How are you and how have you been? It has been such a long time. I have missed seeing your beautiful face; that angelic face which God took His own time to design.
My love, I miss you so much. Perhaps its because I did not see you the day I left. I longed for you to come. In fact, you were the one who made me wait longer. The pain was becoming unbearable but I thought I could endure it all, if that was what it took, to see you again, Nwando. If I could be in the theatre for twelve hours birthing you, I could endure this suffering. You were my favourite, and still are. A mother can never stop loving her own child! You were my most complicated labour. I laugh now as I remember labouring for twelve hours. Your father was not there. He said he had a business meeting in Abuja, and he had a proposal to submit in Port Harcourt. I knew Francis was fast losing interest in me after two childbirths before you. I think its because Mother-in-law said I had just daughters and no son.
Oh the joy that engulfed my soul when the doctor handed you over to me. You were the most beautiful child. Your first cry persuaded the flood of tears in my eyes. You were the child of comfort when my husband abandoned me, and so, I named you Nwabundo. You were my refuge, a child of hope.
Your sisters loved you. I watched as you grew up. You loved to paint and dance. I knew you would become a unique artist. Your father however decided you would study Engineering. I began to see the bitterness in you when the University admitted you to study Electrical Engineering.
Nwabundo, you shocked everybody when we came for your convocation and you had a first class degree in Fine Arts! How did you do it, this child! Ifeoma, your elder sister, confessed to me, that you took that GCE and JAMB exams in school with out our knowledge. Your father was furious! He called you a failure and sent you away.
I sent money every time to Adaora, your eldest sister, to process your travel documents, so you could go to The United States, and develop your art. I believed so much in you, and hoped your father would come to realize this someday.
Your father died, and his family laid claim to everything he owned. All I was left with, was our house in Owerri, and the Honda I drove. The documents of Your father’s house all have my name, so they could not contest the house.
Nwando, you did not come for your father’s burial. I know you still hate him. I thought I would see you again, but you kept promising to come. You said life was hard there, and I tried to send you more money.
I decided I would travel to America to see you, but I became very sick, and it grew worse by the day. Adaora’s husband brought me into their house. They took very good care of me. The doctors detected Cervical Cancer and I had to be flown abroad. I thought God finally wanted us to see each other when I discovered the recommended hospital was in Seattle. I had learnt two years ago that your exhibitions were being displayed at the Seattle Art Gallery! I was proud of you, Nwabundo.
You placed a phone call to me on Thursday. I cried, upon hearing your voice. You said you would come visit me on Friday. That was good, I was so happy. I knew I was going to die anyways so it felt good to have by my death bed, my three daughters: Adaora, who flew with me; Ifeoma who would land in The USA on Friday; and you. Your voice had changed. It seemed you were struggling to blend your igbo accent with the American. I called you Nwabundo and I remember what you said:
“It’s Haley, Mom.”
I could feel my time would soon be up, and everyone was by my side. Adaora tried to stop the tears as she held my ageing hands, thin from suffering. Ifeoma, though pregnant, was stroking my wrinkling face and wiping the tears that streamed out of my eyes. David, Ada’s husband, is a very good man. He was by my side. Their two children were there too. Those angels; Chisom and Nnamdi. They were little, but they were sober.
Where were you Nwabundo? I was waiting. I decided I would wait. I did not let go. How my pelvis ached! Ifeoma called you and you said you were coming but you never showed up.
It’s my anniversary. Its been a year, and everyone is gathered in our house at Owerri. My soul is not there. It’s here trying to reach out to you.
Nwando please drop that injection and flush that powder into the toilet, please! You can hide from your sisters, but not from me. I can see all you are doing.
You never recovered from your father’s hatred, and when they rejected your second painting at Seattle Art Gallery, you felt your father was right by calling you a failure! You took to drugs and became an addict! Oh, is that why you never showed up? You were ashamed? Nwabundo! I would have accepted you anyways. You are my own child! The drugs are not worth it. You are only twenty three.
I miss you, but I want you to be the child of hope I carried in my arms. Your father has no right to term you a failure. I am with God, trust me, and His report about you, is that of success and grace!