Twists and Turns

When Jude met Lisa, it was love at first sight. Theirs was a match made in heaven. Jude had just secured a job with a weekly magazine immediately he graduated from college. An apt and avid lad, Jude was soon to head a sister bulletin the company initiated. It was here he met Lisa. A thousand assorted jewels rolled into one. Their escapades began and it was all pomp and glamour for the duo in love.

It was sparkling lights when the two drowned in each other’s love. Every day broke in new colors, brilliant and fascinating. They delighted in each other bathing the illumination of their affection, the multiformity of Elysian bliss. This emotion occupied them, gave them a new leash of life, a direction, a thing to live for.

Their colorful wedding was in summer. It was a generous procession; the hallmark of two in love. It went down smooth, glad and gay. It was a ceremony to behold, one they would forever cherish. They were young and eager to live their love as a single soul, hearts beating as one. One imbedded in the other. The gloom of life was hovering above them, and they were not to escape unscathed.

In their first year of marriage, everyone envied them. Their affection was breathtaking, the charms of their incomparable love glowing in blinding flames. Continually, and their love grew a thousand fold each day. They got used to each other, fascinate and inspire, and soon Lisa was heavy with child.

The birth of Jayden was received in merriment, especially after a tense feel owing to labor complications that nearly killed Lisa. Jayden was all the family was waiting for, an ideal icing on their fiery love. He was adored. The baby however showed inconsistent reflexes, posture and balance. The doctor confirmed their fears, Jayden had cerebral palsy. Lisa had to bear the blunt of life and could no longer manage her job. She eventually resigned to tend her beautiful boy. Jayden had partial paralysis and his condition seemed to escalate by the day.

When little Jayden attained school-going age, it was different for him. He was to be schooled at home. Lisa just would not let him go. She now portrayed heartache in her demeanor but professed love and more affection for Jayden. Her baby boy would hardly walk, his voice was retarred and slurry. He got along slowly though he virtually missed most. Lisa wouldn’t enroll him into a special school. She would rather be with him. He grew slowly but nothing quite changed.

Lisa was in and out of hospital for Jayden’s endless bouts of sickness. The once joyful existence was fazed by a dark cloud. It weighed down the family, crippled their fanfare and outings. Their finances were also strained with Jude having to work at odd hours.
The pretty woman wheeling a sickly boy became Lisa. Her life changed from bad to vile. She was persuaded to hold on. Jude encouraged her on.

Poor Jayden lived to the age of eight. He did not see it through surgery. That same evening, Lisa was admitted to hospital. Devastated, she had tried to take her own life.

Queen in Pain

The last few days of my aunt Rebecca were punctuated by intense suffering, incessant whims and visible pain. She bravely soldiered on. The amazon was wasting away as each day unfolded but she chose to hold on. There was life in her eyes; they still radiated her past glory but her frail self is in defiance.

She chose to twist the turns and arguably, she made her final days the most phenomenon of her years. She was generous with her time; her words depicted a rare sense of calm. She thrived in this halo, seemingly her condition imposing, clothed into this explicit individual who was jolly to be with.

Since her cancer diagnosis, Rebecca had slowly turned into a blurry reflection of her former self. Her prosthetics limited her movement before she was indefinitely confined to her bed. Feebly clinging to the apron strings of nostalgia, she literally refused to ail. Her hairline had receded and all she could show off was a bunch of stringy strands on her scalp. She was thinly and weak till she barely walked. She was exhausted, and to me, each day seemed her last.

Every morning I met her ashen face, shared somber moments after which I would softly sob into my hands in her backyard. She preferred to smile instead. She was conceding, her pain notwithstanding, and seemingly growing into an imminent crescendo. I saw her gradually waste away, and even in my sleep her frail voice reverberated in damning tintinnabulations.

It was one of my then not-so-frequent visits that she beckoned me to inch closer. Her voice was reduced to a whisper. She wanted me to call to her bedside, her daughter in Australia. Part of me went numb and for a brief moment silently stared into her weepy eyes. I knew at that moment she was not to live past her fiftieth birthday a fortnight away. I swallowed painfully and was hushed tones till I took to calling Stella.

On a cold night in July, my aunt went to be with the Lord. She died softly in her sleep. I chose not to cry that day. It was most befitting for the queen in pain. Her Bible beside her haggard corpse, she looked like one in her sleep. She was calm, happy in her new state. It struck me I was not to see her again, but I had lived her pain, I had seen the damsel in distress waste away.

Stella was most dispirited. She did not make it to share her mother’s last moments. My dad was dejected. They just didn’t come to terms with the loss. Aunt Phoebe had collapsed at the news.
Burial preparation was intense grief. We all knew how much we would miss Rebecca. She was instrumental, sensational, was our Rebecca.

On a sunny Saturday, my aunt was laid to rest. The requiem mass had been solemn but dignified. She was eulogized as she would have wished with speeches brief and concise. The epitaph was classy and ingenious, and the wreaths, beautiful as she herself had been in her lifetime. I remember it rained that evening.