The silence was deafening, my mum couldn’t scream, she just stared at Mrs Akut. I waited for a few minutes but no one uttered a single word. I was confused. I looked at my mum and then at Mrs Akut, not sure what to say or ask. I finally opened my mouth and broke the silence, “Why is everyone quiet?” I asked.
Let me tell you something quickly about my mum. She is a lover! Her love for Jesus was obvious in her everyday life and so was her love for my father. Everyone saw it. People constantly joked and said she and my dad were inseparable. They kissed in front of us every time my dad was leaving for work. They would hold hands as they walked down the street to either see a family friend or shop. They didn’t hide anything from each other, you couldn’t tell my mum something and tell her not to tell my dad. You couldn’t organize a surprise party for one and tell the other not to tell. We all know this one thing about them – “They tell each other almost everything”. My mum loved us so much her best friend once asked her to share a dose of the love portion she has for her children with her. She would buy us good clothes over buying “aso-ebi”. She was that awesome!
Mrs Akut was my mum’s friend from the office; she knew this about my parents and that was the reason she froze in front of her when she came to make the announcement. She was not sure how my mum would react; she kept saying, “Priscilla, I am very sorry”.
After waiting for another minute or so, I touched my mum’s hand and asked again “What is going on”?
Did I really want an answer? Yes!
Was I ready for the response? No!
That phrase changed the entire course of my life.
I still remember how Mrs Akut looked at me and said “Your Daddy has gone to be with the Lord”.
I saw my Daddy the day before and he was fine, what happened? Today is “Boxing Day”; my brothers and I were waiting for him to come back so that we can open our presents together “as a family”.
A voice from behind me asked “What does gone to be with the Lord mean?” I looked behind me and it was my 12-year-old brother.
That Christmas was the last time we saw him. That Christmas announcement changed everything.