good that he died. I wanted to live too, not spend my life wondering about him, about his deformed feet, about his nose that had been pulled to the left, about his speech that had suddenly disappeared. I had spent a good part of my life next to him, in ICU looking from a distance. In the ward answering questions, explaining how I would be so careless to let him burn up. I was tired talking of his epilepsy. I didn’t pray, but God had answered me, he was dead and I was happy.

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