How Invaluable Can Life Be?
If anyone told me that I’ll lose a loved one to viruses which I’ve been studying in the university, I’ll call it the biggest lie of the century. I will gather strength to discredit such person and maybe dissociate from such Harbinger of Death. But here it is, 33 days later and I still hope, pray fervently that all and everything of these past months should be a dream, one I will wake up from and regard as devil’s antics to destroy me.
My name is Ololade Edun and this is not your usual story. I pray you find solace and the peace of mind COVID took from me while reading this. I am your average student, my dream was to graduate and land myself a job in a Microbiology firm – Cocacola, Promasidor, GlaxoSmitheKline, just name it.
Yet in just a few months to my graduation, this virus took the one dearest to me – my Mother.
Mààmí was the kindest woman I know; she was an easy-going person, on Sundays she’d gather her kids and grandchildren and neighbour’s wards to tell the evening stories – A mixture of African tales, unheard fables and morals.
Everyone in Ọjà Balogun loved Mààmí, yet when she felt sick we assumed it was the general hassles of the market taking its tolls. Mààmí agreed to stay at home for a few days but what started as a mild cough graduated to angina hence aggravating her cardiovascular disease.
I remember her last days on earth like it was yesterday, even on her sickbed Mààmí forbade us from crying, she told us she would be fine, that it was just a phase – a phase she never recovered from. Mààmí never lost her smile even on her deathbed, she was proud of the life she lived, Mààmí knew she won’t be remembered for ills or when telling the tales of those who lived a woeful life.
We were not allowed visitation in the isolation centre until the day she drew her last breath. My sister and I made the premises of Yaba our second home watching the officials in their white protective bags ferry patients into the buildings on stretchers and hours later a body in a black bag come out. It was like the angels forgot that a planet called Earth existed, families curl and hug each other daily in this place – some wear a smile like a new perfume as their family member tested negative and is released to go home, others like us had no better consolation news, Coronavirus complicated Mààmí’s condition, she stopped fighting for her life late on a Friday evening.
The doctor on duty said Mààmí rejected to be placed on a ventilator on her last days, I was angry with her for not considering our feelings, Mààmí was too obstinate to the extent of refusing doctor’s order, I wanted to blame her for giving up so quickly.
Five days later when her body was released to us, an old nurse walked up to us, she said Mààmí firmly suggested that her own assigned ventilator be given to a baby – a premature newborn who came a few weeks earlier than the due date.
“Your Mother gladly sacrificed her health for a baby,” the Old Nurse said, “We don’t see people of such trait often in this place, she wanted me to tell you that she is proud of the young, morally upright teenagers you both have become.” The Nurse recounted while patting my back gently.
I let those tears drop freely as I held tightly to my sister – more like if I lessen my grip, she’d slip away from me just like Mààmí did.
If I learnt anything from this COVID-19 pandemic, it is to appreciate every second I have and those I share it with. That no one can guarantee the next moments.
I miss Maami hence I pray to God to heal the world.
About The Author
Ololade Edun is a contemporary Nigerian creative and a graduating student of Microbiology. His works have featured and forthcoming in anthologies, blogs amongst others. He has interests in the areas of Medicine, Literature, Sciences, and Leadership. He is a Parliamentarian, Author, a finalist with the Tobi Coker Writing Competition and a former Editor-in-Chief of NAMS OAU. When he is not writing from his little cottage in Ilé-Ifẹ̀, Ololade is either in the laboratory culturing microbes or drowning in Indian/Pakistani playback songs.