Morning’s devotion on that faithful day was Unusual. As little as i was, I could notice that Papa said a prayer that was totally different from his custom Casual prayers which could of course be muttered in one breath “father we thank you for today, forgive us and butter our bread today in Jesus name”. This time, I could feel the heaviness in he’s heart as the words came out slowly_ ‘fa–th-er……..’ I could also remember that he didn’t finish the prayer before beckoning on us to leave the room. It was 5am, not like there were other rooms to go, so we had to settle for the corridor. I could hear dad soliloquizing, he’s voice was broken and i had to know what was going on so I tilted my 4-year old brother’s head a little to give him some comfort while I go check out on our Father. Mum had left us a year ago, still figuring out why because I had never heard an argument between my mum and dad ever since I was born So I guessed her decision to leave was my fault, maybe because I got her upset that day and or maybe she’ll forgive me and come back, well, just maybe. I tiptoed into the room where dad was and saw him with so many drugs, He didn’t see me, i didnt want to intrude so I went back to be with my little brother still wondering if my dad was sick and why he had such drug quantity with him.
Not sure if I had any sleep that day, but when I finally opened my eyes at dawn, the voices I heard threw me off balance. Couldn’t find my brother then I decided to look for him first before finding out the reason for the commotion in my compound. ‘Enobong‘_I heard that name and immediately recognized the legendary husky voice, It was definitely my grandma, but what was she doing here? She only visits at Christmas or could it be Christmas already? The tears from her eyes was enough to refill Lake Chad. “Granny Nsídò” which interprets in the Nigerian Efik language as “what’s happening?”. I could see that words became so difficult for her to form, finally she said ‘Etém…fò’ which also interprets in Efik as “Your father”. At that instant, I craved so badly to see my dad. She alongside other women tried holding me back, only God knew who they were and why they were all crying like they were in a weeping competition. They overpowered me, well, so much for being a 10-year old. However, i was able to see some men carrying something that looked like a sleeping human covered in white. Just like magic the weeping from every angle increased and at that moment the heavy tud in my chest confirmed that I had lost something really dear forever.
The reality of Mom abandoning us and Dad committing suicide the following year wasn’t an easy cross to bear as it greatly affected my self esteem which is a pivotal stage in life’s processes. Grandma couldn’t bear the burden of two children alone so she sent me off to stay with my Uncle in Lagos at 18. Uncle Etim managed a hotel and was indeed a blessing to my life, He enrolled me in a catering school and when I was done, he established me as the chief caterer of the hotel.
Success stories are easier to tell, when you’ve equally passed through an amount of pain. I am Enobong, and I’d like everyone to know that the effect of Parental separation causes a huge toll in a child’s heart. It raises questions like “was it my fault dad or mom left? Was my birth a reason for their separation? Why was I born if I would end up being abandoned? I understand that extreme circumstances may arise for instance, when the marriage becomes overbearing and leaving remains the only option. I therefore indulge you to never abandon your children because am certain that it’s not possible to completely forget them. There are scenarios where the separated parent finally realizes his/her mistake and try to make amends. But to be honest, no matter the tears, apologize and try to be better parents or these children will always have that spot in their hearts where they still feel you never needed them ab-intio. Also, try to make out time for your children even if you eventually get married and have other children in the process. No matter how difficult it gets because I’m aware that some times your new spouse might object the idea, make him/her understand that this child/children are products of your blood too. Create a schedule where you could meet weekly or even monthly. Make them realise you love them no matter what and Trust me, at the end of it all you will be grateful that you did. Thank you for reading this article brought to you by the mahdheebah blog (TMB) and like we always say “Live☺ Love❤ Laugh😁”
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