You have never hurt like this before. Your heart has never ached this bad before. But if you could see through the tears that cloud your eyes, please read this.
I am more proud of you today than I have ever been. I am proud of the fact that you fought for Miebi. You fought long and you fought hard. You struggled with strength, and with fatigue. You wrestled even in your physical exhaustion. You didn’t rest from trying to reclaim the wife of your youth from her affliction.
I remember how I got to know you had been living in the hospital.
You wrote an encrypted post on your Facebook wall. It was vague and weighted with anguish. It betrayed the fact that you were in a desperate situation. And I messaged you to stay strong and weather the trial.
Days later you reached me with a clear report. Miebi has a health complication. She has been on life support for three weeks and counting.
I was shaken. I panicked. I steeled myself to call you.
When you picked, I heard the machine ticking. Ticking. Ticking. My mental script vanished. I scrambled to sound sensible. I uttered what wretched words of encouragement I could afford. Then, I told you I would be praying for her. That I would be praying for you.
After the call, I took a walk to collect my thoughts. I walked in the wild. The birds tweeted in the trees. There, the import of our conversation percolated my mind: Miebie’s life was hanging by a thread.
Processing that didn’t make me cry. It made tears drop out of my eyes. Trickle down my face. And touch my lips with a taste of salt.
I couldn’t do more than wish a prayer. I wished for a reversal. For a return to normalcy. For Miebi to recover and breathe on her own. For your life with the love of your life to begin again.
I made a case heavenward. I murmured that my friend was young. The only son of his parents. A good guy. He didn’t deserve this.
Nze, I called you sparingly. I couldn’t call as frequently as I would have wanted. The ticking of that machine restrained me. It haunted me with foreboding. It assaulted me with fear.
And when I feared for the worst, I worried more about the girls. How would they possibly live without their mother? How long would they be in the kindergarten before their friends tell them they were supposed to have a mum? How would ask you: Why don’t we have a mum?
I hoped against hope that the matter would be resolved in our favor. At least, for the sake of the innocent kids. But the loss has happened. Miebi is gone.
I can’t presume to grasp the torment in your soul. I am nobody’s husband. I have cleaved to no woman yet. So I have no plausible measure of what such loss could mean.
But I can claim to relate on one point: I had witnessed my uncle lose his wife. She was pregnant with her second child. She died a couple of days to her due date…of an illness that ordinarily should not lead to death.
My uncle was a quivering mass of grief. He bled tears. His eyes turned red. He was beyond consolation.
I imagine that approximates to who you are right now: Crushed. Weak. Despondent.
It’s okay to cry now. Ecclesiastes says one of the times of life is a time to mourn. This is the time to mourn your friend, your wife and the mother of your daughters.
I once lost a girl I loved. The heartache devastated me. I still rue her departure two years after she walked away.
Your loss is infinitely more consequential than that. It’s a death. A final separation.
A conclusive separation like this kind dredges the memory. It brings back the first time you met the stranger. How she impressed you. How you made a girlfriend out of her. How you proposed to her. How she said ‘’the longest poem in the world’’: yes!
But we can be thankful that your love story with Miebi was more than a sum of memories.
Your life with Miebi changed you. It made you the man you would never have become if you had not met her. It made you the man you would never have become if you had met someone else. She was the ideal girl. The only one who matched your idea of a dream wife.
We must be thankful that your union with her yielded two lives. Two girls that represent the younger model of their mother. Two futures God has already penned.
You conveyed Miebi’s translation through a Twitter direct message. ‘’My love couldn’t save her at d end. I lost my wife.’’
When I read that, the title of your book of short stories visited me. The Funeral Did Not End. It reads like a premonition from hindsight.
But Miebi won’t have an endless funeral. Her funeral would never begin. Because death did not have the last word:
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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