“A question that always makes me hazy is it me or are the others crazy”
Albert Einstein

If I wasn’t the one living my life right now, I wouldn’t believe that Nollywood drama happens in real life.

I can’t type out a whole sob story for you without boring you to death so I will summarise it in this way.

  • my siblings and I were orphaned some 5 years ago
  • we had faced mum’s cancer alone.
  • I spent endless hours in the hospital. I walked home alone at night. In this country, statistics show that I should have be dead or a victim of brutal rape.
  • I slept on an empty stomach.
  • Not one of the people I considered close family, including my mum’s sisters, lifted a finger to help me. No phone calls. No help. No support. No word. No money. I lie. I got one sms from my mum’s one sister telling me God would give me strength to deal with the situation. Me. The unemployed young girl who had just lost her mother. I was in a foreign country alone.
  • I pleaded for help from my family. None came.
  • My friends and complete strangers helped me through the darkest time of my life. Strangers arranged and paid for the funeral.
  • I went through a long period after where I survived on porridge only. I couldn’t afford anything else. I tried to get a job.
  • I received eviction notices every 2 days.
  • I pleaded for help. None came.
  • My hair started falling. I cut it.
  • I looked for a job on foot until my feet literally turned black. Literally. The blisters that appeared even between my toes turned black
  • I called to tell them that things were difficult.
  • My family never asked me where I was or offered me help or asked how I was living.
  • I nearly gave up.
  • God would not let me.
  • I was living by grace.
  • One day, my phone rang. it was an invitation to come for an interview.
  • I got a job. I told no one. They didn’t ask.
  • I did well at my job.
  • I started looking after my siblings.
  • They didn’t ask where I was.
  • I stopped calling or smsing.
  • Noone was bothered.
  • 2 years ago, I randomly got an sms telling me that I probably couldn’t get a job and other family members were having bad luck because I hadn’t buried my mum properly.
  • They didn’t ask how I was doing.
  • I occasionally sent messages to ask how people were. No reply.
  • I invited my cousins for Christmas. They came. “Is this where you live??? You bought a car!!!! You have a lot of food in your fridge!”
  • Ordinary achievements but more than they thought. They had never asked.
  • One cousin pulled my sister aside and asked her what I earn. “I don’t know” she replied. “Can’t you try to estimate from how much she spends in a month?”
  • Then Christmas was over and they were gone.
  • Then the random messages started coming…please call urgently.
  • I called. “I need money to start a business.” “I need cash for groceries.” The amounts requested were beyond extravagant.
  • I genuinely could not help.
  • 5.5 years after the death of her sister and my mother: The woman who gave up school to put her through school. My aunt sent all my cousins to tell me to call her. “It’s an emergency” they said.
  • I called.
  • I called the woman who never offered condolences. The woman who never asked how I was. The woman who would not recognise the lines on my face now nor I the lines on hers.
  • “Your mother comes to me in my dreams over and over. She asks me where her children are.”
  • I see. I replied.
  • She sounded so warm. So cheerful. So loving. Just like an aunt should sound.
  • I was warm and polite. Just like a niece should sound.
  • I told her I would see whether I could visit like she was asking to talk about the things she thinks should be done. 5.5 years later.
  • I wished her well.
  • I hung up.

Something pushed me over the edge after I hung up. Perhaps it was that she dared to sound like she was doing this for me. Perhaps that it took 5.5 years for her to ask where I am and what I do. Perhaps that bitterness I felt on my mother’s behalf but that I refused to acknowledge. Perhaps the pain of their rejection when I needed them most that I put away in a box. Perhaps I never thought the call would happen. Perhaps its how much this feels like Nollywood. Perhaps the hurt I have buried for so long will no longer be hidden. I remembered the hunger. The endless hunger. The loneliness. Identifying my mum’s body. 4 doctors sitting me down to tell me there was nothing to be done. Washing her every night. Carrying her to the toilet. Pushing her to the hospital in a wheelchair because I couldn’t afford to hire a cab. The chemo. She spit u small chunks of the tumour. The bills. The hallucinations. How she would spit blood every few minutes. Waking up at night everyday to check that she was still breathing. How one day she told me that sometimes she pretends to sleep because she knows I will sit quietly in the corner until she does. How she kept saying I’m dying, the day before she did. I took her to the hospital in a wheelchair. It was drizzling. I stayed until 11pm. The next day, they didn’t let me in at visiting time at 10am. I walked home at 11am.  When the hospital called to say she had passed at 1145am. When the nurse asked if there was an adult to help me with the process. I was so skeletal, I looked much younger than my 24 years.

They don’t know. They never asked.

Are we meant to pretend this never happened?

I cried. I cried and I couldn’t stop. My heart hurts so badly. I am taking a break off work tomorrow. I need to regroup. I can’t get her sweet, caring voice out of my head. I cant get the pain out of my heart. Her voice stabbed me.

I need to regroup.