THE JOY OF DYING

By the time you find this note, I will be 2 weeks old in my grave. Fourteen years ago when I was a little over three years old, my aunt used to always dress me up like Lady Ladi every time I had a party to attend and I used to actually feel like her. Lady Ladi was the first and only (up on till I became a teenager) feminine mortal that I ever saw half-clad every night fall, in the market, on our harvest days. She was loved by the King and hated by his people because of her unclothed nature. She was the king’s famous concubine and the Queen’s adversary. Lady Ladi (to my own infantile knowledge) was the nicest, most beautiful, well-rounded & plump woman who I had and have ever set my eyes on. I didn’t see any reason why anyone would loathe her.

I always wanted to be like her when I was a little much older. I wanted to be the envy of all the women in the village, the pride of my aunt and the joy of my husband. I wanted to be the reason why young men would stage a fight every fourth night just to share a statement with me.

All those wishes died when we moved to the city, my aunt said the village was not good enough for me anymore. She promised my ma’ that she would look after me and she said she planned to do that with every bit of vigor that she had. I became a woman when I clocked fifteen and it was a day I thought I was going to die because the pain I felt was so much, I threw up via all the approved openings in my body like a leaking drum and in-between throwing up and purging, I was losing weight on an hourly base. I was admitted in the clinic for three days and when I got back home my aunt celebrated it by killing a chicken for me. We lived alone in a self contain unpainted visitors quarters in the upscale area of the city where Aunty Muna (my late moms younger and only sibling) worked as a nanny, cook, washing machine and a friend to a very wealthy couple, though Prosperous (her man friend) used to sleep over sometimes but on that particular day, he was nowhere to be found. I ate a chicken lap alone for the first time and I felt very happy, I promised Aunty Muna that I was going to do well in school so I can get good grades, and get a good job so I can make plenty money to buy her a big house of her own. We grew up in the Western part of the North but we claimed Edo state since that is where my aunts fiancé (prosper) hailed from. I grew up with my aunt because my mum died six months after she gave birth to me and my aunt was left alone to look after me. Uncle prosper was more than a father to me, he was also a mentor and a great man; I could not wait for him and my aunt to finally tie the knot so I can call him father. I never met my dad because he travelled a month after I was born, and he never came back. My mum was said to have died of an ailment I know not of but I believe she died waiting for him (my father). I am an orphan that struggled throughout my stay on earth. I was born with no spoon and I promised to get a silver one even if I had to die trying to get one.

My promise died 2 years later when Aunty Muna was diagnosed of cancer. She died five months to my eighteenth birthday and three months to my graduation from high school. When she died, she took everything I was ever going to work for to her grave. I lost faith in everything and I was left to start alone again.  That was when I realized what Aunty Muna had to go through to do all her life to keep me satisfied. Her friend/employer (Mrs. Ruth) said I could stay and continue from where Aunty Muna stopped but she asked me to finish with my secondary education before I start working for her. True to Mrs. Ruth’s words I finished my education but I came out with a very poor result (as expected since I did not have plans of furthering) because I wrote my exams only in person but my soul was lost in transit. I started working for Mrs. Ruth as agreed and she continued to treat me as her friend’s daughter. I slowly started getting used to living my life again and I even started making friends. I started a relationship with a boy who used to be in my high school but it was on a platonic level because we were not having sex but he was my best friend. I was very scared of commitments and I didn’t want to lose my virginity until I was sure it was going to be with the right person though all that changed when I woke up one night to a terrible pain below my navel, I thought I was going to die because it was different from the regular pain I used to have every month. I started bleeding and there and then I knew something was wrong. I started shouting for help and praying at the same time then I felt a sudden dimness around me and the last thing I remember was closing my eyes to a peaceful feeling.

I woke up some hours later on a hospital bed with my madam sitting beside me. She had tears in her eyes and she held on tight to my hand, I had to beg her to let go of it a little because I was beginning to feel a sudden numbness around it. I asked why she was crying and she said that it was because of the news the doctor gave them. I had been diagnosed of Ovarian Cancer and I had a cyst in my womb, she later went on to explain that all the pain I had been having right from the first day I started menstruating was caused by the cyst. The doctor told her that I had less than 2 weeks to live because I had lost so much blood and my womb was decaying by the hour. She expected me to start crying but I didn’t, I couldn’t see a reason why I will, I only smiled and said a silent prayer to God. I thanked him for finally ending my pain.

I asked for a paper and pen and I started writing to my boyfriend. I thanked him for everything he had done for me, I also wrote to uncle Prosper and to Mrs. Ruth; I thanked and prayed for them for been there when I lost faith and hope. I also begged them not to cry for me because I was finally happy. The thought of dying was refreshing; praying for life would have made me a burden to the family I had made through friendship.

My name is Salian Jacobs, I died 2 weeks ago at the age of twenty (the same age my mum died) and this is the story of the life I left behind with all my heart.

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