By Amarachi Okpunobi
Nelo struggled with the help of mummy and sat on the bed. The nasal tube trailed behind her like a shadow. The oxygen cylinder was placed by her left hand side and the electro cardiogram hung on the wall just above the cylinder. The top of the patient’s table was filled to the brim with beverages and drugs like a counter in a patients drug dealer shop. That contributed to the rather seemingly unpleasant air I breathed. I felt like throwing up. I coughed out several times but nobody paid attention. Then the nurse gently jammed the door and left.
Mummy and other family members surrounded Nelo. Doctor had said she only have few days to stay, she was too weak to undergo another series of chemotherapy procedure. Mummy was in tears but had to fake the smile to cheer her up. Tears was going to be too dramatic and pathetic for the situation. Her fifteen year daughter is left at the mercy of leukaemia.
Daddy had to be a man, likewise Jide. Daddy had said boys don’t cry, it’s a sign of weakness and that it makes such a boy a cowardice. Jide just had to hold back the tears even when his heart was falling off. Not in the presence of Daddy, no, not all.
Mummy kissed Nelo severally and kept positive, ” you will soon leave this bed and come back home, I know you are strong my baby”. She almost bursted out in tears. Daddy patted mummy on the back and Nelo smiled at the both. We all knew she will soon be gone, but vehemently hoped a miracle could happen. Yes! We hoped for that little light that will shine at the end of the tunnel.
Nelo was diagnosed of leukaemia for sometime now. Prior to this, she would have series of crisis in the school and slump. Most times, one may be talking with her and in a twinkle of an eye, she would demonstrate sudden weakness and the next minute she’s in the sick bay. The school medical team did well, they will resuscitate her and she will come back to normal. Day after day, Nelo began to depriciate. Mummy became so worried and so everyone of us. Test after test hard to be ran, then it was leukaemia.
Initially, she lived only on drugs. They are some days that looked better than the other while others are left at the mercy of God. She was coughing incessantly, with blood out. She looked pale and weak but she was strong. Yes! Nelo is one of the strongest being that I have seen.
In school, mates mocked her of her pitiable health status. Rumours had it that her incessant collapse in school was as a result of the little creature she terminated in utero, while others had it she took pills to flush it out. Some had it that she was suffering from a chronic illness. They may be right in their thoughts but I knew Nelo, she was a heaven sent. She wouldn’t dare do any of things she was alledged of. In as much as she was from a noble home, if any beautiful soul was in a anyway growing in her, termination would have never been an option for the family. The diagnosis cleared all doubt to those who ever cared to know why others lived in their lies.
Nelo was a strong soul. She made every moment count after she found out the truth about herself. It seemed like she found a greater peace in herself.
“Mummy, Dera isn’t here with you?” Nelo asked inquisitively.
“She will be here darling, once she’s back from school”, mummy assured her.
At this point, I felt the pain in my marrows. Nelo used to be the mother in the house when mummy is away. Dera is the last born, she was baby sitted by Nelo.
Tears dripped from her eyes as she looked at mummy. I bet it was a lukewarm tears. Hot, because of the ever supporting and loving family by her sides and cold, for the moments she has missed and would be missing.
I remembered the moments we spent together. The angry times, sad and happy moments. We would fight, should at each other and reconcile. We were more than blood. Nelo loved her family so much. I then went beside her bed, tickled her and smiled at her. Her last words made my skip.
“Take care of Dera and Jide, Mummy and Daddy, when am gone”. That was the last words from Nelo.
Hot tears fell on my hands as I was about to drop the flower on her grave and Mummy leaned on my shoulder. I dropped the flowers and cried out loud as I hugged Mummy.
Till this day, we mourn Nelo. The legacy she has left behind will never be forgotten so easily in my heart. Her name written on the tablets of our hearts will never be forgotten. Continue sleeping dear Nelo.