When I finish telling you this story, please don’t ask me questions because I have asked myself so many questions and found no answers.
I just came back from Ireland where I went to be with my younger sister. She just lost her only child, a boy and no one understands what happened even as I speak.
So, what happened?
My sister got married more than 25years ago and was childless for ten years! As in in all of the 10 years of barrenness there was almost nothing beyond human sacrifice that she did not do. I mean in terms of medical aid.
Tests after tests, examination after examinations, they even did two IVFs that failed; you can’t imagine the devastation they both went through afterwards; from doctors to specialists, from pastors to evangelists, my sister visited them all.
Most of the time, it was her going alone but sometimes with her husband; then they relocated to Ireland in their 8th year of marriage.
It was also mainly because of ensuring they got the best medical aid available in terms of fertility. Thankfully, about two years after they relocated my sister did another IVF, this time, she was able to carry the pregnancy to term and she gave birth to this lovely baby boy!
Everyone in our family was overjoyed!
Gabriel was a perfect child; he was a perfect baby and grew up to be a perfect son; I mean, when he was a baby, I went there to do omugo for my sister because our mother passed a long time ago and as the eldest sister, I offered to go because my own kids were already in the university and I was a widow, so there was nothing to stop me.
Gabe, as his parents called him, didn’t cry at night, you would only hear him when he was hungry. He ate like a horse and grew big in no time, but apart from that, he was a peaceful child.
I followed up with them even after I left Ireland having spent 6 months; they were doing fine and the boy thrived.
I was there again five years after; come and see Gabe, he was just five and he looked like he was 7years, he had strong features, was big boned, wanted to be a rugby player; his mother said no but his father encouraged him.
I remember also telling my sister then that maybe it was time to do another IVF, so that Gabe would have a little brother or sister; my sister just laughed and told me she was quite content with Gabe, in her eyes, he was 7 sons in one.
Over the next few years, nothing spectacular happened just that Gabe followed his dreams and was playing junior rugby at school.
Then last month, last year, ms sister’s husband called me, he said I should start coming to Ireland immediately.
Ogini? What is going on?
He was crying, my mind went straight to my sister immediately, oooooh, my sister is dead, I just began to wail, something has happened to my sister, ooo. Was she ill, did she have an accident? What happened?
But her husband was just crying and telling me I should start coming.
I still had a valid visa so, I understood that it may just be because of that. But I insisted he must tell me what happened because I would not come. Then he said, ‘It is Gabe, sister, Gabe has left us, ooo.’
Now, if he hadn’t been crying, I wouldn’t have fully understood what he meant by Gabe has left us…but you know, in my far away mind, I asked him, ‘Biko, where did he go? Where did Gabe go?’
Maybe, you know, these oyibo kids, maybe he ran away or something. I have seen such things several times on tv.
He just kept saying, ‘He is gone, we have lost him, he is gone sister, you must come quickly, I need you to help Nkeiru, you need to come.’
That was when I died.
When it sank, that Gabe, our child, our golden child, the one we sought for is dead? How? A 15year old boy?
I didn’t get to find out until I got to Ireland four days later.
The Saturday before, the family were lounging in their sitting room; my sister was on the sofa, her husband was on his laptop and Gabe was playing a video game. My sister was doing something on her phone and called Gabe to come and show her how something was done on the phone, he came to her, bent over to collect the phone, collapsed and died!
Just like that! A child of 15years, healthy as a horse!
His parents thought it was a dizzy spell or something, they called emergency, ambulance people came, the boy was pronounced dead, his heart just stopped!
Autopsy report said, his heart stopped! No disease, no sickness…nothing. his heart just stopped!
Biko how does someone’s heart stop just like that wgen it is not using battery?
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)