When Loss Comes Calling…
Nene walked outside that morning, with nothing in her head, and a very heavy heart. The feeling that morning; it was like being in limbo; if limbo can be described as a “feeling of nothingness”.
It made her remember the time she fell ill and had to have an appendectomy, and was in such pain she could not recognize anyone. It was like floating in a sea of several things and nothing all at once, trying to hold on to something, and being unable to. Just that, this was far worse.
At the Doctor’s on Wednesday, her mind was whirling with plans for end-of-semester and preparations for Law School in October. She stood there with her Mom, and took it all in, hoping for the best.
She had called her friend, who was closer to her than a sister, earlier to talk to her about the biopsy results. Her friend said to her, “You know, it’s neither here nor there. It’s 50-50. You need to be strong, for yourself, for everyone”.
For the first time that year, she cried. Not great heaving sobs. Silent tears. With each tear that dampened her lashes and soaked her eyes, hope trickled out of her. Like a little brook trickles out into a river (but without the cheer), it leaked out of her, and formed a pool of sorrow around her feet, around her existence.
She felt strange, yes, but she did not think about it. Somehow, she fought the blankness; she fought the fear and uncertainty that wrapped around her like a blanket. She fought the fog that these things caused to swirl around her. She fought to get to light, to sunshine, and walked toward the salon to take out her braids and wash her hair.
She took out her braids, and ran her hands “absent-mindedly” through her curls. She decided to cut off all her hair and “go natural” with it in February when anxiety made her hair start falling out in huge clumps. She felt much better when she stopped getting relaxer treatments, and found that she could think clearly, and could help her mother more around the house.
She walked back home, slowly, a little more self –aware than when she left, but still feeling mostly nothing.
Halfway home, she felt a chill. She stopped walking and stood there for a while. It was bright and sunny, and there were no rain clouds in sight. So why did she feel so cold? Why did her head feel like it was swelling?
‘Hi there. Are you all right?’ Someone was saying something to her. She did not hear it.
She walked on. Her phone rang just as she got to the gate.
‘Hello?’ It was her brother.
‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. ‘Why do you sound like that?’
‘Hello?’ Bobo, are you there?’
‘It’s Daddy’ he said, and sobbed. ‘Daddy has left us’.
She could not hear anything else. The line went dead.
She stood there, eyes brimming, head swimming.
Is this why she had felt that chill walking back from the salon? Is this why her head had swelled like a ripe melon? Is this why she could not hear anything?
Feeling returned to her now. In a rush. Blindsided by loss, feeling seeped back into her. Pain, hurt, anger, confusion, worry, and sadness. She thought of her Mother, still in hospital with her Father, now en route Heaven (she refused to entertain any contrary thought in this respect).She thought of her brother and sister, both in final year. How would they manage with paying their fees and covering his expenses for the year?
She thought of all of the suffering her father had gone through. Pain from the surgeries- three of them. Disorientation and drastic weight loss from the chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The fear and anxiety with which he struggled, and in the end, the effort to call herself, and each of her siblings by their names, as he looked at them through a haze of drug-induced pain.
The numbness went away, and a rush of feeling came calling. Loss came calling, like an ill wind that bears no good.
Loss comes calling at the strangest of times. When Loss comes calling, it does not give you room to prepare. Even when you know what the end could be, you are left reeling.
When loss comes calling, you are blindsided.
Loss came calling, and Nene let it wash over her. She embraced it. Through tears, it came to her. The thought that to survive this, she would have to ford this river of sorrow that pooled around her. She would need to wade across it, to arrive triumphant on the dry land that is Victory.