by Azuka Jebose
Let our mother depart from here to a better comfortable and dignified place. Please give her eternal rest this year. She has no reason to live in pain and penury any longer.
The New Year (2013) is moments away. I thank You for the ending year. As we begin another year of wishes, I write these with a hurting heart on behalf of my brothers and sisters whom I love dearly and pray that you would this year, soonest too, end the life of our terminally ill mother. The new year would be the fifth season of her being paralyzed by stroke, bedridden, sore, daily agony of pain, torture and hopelessness. Our mother is weaker at each sunrise and helpless at every sunset. She is waiting to die in the most undignified and traumatic circumstance. No family deserves this endless days of sorrow, watching their loved one, especially their mother, being ravaged and tortured by the illness. She is not able to help herself with basic necessities of everyday living: she needs assistance with feeding, bathing, bowel movement and living. She is incontenent.
Our mother, ‘Mama Reggie’ as she is affectionately called, was blasted by stroke in June 2008. The first stroke partially paralyzed her face and her right brain, numbing her right arm and leg. Through intensive care, we were able to reposition her shifted face and restore some feelings to her arm and leg. We also continued medical treatment as recommended by doctors in Lagos. Medically, a stroke patient has a four hour period to get to a hospital in order to regain almost all body normalcies. That medical miracle would never work in a place such as Lagos, a city with the highest number of undisciplined motorists and road users deliberately responsible for preventable traffic gridlocks in that city.
God, in August, ‘Mama Reggie’ had a second stroke attack. Three days after the incident, my elder sister, Buchy travelled to the village to tell our dad that his wife of nearly 48 years had suffered another stroke. On the evening of August 28 after dinner, Buchy painstakingly informed our father of mama’s fate: he screamed and retired to bed. The next morning, he was found gasping on the floor of his bedroom: few minutes after they rushed him to the village clinic, he died!.
Six months after Papa died, I returned home to begin burial passages for him. The family had kept my dad’s death from our mother. I did not agree with this decision. I wanted them to inform her because if the shock of papa’s death was going to end her life then, I needed for that to happen so I could bury them within days. But my family over ruled my ‘western reality’. They pleaded that there were hopes Mama Reggie would break from stroke and live normal again. I didn’t want to dash their hopes, so I respected their wishes and queued into their game plan of keeping the news out of her ears. When I visited her at my younger brother’s house , Dennis, at Satellite Town, she wanted to know why I was visiting again since it had been just less than a year when I came to Nigeria. I told her that her husband was also ill and I had returned to care for them.
The family held meeting thereafter. I opted for an aggressive medical treatment but my family argued we had been trying orthodox medicine that didn’t work. Someone had recommended a traditional healer of stroke disease in a remote town near Ubulu Okiti, Delta State. Arrangements were concluded before my arrival to take our mother to this village for immediate treatment. The only thing needed was financing from me. I reluctantly signed on but warned that if her condition didn’t improve within six months, I would cancel all trial and hearsay native doctor treatments. Two days later, I chartered a vehicle to transport our mother and my younger sister, Nwanne, to this village for experimental traditional herbal treatment of stroke.
After our father was buried, I returned To the United States to begin mourning and regrets of separation from my 18 year marriage. Life was rubbishing me. Daily existence and the depressions of life flogged me from all corners. Briefly, I abandoned the care of our mother to Buchy and other members of the family. I needed to rescue myself from the torments of separation and being a stranger to my children.
Through these times, Buchy carried on with the care of mother. She also, alongside our aunt and uncle’s wife formally told our mother that dad had died.
Our mother went through various native treatment homes and villages. Every stranger or human that cared would hear of an extra ordinary healer, and then recommend we tried that. Buchy would rush mother to the new healer but the end result was the same. The family is frustrated. Our mother has become a guinea pig for unorthodox failed faith and herbal healing and traditional medicine: we have tried all faiths and cures. Mama is still paralyzed and in vegetative state. No one should live this way. No human should go through this daily gruesome punishment. Our mother is a beautiful human, a care giver to others, a devoted mother and wife loved by other members of the family and the village. Today she remains useless, in absolute pain, helpless, barely audible and dependent on the mercies of her care giver and us: she has also become a poster child of failed spiritual and orthodox Nonsense. Every day, she lives inhumanly and humiliated.
Her ailment has challenged us his children financially and emotionally. Occasionally we had come close to heated disagreements but the bond foundation that our parents laid in the beginning has kept us from falling apart. We have found some ways to stick and stay together, agreeing that it’s time we ask you, our merciful God to please end her suffering on earth. Let our mother depart from here to a better comfortable and dignified place. Please give her eternal rest this year. She has no reason to live in pain and penury any longer. She has earned the privilege to live in you righteously, humanly and comfortably. God, give our mother eternal peace Now.
Azuka Jebose is a US-based journalist.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.