When someone you love dies – Part III
EMILY IS NOT BREATHING
My heart began pounding very fast, I was panicking, I wasn’t sure what to do. Resuscitation, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, that’s what I did, then later CPR, and after a while I checked for a pulse and thank goodness she wasn’t dead, I was so relieved, then I started screaming on top of my voice for help.
The tenant next door rushed to the kitchen, coughing from the chocking cloud of smoke, her first words were, “Oh God, not again!”, puzzled I asked her, “What do you mean not again?”, she replied, “I’ll explain later, I need to go get a taxi and rush her to the hospital right away”, then I said, “No need, my car is parked outside, I’ll take her, but please go get Ama Serwaa we’ll take her along”
She was heavy but I managed to carry her, I struggled a little ‘cos she had an ass like a Hippo’. I carefully carried her outside and I laid her on the back seat of my car and asked Emily’s friend to join me, she nodded and said, “Let me go get my son and we’ll be on our way”. Ama Serwaa was already in the car looking down on her Mom all confused about what was going on, she shook her Mom’s shoulder and said, “Maaaa, mama”, she was about to cry but I told her, her mom was just sleeping, she’ll wake up soon.
I almost broke down in tears, I thought to myself, ‘She’s too young to live without her Mother, I closed my eyes for a second and prayed to God to heal Emily.
I looked at my watch, few seconds later she came out and sat next to me, she was about to carry her son on her laps when the little boy saw me, he quickly rushed off her mother’s laps screaming and wailing like crazy, he was yelling and pointing at me like he just saw a ghost! I soon realized what was going on, the little boy I scared the shit out of, was the son of the tenant who was trying to help me take Emily to the hospital and since I scared the little boy to death, he was traumatized and scared to get in the same car with me, his Mom obviously confused about the boy’s behavior, tried all she could but the kid refused to get in the car.
Feeling guilty and in a rush, I told her Mom not to worry, I’ll take Emily to the hospital alone, we exchanged phone numbers and I promised to update her when I get there. I sped off down the road blowing my horn like a siren, speeding through traffic, I nearly wrecked an idiot’s car because he refused to give way for me to pass.
AT THE HOSPITAL
I was at the hospital in minutes, rushed to the emergency ward shouting for help, one nurse came out with a wheelchair, I carried Emily’s motionless body in it and the nurse wheeled her away, I carried Ama Serwaa on my hand and followed the nurse, but I was told to wait at the lounge, all this while I kept praying in my head.
Ama Serwaa started crying when she saw her Mom being wheeled away, she cried for her mother, I tried all I could but she wouldn’t stop breaking down, her tears shattered my heart. I took her outside, bought her ice cream until she got tired and slept on my shoulder. As promised I called Emily’s co-tenant who gave her name as Aisha, I told her the hospital I brought Emily to incase she wanted to come over.
It’s been an hour and I haven’t heard anything from the nurses or doctors, I was only told to get a hospital card and make some payments. But I was growing impatient after waiting for another hour, I was just about to go on a ranting spree when the doctor came out and invited me to his office. He offered me a seat and the first question he asked me was, “What’s the relationship between you and the patient?”, I wanted to say we were just friends but I changed my mind and said, “She’s the mother of my daughter”, he sighed, “Very well, as you can see the situation isn’t getting better, the scans and preliminary tests that we did revealed that the tumor in her head is growing bigger, if this goes on, she’ll soon lose her sight, her other senses will be dull, amnesia will set in, her blackouts will occur more often…”
“So Doc, what’s the way forward right now? What are my options to rectify this situation”, he took off his glasses and said, “The procedure in taking care of her is very expensive, it’s $30,000…”, when Ama Serwaa heard 30 she started singing, “See me I no get 30 billion odo yewu eehh but I got so much love to give you so much love to give you oh na na na na…”, I didn’t realize she was awake, then I started crying looking at her, the doctor looked at us in awe, Ama Serwaa was too young to understand what was going on. I thanked the doctor and told him to do anything in his power to make Emily feel comfortable for now, I’ll foot some of bills on my way out.
Aisha was waiting for me outside, her son was asleep wrapped behind her back, I asked her to join me in the cafeteria and talk. I ordered some snacks and asked her to tell me everything she knew about Emily’s ill-health, when it started, how she’s been doing since, measures she put in place to deal with it, and how Ama has been dealing with it.
She didn’t know where to start, “it all started about a year ago…”, she began. “Emily started blacking out, they first thought it was stress or tiredness since Emily was working extra hard to take care of herself and the baby, but they decided to go to the hospital to check what was wrong with her and after a series of tests it was discovered that there was a small lump growing inside her brain, it was a tumor, it was very small about a year ago, but now it looks like a pebble, Emily told me some few months ago. She cried many weeks after she found out, she had no money for other tests and bills so she started working harder, extra harder than before”.
She began saving up for her daughter’s future knowing that this sickness will one day take her away, she wanted money saved up for anyone who would opt to take care of her baby in her absence. Ama Serwaa, on the other hand, is still unaware of everything that was going on, she was still young and unable to understand her Mom’s situation, but no one has actually told her that her mother was ill, she wouldn’t understand it anyway, they just left her to enjoy her childhood like any ordinary kid.
I had a long talk with Aisha and she told me lots of things I didn’t know about Emily and I was glad Emily reached out to me when she did, I would have missed out on knowing I had a daughter.
The doctor said Emily was fine now but she’ll be admitted overnight for observation and if all is well she’ll be discharged the next morning. I asked her if I could take Ama Serwaa home with me to spend the night with me and also meet her grandma, Emily agreed.
AMA SERWAA MEETS AMA SERWAA
On our way home, Ama Serwaa was asleep at the back seat, she looked very pretty. I was at home minutes later, my Mom stayed up all night waiting on me, she was worried about me and I have been ignoring her calls all day. So she was very relieved when I walked in, she was about to throw questions at me when she saw me carrying a little girl on my chest. She walked around me to look at her face and she exclaimed then asked, “Whose child is that?”, I thought about the question for a while and smiled with an answer, “She’s my daughter”, my Mom knocked my head and said, “Herrrhhhhh Whose child have you gone to kidnap? Kwadwo kwadwo hwɛ biibi yie, wama me pressure kɔ soro”.
You see when you’re trying to tell the truth but you end up laughing or smiling when saying it and the other person starts to think you’re telling lies but you’re not, that was my Mom right now.
I had a long explanation to give so I told her the kid was tired so she should please go to my room and make my bed, she’ll be sleeping with me in my room ‘cos I don’t want her waking up to someone she wasn’t familiar with. My Mom did as I told her to, I tucked my daughter in bed and left the room to talk to my Mom, she deserved an explanation.
Mom was watching the late news when I walked in, I sat next to her and she turned down the volume of the TV. I told her how I met Emily years ago, we dated for about a year before I broke her heart for Maureen, I was young and dumb and stupid, I thought I was living life having fun with any girl that came my way.
Until I met Maureen, Luke introduced me to Maureen, he said the girl was tough and no guy had been able to break her, I took that as a challenge to break her virginity but the opposite happened. I fell in love with her, she locked me down instead and seeing how you liked Maureen the very first time you met her, I decided it was time to stop fooling around and settle down. So I dumped Emily for Maureen and I wasn’t even decent enough to break up properly with her, I sent her a text saying it was over between us.
Years down the line I met Emily at a mutual friend’s party, we started talking and one thing led to another, what happened was, Emily and I always had this vibe between us so when we started hanging out at the party it felt like we never broke up, I kissed her and she kissed back and we ended up having sex. Feeling guilty and ashamed, I left when she was asleep and never said goodbye.
I never heard or saw her again until last week when she started calling me continuously but I ignored her. I finally met her for explanations and she told me she got pregnant after that night, I didn’t really believe her until I met my daughter, she was the exact replica of me and I was convinced she was mine. The best part was she named her after you, she’s also called Ama Serwaa. My Mom’s mood completely changed, she brightened up, I could tell from her eyes that she was extremely happy.
1 YEAR, 2 WEEKS LATER; GETTING MARRIED
“Mom I want you to wear something nice, kindly dress Ama Serwaa up very nicely, I’m getting married today, everyone needs to look beautiful”, my Mom was shocked to hear those words out of my mouth, she asked, “Married to who?”, I laughed and said, “To Emily”, then she said, “aahh but she’s still at the hospital isn’t she?”, then I said, “Yeah she is, that’s where we’re getting married, I’ve arranged everything, it’ll be a small ceremony, I asked her to marry me 2 nights ago and she said yes”, then she said, “Are you okay? You do realize her current condition right?”, then I answered, “I know Mom, I don’t know how to explain this but all I know is I love her and I want her to be my wife, I want us to be a real family, I want Ama Serwaa to have a legitimate legal and biological father, I want her to bear my last name and besides Emily didn’t object so hurry up ‘cos your son is getting married”, my Mom was surprised, she said nothing afterwards.
The previous day I went to see the doctor and the head of the hospital to seek permission to organize a small brief marriage in Emily’s ward and they agreed.
I got people to dress Emily up and make her feel comfortable, and of course the nurses were present to supervise. She was glowing in her wedding dress, she smiled all morning, she was really happy despite her condition. Everyone I invited was present, then the ceremony began, then it got to the exchanging of vows, the priest turned to me and said, “Do you CleDre, take Emily, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”, and I loudly and clearly said, “I DO!”, there were cheers and applause in the ward.
It was Emily’s turn, “Do you Emily, take CleDre, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”, there was silence in the ward waiting for her answer to her vow.
Emily was laying down with smiles on her face, her face didn’t betray her happiness even though her eyes were closed, so we thought she was asleep so I tried to wake her up. I shook her hand for seconds but she didn’t open her eyes, there were murmurings in the room then the nearest nurse rushed to her bed and checked for a pulse. She then asked everyone to leave the ward and wait outside, and we did. She went in for the doctor who spent almost half an hour in the ward. We heard whispers and murmurs but no one knew what was going on.
Everyone looked worried especially my Mom and I , I was just pacing up and down waiting for the doctor. He finally came out and asked to speak to me privately.
“Doc how is she doing?” I asked. The doctor sighed and said, “I’m so sorry, we did everything we could to make her feel comfortable but she kicked the bucket few minutes ago, she’s dead, we are so sorry”
I fell to my knees and began weeping.