Chiemelie Onyeka Michael
…believes that life in itself is not the routine we carry out on daily basis. It is a plane to live consciously while making very thoughtful decisions. I’m a thinking man and it reflects in all off my writings… On religion, I believe we came with none and as such must downplay the relevance we accrue to things we know nothing about at our formative years. The short story Mother’s Last Days is a commentary on religious impact of values as these affect social life in any contemporary society today.

OTHER’S LAST DAYS

1. I’m sitting in my hospital bed “preying” to the God of Deeper life waiting to have my ovaries removed. They said I have got a strange illness which they wouldn’t tell me the name of at the moment but I know already as I act indifferent still.In a strange way I feel lucky. Up until now I have had no health problems. I’m a 50-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the dirty hall in “Yabba.”
My brother brought me to this decrepit hospital because he claims he has got some type of connection with the doctor.Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of sick people being wheeled by in, others rolled out for tests, and those who have died were taken away peacefully. I wonder if I will be wheeled away peacefully if ever I die. These thought about death scare me.2. My son is a weak man as our eyes lock in holy matrimony and he looks away, I feel his pain. He must have seen death and undeath at the corners of my eye. He doesn’t pray at all but I see his lips chattering and muttering like that of a monkey. He loves me but he wouldn’t go into the grave with me. This is what ephemeral love is all about. This morning, like he has every morning for the last decade brought me some fruits, my daughter Ijeoma came to read me our daily devotional only this time there were tears on her face too. I can hear her question her maker as she breaks down in tears. I want to say to her “Please stand up” but my strength is gone. I coughed loudly and as she turned sharply… “Mama, are you okay?”
I am glad I have completely distracted her, she has cried enough. It is my
problem and people shouldn’t be crying for a problem that’s mine.3. I remember my 47th birthday, I re-read the note my father scribbled many years ago. How I cherish the small talks and the gentle pat on the back as I sit coyly on his laps. After injuring my back during that year where I went to get some sticks of firewood for Mama Obiora, the neighbor next door, I remember I never completely healed from that wound. I kept it to myself. And I was sitting on the front porch of my in-law’s house feeling sorry for myself as I always do, I recall how my best friend Chidiogo called me almost immediately, I cannot explain that telepathic feeling, and suddenly I felt like the lucky one. She knows how to get me snapped out of my problems. I think she has a mirror crystal ball gazer that tells her when I am not
feeling good, and then she calls me almost immediately.4. This morning my husbands have not checked up on me. Heis always busy. Busy doing nothing.He said he has got some “high profile” people to meet in his place of work. Sometimes, I regret that I did not marry the right kind of man, you know there is something very terrible about arranged marriage,and you never get to settle with the bone of your bones. Oh, he is calling on the phone right now but I intentionally act like I am dead. “Dead people don’t pick phone calls.”
Last week, I learnt from a reliable source about the death of my friend Nkechi, I could not attend because I was bedridden, her husband they said, stood up to deliver her eulogy and said, “Life is the leading cause of death, and my wife did live her life, passionately. She died doing what she loved to do. If she didn’t do what she loved, she may not have died, but she wouldn’t have truly lived either.”… Like her, I wonder if I truly lived after my days are over.
5. This morning, the male doctor smiled and said, “You are really a fighter ma, I admire your courage. “Only you can save yourself.”—–I do not know what to make of this compliment so I nod and say nothing. Not a single day has gone by that I don’t pray for him and think of his words. He comes in twice daily to check if I have survived. I think he is doing a mental countdown on my case as he smiles much more than he actually touch me.I like him but he doesn’t look experienced at all. He is always clutching something underneath his arm that looks like a bible. I wish he would put that down sometimes and do some doctor work. I like him all the same.6.
Today, I have a strong feeling of calmness. I feel like I do not belong here and I am done fighting with my edges. Twice I have seen people dressed in white robes singing melodiously and the happiness on their faces indescribable.I recall the words of my Pastor Kumu who I have sent message to of my present predicament but was too busy to come. I think he is preoccupied with holier matters, I saw someone with his face here dressed in white too with colored hair and was screaming ‘hallelujah’.
My Faather is alive but he can barely talk. He lost his ability to walk when he was helping erect some structures for his children in the village. I think his enemies thought he had arrived. Despite this, he continued relentlessly to make sure all our landed possessions were all accounted for, and took care of my mom who was in and out of hospitals because of her constant recurring illness.
My Mother is a strong Christian and she often wondered why bad things happen to good people. Since she heard of my illness she has not stopped calling me on the phone.After her calls, I feel again like a baby.
******** She has got her ways with words as she soothes all the pain away. My mother. oh, my darling mother. She always reminded me how much of a fighter I am and how I was the only female child who survived amidst four dead ones.
I have stopped picking her calls altogether because this time I feel I am going for good. I don’t know where I am going but they all looked dressed in white and singing some hallelujah tunes.I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting patiently for the doctor again. When I look at his eyes, he doesn’t look back, he looks away. He has seen in my eyes what I have seen many days ago. There is a soft tune playing from the memory card reader set brought by my ‘caring’ husband. I can hear people talking in my room but I cannot see them. I hear the voices deep inside my head as they plead,
“Stay with us, please, stay with us.”
I can feel the hand of my son as he screams hysterically. I always wondered if this boy will ever carry on with life if ever I am gone. Today is a miraculous day as the doctor has decided to drop the bible and really touch me. I feel his hands on my clothes, my flaccid breasts and on my ovaries.They all wore grim faces and I am the only one wondering why they are sad.
I AM GOING HOME. HOME IS FAR AWAY FROM HERE. HOME IS THIS MIST TRYING TO TAKE ME AWAY TO A DIFFERENT SHOREThis morning, like he has every morning for the last decade, my son is by my side again. This morning, his face was deeply contoured with sorrow. He was always a weak man and cannot handle pain. And as he placed the flower on my gravestone, he looked at me and said, “I just wish I had picked her a fresh flower every morning when she was alive. She would have loved that too.”WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE THINK OF DEATH?
WE SEEM TO BECOME MORE SPIRITUAL THAN CARNAL? IT SEEKS TO REVEAL US TO OUR TRUE SELF.Death is a personal journey that each individual approach in their own unique way. It sets a person on a mental path of discovery. **************