Doctor Titi stood in front of us.
“It’s a girl.”
I screamed for joy.
I stopped. Why was she frowning? Why haven’t we heard the cry of the child?
“The baby refused to cry and Shade is bleeding profusely.”
“Oh my God!” My father exclaimed.
“We are doing all our best to control the bleeding. Please pray. Shade needs that now.”
“Can we see her?”
The doctor shook her head. “Not yet. We are watching her response.But-“
Doctor Titi rushed down the corridor, we followed closely behind. A nurse popped her head around the door .
“The baby cried!” The nurse shouted
Shade and her baby remained in the hospital, under the strict order from my uncle who had cut short his meeting in Germany, just so he could attend to his niece.
But two weeks later, something unexpected happened. I walked into Ward II and for the first time noticed that Shade was pale.
It came as a surprise to me because the weeks following the birth of Hadassah had been interesting and fun. Memories of laughter, singing, dancing and praying flooded my heart. Shade had been full of life.
Lekan was holding her hands when I walked in quietly.
He stood up. I smiled.
“I need to get back to work. Chief Aderanti’s cake must be ready this evening. I’ll be back.”
I nodded as I watched him walk out. I sat beside my sister. She opened her eyes slowly and smiled at me. I pecked her forehead.
The door opened. It was Chuks. I made to stand up but Shade stopped me.
“Give him an answer to his proposal now.”
“Please. He deserves to know.”
“Hello Shade”. Chuks said, as he approached the bed. I took my place on a chair beside the bed. Chuks settled into a chair next to mine.
We laughed. We chatted.
I suddenly remembered that Chuks had proposed in the hospital, right beside his sick mother who had been brought from the village.
How do we tell our children that Dad and Mum had a hospital proposal?. No flowers, no music.
Shade met my gaze, then she closed her eyes.
I cleared my throat. “Chuks, there is something I need to tell you.”
Chuks faced me. He seemed really tense. I could almost hear his heart beat.
I smiled. “I will marry you.”
His mouth opened. He jumped to his feet. “Yes!.”
Shade smiled faintly.
The door opened. Lanre bounced in. I sat there stunned. I had completely forgotten he worked in the hospital.
He smiled at me. I smiled back. It was surprising to me, that all my craziness and longing for this man had completely dissipated. Even the hurt was no more. I stood and took his outstretched hand. Our eyes locked. He smiled again.
He glanced briefly at Shade. “I’ll make sure she gets back on her feet.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“Can we meet for lunch tomorrow?” He asked.
“Sure.” I said. “Lanre, I want to meet my fiancé Chuks.”
The smile disappeared. Chuks stood up. I watched them. The firm handshake. The eye contact.
Lanre left the room in a haste.
Chuks looked at me and giggled. I have never seen his eyes so bright. “I get to marry the woman I love. This is a miracle!”
Shade smiled. “Funmi.”
“I need a favour from you.”
“Anything you command now will be done.” Chuks answered. “We are ready. Just spill it out.”
Shade hesitated. “Take care of Hadassah.”
We stared at her in silence.
“what are you talking about?”
“If you ever find my son, tell him I love him.”
My eyes widened. Chuks jumped to his feet.
Shade smiled. Her eyes began to glow. Then she broke into a song.
There is a new name written down in glory and it’s mine, oh yes it’s mine. And the white robed angels sing the story, a sinner has come home. For there is a new name written down in glory, and it’s mine, oh yes it’s mine. With my sins forgiven, I am bound for heaven, never more to roam.
“Shade!” I screamed. “The doctor said, you are going to be discharged next week.”
She broke into another song.
How beautiful heaven must be. Sweet home of the happy and free, Fair haven and rest for the weary, How beautiful heaven must be.
I grabbed my phone and dialed Lekan’s number. Mum entered, followed by my father, my brother and his wife. They were stunned at Shade’s sudden behaviour. Mum joined in the singing, laughing and dancing, thanking God for the miracle of restoration.
I sat there crying. Chuks held my shoulders. The men moved close to the bed. Cynthia, my brother’s wife remained frozen at a spot. Mum stopped, surprised at our gloomy attitude. We all gathered round the bed.
Shade’s voice became faint and distant. Her eyes still glowed even though they were almost shut. Lekan ran in, panting hard. Cynthia rushed to call the doctor.
Shade stopped singing. Her eyes finally closed.
Lekan broke down in tears. Mum cup the lifeless face of her daughter in her trembling hands. Dad stared blankly at the wall.
Hadassah screamed. I picked her up from the cot where she laid. She stopped crying.
Nine months after we buried Shade, I married Chuks. We have three wonderful daughters- Hadassah, Jemimah and Hannah. Lekan runs Shade’s eateries in Abuja. I handle the one in Lagos.
Segun’s induction ceremony into the medical profession took place some months ago. After the ceremony at the university campus, we drove straight to my parents’ house where we had a small picnic in front of Shade’s grave.
I sensed that Shade was watching us from the bosom of Christ that evening.
Hadassah knelt beside the grave. “Mummy, I know you can see me. I love you.”
I fought back the tears. My mum wrapped her hands around her little waist. “Mummy loves you too.”
Shade’s memory lives on.
Photo Credit: Internet.
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