I found myself staring at the knife again. It shone to the extent that I could see my reflection in it; only it wasn’t my reflection I saw but hers.
The tears came again.
Everything reminded me of her.
Everywhere I looked, I saw her.
Her cute smile and her shiny little teeth…
Her eyes that twinkled like stars.
Her contagious personality…
Every child I saw made me think of the one I had lost.
Sometimes, I got home expecting to see her in our bed; using my make-up as usual, or cradled in the hands of her father. Each time I had to remind myself that she was gone forever.
And the pain never lessened. I could hardly be around kids now. In fact, I had become a recluse; a shadow of my fvormer self.
My home was empty. She was gone. And so was he.
I needed Mo now more than ever, but I had pushed him away.
Mo; my husband…the only one who truly understood the pain I was going through. The only one I wanted to be with right now, but couldn’t.
I was bitter.
I needed comfort. Shirley had died exactly seven weeks ago; we had buried her a week later. I could barely recall what had gone on during the funeral because I had been high on amphetamines.
Yes, there had been friends, family and well-wishers. All of them spitting their jargon about God giving and taking…none of them understood what real pain was. Shirley had been just seven years, an active and beautiful child, why would God take her away from me…from us?
Within the first few days of losing Shirley, I sat and stared in space. I ignored my husband, friends and everything around me. I could sit and stare for hours at a stretch, our home became a refuse dump and I hardly ate, bathed or even spoke.
She had been my only child, the next best thing in my life. She gave me joy. I had given up my career for her and had never regretted it one day.
What was life going to be like without her, brightening our home with giggling and laughter?
Mo had moved out a week ago at my request. I still don’t know why I did that but I had. I can recall vividly how our conversation went:
“Why are you doing this, Kemi?” He had asked. It was one of those days I woke up after dreaming of Shirley. It was past noon; I hadn’t had breakfast or had my bath.
“You want to die with her?” he continued.
I looked at him warily; “That’s not such a bad idea.”
“Then what happens to the rest of us that love you?”
“You weren’t there when we needed you. Why are you here now?” I spat at him with venom.
I watched him bow his head and I immediately regretted what I had said. He had been working and couldn’t make it in time to say good-bye to her.
“I’m sorry.” I said softly.
He looked up at me. There were tears in his eyes.
“You want to hurt me, don’t you?” He asked. “You think I don’t miss her?”
“I’m sorry.” I whispered again. I wanted to go to him but I couldn’t. I hadn’t saved myself yet, how could I save him?
My heart broke as I saw the tears pouring down his face. I knew there was no man that loved his daughter better than my husband did. Shirley had been Daddy’s girl.
“I can’t do this.” His body racked with sobs.
I didn’t understand him.
“You can’t forgive me because I wasn’t there for her.” It was a statement.
I didn’t reply. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t because I had woken up crying so I was out of tears for the day.
“What do you want me to do?” He asked.
The answer came without effort. “Leave.” I said.
He stared at me. “I need you now more than ever, Kems. We need to stay together.”
“I’m only going to keep hurting you.” I said. “I need to grieve alone for now.”
“Or you need to decide whether or not to join Shirley.” He said.
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“I won’t leave you alone. You’re not safe.”
My caring husband.
“I’ll be fine.” I said.
“No. If I leave, I?’ll ask my mum to come and stay with you.”
I shook my head.
The thought of my mother-in-law coming to stay with me would drive me to suicide quicker than before.
So, that was a week ago. Mo left with a few of his belongings but made sure to ask Cordelia my best friend to check up on me every day.
Here I am, staring at a knife on the kitchen sink, missing my family so acutely that I’m considering suicide.
I reach for the knife and then I hear it…