Indisputably, Death’s supreme power lies mostly in its permanence.
She bade farewell to the last visitor, it had been a long sad day. They had come home straight from the church service while the others accompanied Naomi’s body to her final resting place.
The house was quieter now so she could hear her emotions clearly – Sorrow and Regret. The former was expected and the latter despite its futility amplified the former.
In the Seventies, people weren’t so careful about these things, love was all that mattered. If they had both known about their AS genotype would they have still gone on with the wedding? She tortured herself with questions requiring answers past their sell-by dates. Expired common sense.
The past is another country, even if she were magically issued a visa to travel back could she even consider a life without him? It was hard to imagine now, their paths seemed so intertwined after 25 years of marriage. Still, how does one let go of a twenty-one year old daughter forever?
Oh! How she blamed herself, with each painful crisis she was taunted by the sickle-cell disorder that lived inside her daughter’s body rent-free. Her sweet Nana, so full of promise and with a radiant future bursting at the seams with dreams. What does one do with the memories of a child?
Her grief made her tremble sometimes, it was like an overgrown fist pressing against her chest till she was breathless. Sleep brought sweet escape, but some nights it only released visions of that terrible day at the hospital when Naomi passed on. She’d whispered that the pain was unbearable and her bones felt like fire.
She walked into her daughter’s bedroom, the emptiness always made her heart stop, it resembled an open mouth that wouldn’t shut.
The large basket sat in a corner of the room, the sort peddled by Hausa traders and made from tightly woven raffia strips. Its squat shape reminded her of pot-bellied politicians. She pulled it to the centre of the room, removed the hat-like lid and offloaded its content.
She knelt in the middle of yards of colourful silks, laces, chiffons, organzas, satins and cottons. A lush fabric throne. She laughed softly at the sight of the Adire with an indigo batik pattern that she’d gifted her daughter.
Naomi loved to sew, her delight with each creation was so infectious. She smiled at the memory.
“Mummy, please help me hold the fabric, I need to cut lengthwise”
“Mummy, what do you think about this design?”
Her eyes filled with tears. She heard her husband’s footsteps. He took in the scene. “Obi’m, it’s alright” He said gently, patting her shoulder affectionately. She wiped her tears, shot him a brave smile and began to fold each fabric carefully before placing it back in the basket.
The basket of dreams, full of unfinished business.