You ask me how I feel?
I don’t know what I am supposed to feel; I just buried a brother few days back and he didn’t die from coronavirus; I am quite sure of that. My brother was never sick; he was only hic coughing. That is all he did until he passed on suddenly overnight. It was a hic cough he had had for more than three months. He went to the general hospital and they gave him some drugs, I don’t know what drugs but he was on medication. Apart for that, he never complained about headache nor did his wife say he had any fever. It was just hiccough, I ever knew anyone could just die from hiccoughing…though it was a prolonged one, it was most irritating too, because on the days I visited him, he couldn’t even complete sentences without hiccoughing.
But here we are today, his wife told us overnight, he was hiccoughing uncontrollably, he died afterwards and has been buried according to Muslim rites.
So back to your question, what do I feel? And I know why you asked that.
To be honest, I don’t know whether I should be afraid or I should prepare for my own death. Huh?
I mean, we will all die, which is when someone close to you dies, it reminds you of your own mortality but ours is particularly of concern because my brother would be the fourth sibling of 6 of us that had died, died sudden deaths.
The first was my elder brother, that was about 18 years ago; he was already married too; he came back from work one day and refused to eat; he complained about stomach ache; he was stooling, vomiting and before the night was out, he just stopped talking by morning he was dead!
Our mother almost lost her mind!
My brother was her favorite child; the one she calls her ‘husband.’ To date, I still really wonder, was brother poisoned at work? did he partake in any taboo? I really don’t know. I know he was stooling and vomiting, which, let’s be fair here, no one thought much about it, I stool and vomit when I eat food that doesn’t agree with my system; the scary part was, stooling and vomiting and not talking any more, by morning, he was gone at 4pm that same day, as Muslims, he was buried, so no, we didn’t do autopsy; we took it as the will of Allah!
Two years later, we lost our only sister; that one was just complaining about a headache; no she wasn’t married, she was still a student at school. It was a headache, no body thought much of it; if you have a headache that is strong, take Alabukun, that was what our mother gave her to take; at that time, my sister was preparing for her exams, so our mother said the headache was because she was studying too hard for exams…hummn, my sister died one week after complaining of continuous headache…again; it is forbidden for a mother to bury her young but that one made our mother mad! As in mad like a mad woman…very sad, what our mother has gone through.
My younger brothers are twins…they are the last born children of our mum; they were playing outside the house, there was a well not far from where they were playing; Taiye fell in, Kenny went in to rescue him; we lost Kenny, Taiye survived; they were four years when this happened.
So maybe you should be asking me what my mother is thinking…to lose one child…then two, then four…I know my mother may not last long, one human being can only take so much.
As for me, there is a fear…four siblings died mysteriously. I don’t feel safe. I am afraid, I am wondering, what would it be for me? Would I know when my time is up? Is there a force that wants to punish our mother by taking all her children? did our parents swear an oath that has now backfired? Is there anything I can do or anything my siblings could have done to prevent them passing so suddenly, so quickly?
My sister, I have no answers. I am clueless…
I know that Allah knows best…so that is what I feel right now, that there is a God and he knows best. Thank you.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)