By Sunmola Olowookere
This is the concluding part of the story that started last week about a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal disease.
All humans, no matter how sweet or sour their existence may be, will at a point accept the indisputable fact that death is an inevitable end to all living creatures. It is an effective system of recycling and cleansing in which it takes out the old and tired and replaces them with the new, refreshed and energetic.
Death in itself is scary as only few men, if any can confidently aver what awaits them after their spirit and soul step out of the mortal body.
Most of us are afraid of the uncertainty that awaits us when we die.
In this vein, just imagine how a woman who was diagnosed with a terminal disease would have felt to have been handed that slip of paper that contains her death sentence. If it had been you, how would you feel if you were diagnosed with a terminal disease?
Can one who is not affected be able to really empathize with this woman who is about to have the rest of her life cut short?
The first Sunday service after the diagnosis was not comfortable for the family as some well-meaning people at the church who had been told about the situation so they could pray for her offered sympathetic noises in the form of “whatever will you do?” “How are you going to manage?” While the praying team were asking God for healing, others had practically buried her!
She could no longer walk and she had to make do with the wheel chair. Her cousin, Alaba was the one taking the kids to school as the car was not automatic and she could no longer speak without embarrassing herself as the words would come out garbled together. So she had to write her conversation for people to read.
She missed her children’s companionship so much and a really ugly emotion surfaced-jealously. Alaba who understood her lovingly bore the brunt of her jealously without complaint.
It only succeeded in making her feel worse. One day, she was lying on the bed, feeling sorry for herself when her eldest daughter walked in and standing beside her bed, she asked soberly. “Mummy, are you really going to die? Lovingly drawing her closer she managed to croak “who told you?”
Because she was such a sensitive kid, she was able to decipher her words. Sniffing indignantly, she answered.”Lade pulled my hair at break-time, and when 1 slapped her she said her mother had told her you will soon die,” she stated with the righteous indignation of a six year old.
But with fear for her mother’s health overriding her indignation, she asked anxiously, her eyes round and huge with apprehension. “Is it true that you will soon die?”
Managing to swallow past the lump in her throat as sobs threatened to burst forth, she shook her head tremulously in negation and drew her daughter to her bosom. While the little girl heaved a huge sigh of relief closely wrapped in her mother’s arms, the woman marveled at people’s cruelty and wickedness.
Suddenly she felt as if she could see a future emerging in which she had no part. Everybody would be happy except for her. She wondered whether God wanted her out of the way so that everyone else could be happy.
She felt very bitter and angry with God for knocking her down when she was just getting to her feet. For weeks, she was enveloped with gloom. One day, she wheeled herself outside and staring into space.
She queried God silently.”Why was it that you had knocked me down like this? With the encouragement and help from friends, she was able to break from the web of gloom. With her predicament, her husband’s spiritual strength waxed stronger and he was always there for her at the later stages of the disease.
Logically, she started makings plans for her own funeral. She listed the hymns that were to be sung. One of them was “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my redeemer’s praise.” Before, she was bitter but now she had come to terms with the state as she glorified her maker in it.
She professed herself to be happy because when they sing those songs at her “Celebration of life” She had refused to call it a funeral, she would be able to join in as she would be free of the shackles of MND. Her spirit would sing and dance.
She implored her husband to feel free and marry again to provide a mother for the girls. She was totally giving and selfless. Leke could only look on as tears ran down his face.
Before she died, she touched the lives of everybody around her positively.
On Christmas day, Debola passed away quietly in her sleep. At the celebration of life organized in her honour, people marveled at such paragon of virtue. Her deeds lived after her and many would remember her for her sunny disposition towards the end of her life despite her situation.