This story I will tell you today is most probably one of the biggest lessons I ever witnessed in my life. When I was about 25 years old one of my closest friends (a Nigerian) told me that his sister is going to come to town. He also told me that she just gave birth to a dead child and she needs a “break” from her life, she needs to escape. A couple of days later she came.
We picked her up from the airport. She was a skinny little woman with an angry face, mad at life, mad at God, mad at her surrounding, mad at every woman having healthy children. It is important to say that she was married for 6 years and that was her first pregnancy. My friend hugged her silently and didn’t talk until we reached his house. I didn’t understand why this silence, why don’t they talk, why was there no communication at all especially as they didn’t see for almost 5 years. We came to his house, he took her stuff out of the boot and we all went upstairs, he silently closed the door and asked her to sit down. She did so and he left.
I was sitting with this woman in the living room, she asked me: Do you have children? This so amazingly simple question choked me and I started stuttering and hoping he would be back fast. He came before my stuttering gave me the chance to say: No I don’t. He sat down next to her, took her hand and said (as I don’t want to drop any names I will call her Jane): “Jane, why are you angry?” All of a sudden this full load of fear, hatred, questioning herself, sadness and other emotion came up in a bulk mixed all together. He silently asked her the same question again and she started to cry repeating all she already said.
Then he looked at her turned her hand so her palm was see-able and said: Jane can you remember when we were small? Can you remember the day you came home and ripped your dress mom made for you and she was crying because she made it of her favourite dress?” Jane looked at him, her face was swollen and her eyes were filled with tears, you could see the lines her tears drew on her dark velvet skin and she angrily said: “Yes I can but you didn’t listen.” then she got really loud and screamed: “My baby is dead!!!” He calmly answered: “Please let me land (which means: please let me make my point clear), I am not there yet. Can you remember when I came home with grazed knees because I fell? Can you remember mom’s worried face when it inflamed?” She said: “Yes I can, now get to the point” she was getting furious. His face became all soft and the way he was looking at her was the first sign that he knows what she feels.
He said: “Each child worries its mother, each child makes its mother mad, each child can be troublesome and each child is misbehaving and no child is perfect. Your child is! It is yours and only yours, your child will never suffer, your child was loved from day one until it died, and you will never have to see it scared, crying or unhappy. It was meant to be save for ever and as free as a bird, so just let it go and keep it in your memory and it will always be yours. You can see the stars in the sky, you can give them names and the moment you look at them they are yours. Your baby is yours the very same way.”
She looked at him and both of them smiled, they hugged each other and we sat and had some tea. When I went home his message slowly climbed down from my brain to my heart where they exploded. It was like a firework. What a wonderful way of looking at the world. I am not trying to say that death is the only way we can experience life, liberty and security but if we look at the world with these positive eyes probably many things would change including our feelings concerning life, liberty and security.