My posting has been rather erratic of late and for the most part it's because I've been moving around quite a lot. Late last week I travelled to the south south and after the weekend I went over to the east to be with my friend who recently lost her husband as the burial was early this week. We were kinda in the thick of the village so no internet service whatsoever. I came back to "township" late last night.
The night before the burial we laid in bed and talked late into the night. We were in her husband's family house, in his room, and the last time they were there was during Christmas when they came to the village. I listened to her reminisce. She talked about how they'd just made the bed and bought the mattress and how even though they were in the village, as far as they were concerned they were at The Oriental. She talked yet again, about what a fantastic husband he was. She would tell me little stories about that time he did this and that time he did that. Her voice not solely of one who's mourning but of one who feels blessed to have been privileged to know such a person. She continued to recall little incidents, memories, moments they shared together. She talked, not emotionally, but merely factually, telling me things as they were. Apparently he had many great virtues, which I'd already gathered a while ago. But the part that touched my heart was when she began to talk about the non-virtues, the flaws which she must have once wished away yet now she smiled as she talked about them fondly. She said "Nwando, he wasn't perfect and I used to have madness but when I heard and read about other husbands, I knew I had the best".
And when she said "Life is funny, just when you think you're finally settled, this happens." i wanted to cry.
You see, she was one of those who unashamedly wanted to settle down. It's something I knew right from way back when in uni. Now, there was a little issue, my friend wanted to get married but she was adamant about marrying someone from her tribe. As though that's not limiting enough in this era of few good men, she wanted someone not only from ther tribe, but her state and her village. Yes, he had to be from her village!
I was secretly worried for her. Men indeed were scarce, and for someone who really desired to start her own home ASAP, how was she going to do it. But somehow it happened, even in that (good) husband scarcity, she was found by one just as her heart had desired. Not just from her very own village, but tall, handsome and good in a ramifications of the word.
I've never understood why the good ones die young, it makes absolutely no sense. It makes even less sense that a vibrant young man of 35, healthy and hearty, ambitious and driven, kindhearted yet strong, is here today and gone tomorrow.
We laid in bed in the dark as the gen had long been turned off, and we talked and reminisced. Her in-laws would walk in intermittently with word for her. She was advised to wake as early as 5 and take her bath, because a lot of people would troop in the next day to see the young widow. Therefore, although we were both wide awake, I had to remind her that she had a long day ahead and a very early start, and it was already well passed 1am. She immediately turned over and in a few seconds she was snoring gently.
I on the other hand was up for the next one or two hours. How was she doing it? The last time she was here they were here together and she never imagined that the next time she'd be here it would be with Nwando, or that it would be so soon, or that it would be without him.
I watched my friend don her white dress the next morning and it was a sour feeling. I wondered not just about her but my peers. I remembered us in school, how easy and seamless we thought life would be. Just work hard in school, be good, graduate, get a job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Little did we know that just a few years down the line this thing we call life will spring some crazy surprises. Damn, life has thrown some of us the craziest, most unpleasant curves. How many times have I cried because someone lost a pregnancy, or even worse; a child, a life, a spouse... I don't really understand this thing called life.
A few hours later his body was brought in and that was when it dawned on all that truly, this thing had happened. As he was lowered there was weeping and howling, as expected. The lady beside me looked up to the sky with tears running down her face, and then she smiled and said "It's ok, we are all going there".
There's nothing are definite and inevitable as death, yet I was shaken by those words. Sometimes one wonders what the point of it all is, to be given life only to have it taken.
My darling friend, I'm lost words. I know the road ahead will be tough but then so are you. It breaks my heart to watch you go through all this but I know that you will be fine. I know someday you will find peace and I'm certain that you will be happy again. For now take it a day at a time, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it although you might be strong. Don't underestimate the power of prayer, for as impractical as that might seem, yes praying will not bring him back to give you arms around you when you're cold at night, yet it could bring you strength and comfort in a way no one else can. Find joy in the little things around you, those two little ones are going to need you to be in great mental and physical health, you're all they have for now.
As Onyeka Onwenu sang, only the good die young. God knows best why he called him home early, maybe that little joke we tell little children is no joke after all and Heaven really needed one more angel?
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.