Hello guys, here is a continuation from last week’s story.
Congratulations for making it to the last day of this amazing year 2014.
Accept my best wishes for the new year.
As the black Mercedes S550 glided out of the car park heading to the stately mansion of the Onifade family, the passenger seating dejectedly at the back seat made ‘the Call’ that would later save his life.
It was a well-fought battle between the shimmers of the sun and the window blinds in my bedroom as the blind kept out the almost glowing sunlight fighting to impose itself. The birds chimed to signal the dawn of a bright new day. I knew it was morning already but I couldn’t help wondering about the mechanism or science behind sleeping and waking up. It’s one of those things that God decided to dumbfound man with. You sleep and you wake up, well; that’s if He wills that you should be part of the day, because so many sleep and sleep to eternity. I have come to accept the conclusion that it is not your choice to make if you want to wake up. No my dear, believe me, it is not. It is the exclusive preserve of God.
The silence is so loud and I’m basking in its paradise but right now I need to pray. You know, thank God for the grace to make it to a new day. Just so you know I’m an avid God lover. I fan Him like my son fans his English football club, Arsenal.
I know it’s my closeness with Him that has seen me through this past last short four months of my life. Don’t start with the question of how I know this is the last months I’m spending on this round bubble wrap called earth, I just know.
Okay, so before you say it’s not fair, I’ll tell you already. I woke up four months ago, went through my normal routines for the day until I received what I’ve termed ‘The Call’.
I come from a very privileged family and I happened to marry into one too. You know, there’s this thing about a family name especially the very famous and rich ones. It sets you apart, opens and closes doors for you, you become the subject of celebrity gist and rumours. The world is always watching, waiting to see what next you can and or will do because it’s all about the family name. So you find yourself living under the shadow of the family name, well, some people don’t really care about it, they psych themselves to be free of the unpretentious burden of bearing the family name. To them, they are free and independent of the name but in reality, this is so not true. The family name follows you like your shadow, always walking in step with you.
I did not marry Daniel (my Big-Dan as I used to call him) because of his family background, no way. You see, I’m one helpless romantic that is crazy about love. Hmmm…I know how odd that sounds especially to this generation where nobody gives a damn about love so long as they can hump into bed and have tons of sex and move on with their lives. My Big-Dan, Hmmm, I don’t want to talk about him now. I don’t want to start crying.
Before you accuse me of holding back information from you, I’ll only say that he died in our own family private jet after it crashed into a rain forest in Brazil years back. So let’s leave it at that.
Wait, why I’m I telling you about my family again? Thought I was talking about ‘the Call’, well, maybe I just wanted to tell you about the love of my life, my husband, Daniel Onifade. Technically he’s no longer my husband because he is dead now.
Okay! Back to ‘The Call’. I left the Country after the call, no; not into hiding neither was I in self denial. I just needed closure to deal with the reality that hit me. I will be different from that day on. You know this feeling you get when you receive a call from your best friend of 35 years who happens to be your personal physician and you are told, ” sorry dear, I have bad news, I’m supposed to come and tell you this face to face but right now I’m preparing to leave for the airport. I hope you understand. Are you alone? I’ll suggest you sit down if you are standing, ” and she ends the call with “I love you, please don’t do anything stupid until I come see you next week when I’m back from this conference. Dr. Toluwani will counsel you on what to do until I get back. Try and be calm, stay around your family and friends, try not to think about it.”
The news left me dumbfounded. The irony of this few minutes is that she tries to make you comfortable, “…I’ll suggest you sit down…” before she slams you with the news that takes away your breath for almost 20 good seconds, so you have to force yourself to breath, try and stay calm if you can, banish the panic attack that springs up in hope of consuming you, shut down your brain from drowning in it and wait for the other news that will hit you. I have learned that there is no soft landing board, no devised good way for cushioning and breaking bad news because in the long run it will not deflect or reduce the effect or impact the news will have on a person. It is best delivered the way it is; steamy hot and nothing more pretentious. And she finally ends the call with”…I love you…”, well, cut out the friendship tag, she’s my doctor and it’s all sentimental bullshit (sorry for my choice of words). I’m terminally ill and I have just about two more months to live from the six months I was told by my friend-doctor. It’s sad. I have visited several hospitals outside the country to obtain a second opinion of the diagnosis but it’s still the same old news that I get.
My family, that’s my Son and my only surviving daughter has been in the dark about my health, I didn’t want to bother them because I thought I could find my way round this hideous thing eating me from my inside but now that the pains have increased and the many pain relievers have failed in their task of numbing it, I have made up my mind to share my pain with them. It will probably be healthy if they start preparing for my permanent leave of absence.
I have been researching on how best to help a family on the precipice of grief and it starts with letting them know how much you love and cherish them because they will forever remain your family no matter the differences you all share.
It’s this last good days you’ll want them to remember, it’s the gift of this awesome memories that you want them to keep. The verbal displays of affection.
It’s time make ‘the Call’.
I had just finished a meeting with my board of directors when he called to say in the most distraught voice I have heard, “Bishop I am dying, it is finished, she is gone”.
A brief silence followed as I tried to make sense of his rushed words.
“Where are you?” I asked as I quickly made up my mind to go see him.
“I am heading home.” He replied.
“Okay; take it easy, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I said as I summoned my driver.
Sitting at the back seat of the blue 2014 Range Rover Sport that was gifted me by my beautiful fiancé, Tosin on my birthday, I wondered what would have happened, who would have died?
Since I did not bother to ask him during the call, many probabilities ran through my mind. Unable to settle for any of the many crazy thoughts that my head was processing, I gave up. Even in my intermittent state of mind I prayed that Mrs. Onifade was not dead because she has been the only person in all of the scenarios that played in my head that I could think of. Mother and son were so close.
This however is not to overlook the other important figures in his life, his pretty sister, Ayobami who is a famous career economist working with the world bank and his always smiling with a dimple fiancé, a highly respected public relations manager and consultant. They both mean the world to him but by my own ratings I’ll rate them below his stunningly beautiful mum. She just returned from her holiday trip abroad where she went on an impromptu world tour. That’s what you do when you are staggering rich. Wake up one morning and decide to tour the world. Spoil yourself. This is not to mention the fact that she suddenly resigned as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. She did take everyone by surprise there but like she said, “It’s her life to live”.
I remember the first time I met her, I can never forget it.
I was sitting on the porch with Tito when her official car drove in. She alighted and walked towards us. Tito stood up, gave her a hug and took in her brief case after they engaged in a playful banter obviously forgetting about me. I did not deem it proper to break the banter between mother and son so I did not greet her then. I still don’t know what came over me that day, maybe I had left my manners at home because maintaining my seat I uttered, “good evening ma’am, welcome”. Standing over me with her very imposing figure and with a sudden darkening of her eyes, she thundered, “will you stand up and greet, you disrespectful youngman”. I didn’t know when I scrambled to my feet with my head bowed and prostrated in greeting. She looked at me, sighed and went inside the house muttering some words under her breath.
God! I’m not a kid so why would I be afraid of this woman.
She was a woman of authority. She had that effect on people.
Tito got back, saw how tensed I was and asked what had transpired between his mum and I. I told him, he laughed and said jocularly, “sorry, but next time you will know how to greet your elders”.
I took my leave suddenly, coming up with an excuse that I needed to get something for Tosin at the food store which Tito knew was a lie but he didn’t stop me from leaving. I stayed away from his house for about two months before I finally summoned up courage to stop by the house.
Well, believe me, I prostrated in greeting to her Lordship before she had the chance of scolding me.
“Hey, young man, stop calling me ma’am. My Name is Funmi, just Funmi or if you can’t call me that then Mrs Onifade will do just fine” She said in a very avuncular manner that made me wonder maybe this is surreal.
Oh! She smiled too.
Tito walked in and made the introductions but I could not relate the personality of this Mrs Onifade and the tall, imposing authoritarian I had met about two months back. She is a very easy going woman.
The car drove to a stop as I stepped out hurriedly into the imposing structure that housed the Onifade family.
“Okay mum, anything for you”. I ended the call with “I love right back” as I giggled.
Cool! So my mum sneaked back home from her world tour. This is one surprise I’m looking forward to. I just hope she got me the Chanel jumpsuit I asked her to. She is always full of surprises; my mum. She surprised us all when she suddenly told us she was resigning her job as a Justice of the Court of Appeal four months ago. Then the world tour. Hmmm! My mum of life.
She really needed to take that break. She had gone through so much pain in years past, losing her husband and Ruth, her first born child within the space of one year.
That was more than traumatising.
I remember how she would cry herself to sleep most nights oblivious that we were aware of her pain.
We all did hurt too.
She is a very strong woman, she played the strong grieving woman and mother just to help us through that dark phase in our lives.
She blamed herself for the death of Ruth, she said she wasn’t a good role model for a mother but this I know is wrong. She has been the perfect role model for I and my brother who literally worships her. The mere fact that she did not see Ruth’s suicide coming does not make her any less a mother. I must confess though that mother and daughter did have a frosty relationship, Ruth was insouciant but she loved her anyways.
I still remember it like yesterday. It was a Saturday evening and as it has been the family tradition, we all dined together in the dinning room. “Tito go, call your sister for dinner” dad said. I will never forget the shrill scream that came from her room that evening. Dad was in James Bond mode, climbing the stairs three at a time, taking flight to her room and asking what was wrong. Mum ran out of the kitchen to see what happened. For some reason I don’t know, I was stuck on my seat not knowing what to do. Then I heard her scream; my mum.
It was total pandemonium and shock.
My sister, their daughter had just been discovered hanging from the ceiling fan in her room. Every thing happened in a haze.
The police came, took the corpse to the morgue after asking my dazed parents a series of questions and saying how sorry they were.
Tito who saw her first was taken aside and talked to by one kind police woman who later spoke with me too.
After the incident, Tito and I started having weekly sessions with our family psychiatrist. Dad and mum insisted on it and I must confess it did help.
According to her suicide note, “she was raped by her boyfriend and two of his friends.” She said “she felt like a dirty pig, she could not bear the trauma or stigma and above all she was a big disgrace to her family.” We all mourned her. She was a part of a whole gone too soon.
The useless rapist of a boyfriend who happened to be a federal minister’s son was arrested along side his despicable friends.
We were still moving on from this when we received ‘The Call’.
It was as if death had taken residence in our family. How could dad be dead? Where is our God. I remember mum saying, “This God is not making sense again”, as she wailed. This was more than deja vù, more than we could bare as a family.
The most amazing thing that got to me was that in this dark phase, my mum was strong. Yes! She cried but she cared more about our ability to pull through all the pain emotionally and psychologically. She became our rock. Pointing us to God who according to our sage mother “knows the reason for all things and still remains God no matter what happens even when it doesn’t make sense. All things works together for good for those that love the Lord.” To her it was an era to build and grow in faith.
She looked at the clutter of papers and files on her table trying to make sense of what her secretary is paid to do if she could not organize her table. She really needs to talk to her if she intends to keep her job. This slothful nature is getting out of hand.
To be Continued!
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