Yes, life happened. The memory of the great times Louis and I had in our first few months of marriage is still fresh on my mind. Little did I know that happiness, like glass, breaks easily. The memory of happiness they say makes misery woeful. Maybe that's why I am where I am now.
I still remember the day my joy turned into horror as if it was yesterday and my life has never been the same again. It started like any other day. I was still in the first trimester of my pregnancy and you know what that comes with. I spent more time out of bed than in it at night due to bathroom breaks and some other pregnancy woes. This made me so tired and sleepy during the day.
On this day, I called out sick so I could go see a doctor and probably get some rest. My husband did too, so he could take me. Loving and caring Louis would not let me drive in that state. Despite my mood swings and increased irritability, he still treated me like a princess.
I was given some medication and assured it was going to help me sleep better. We had lunch out and returned home to rest. I looked forward to that night like it was my due date. I passed the time by reading a book while my husband worked on some work related stuff on his laptop. I could hardly keep my eyes open at some point so I decided to nap for a while.
My husband and I lived in a two-bedroom semi-detached house in a developing community. The sound of the doorbell woke me up. I thought it was a gardener who promised to stop over that day and replace some dead flowers we had planted.
My husband headed for the door as I sat up on the couch. "Who was that hun?" I asked when he entered the room.
"Some guys from Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), love.
How are you feeling?" He asked, walked over to where I sat and kissed me.
He touched my belly and said, "How are you doing little princess?"
My husband wanted a girl so bad but I wanted a boy so I said: "Our little prince is fine" and added, "But what do the ECG guys want?"
"They tell me some residents called to complain about the new prepaid meters so they are going around and checking them all," Louis replied.
"But we do not have a problem with ours so why would they check it. Where are they? I quizzed and walked towards the door.
"They are checking our meter in the porch," Just after my husband answered the question, a masked man dashed into the room, pointing a gun at me.
He ordered us to get down on our knees in a local language. Two others entered, also with guns and masks and one ordered my husband to lead the way to our bedroom. The other picked up my husband's laptop and my mobile phone.
The one who entered first still had his gun pointed at me and a foot on my back while I lay on the floor. I tried to look into his eyes but each time I did he would look away and scream, "Head down!
"With my eyes flooded with tears and my hands and head facing down, I prayed to God to touch the hearts of the men to spare our lives. I thought of what could be going on in the bedroom, where my husband and the other man were. Then I heard someone scream "Get down or I'll shoot!"
I felt adrenaline course through my veins and could feel my whole body shaking, my limbs as I laid face down, moved on their own. My senses were on a higher alert. I was scared to death!
Next, were sounds of gunshots from the bedroom followed immediately by a loud shout. The shout came from a strange voice but I felt a sudden numbness in my limbs. Power! Power! I heard another voice in a local dialect from the living room where I was, say he was going to check up on him.
I sobbed and continued to pray for my husband but I felt empty.
"Lord, let that not be my husband, please, please Father" I continued to pray. A spasm of fear brought me back to the room.
A third voice was heard immediately saying, "I finish am, make we go, make we go." With my husband's laptop, our mobile phones, some cash my husband had in the bedroom and some other belongings, they rushed out. I still do not remember how I got myself into the bedroom after they left.
The horrific image of my husband's motionless body in a pool of blood near our bed-side drawer registered a permanent spot in my memory. My vision became dimmer as I walked towards my husband's lifeless body.
"No, no, no, no, hun look at me! You can't do this to me, Louis," in a voice thick with emotions, I said and held his head in my palms. I remember trying to press my palms against the split flesh on his chest, hoping someway, somehow I could save him.
I could not think straight but I remember calling for help and getting my husband to the hospital but I knew he was gone. Yes, he was, gone farther than I thought. Just like that. As they normally do, the police came and after everything promised to bring the perpetrators to book.
Despite being pregnant, I failed to eat, failed to speak to anyone, failed to sleep or do anything for days. Was there any life to live anymore? Was there anything left to live for anymore? My friends and family kept urging me to be strong for my unborn child. I wished doing that was as easy as they said it.
Now what? Don't tell me life goes on. It stopped for me the day I held Louis in my arms with tears running down my cheeks with no one to wipe them. What was left was a restless soul, living in an empty mortal body, wishing to live the rest of my pitiable life in death. The little gentle life breathing in me could not give me hope at the time. It could not replace the memories I had of Louis. Against my will, my parents took me in after the burial. They thought my husband's house was unsafe for me at the time. I was granted bereavement leave at work. I kept to myself most of the time and gradually my grief turned into anger. I was angry at God, at life and at my husband.
In Psalm 50:15 God said, "and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honour Me." For this I was angry at God, I cried and called on Him when those wicked men pointed guns at me and my husband but He didn't rescue us. He watched them murder my husband in cold blood. Tell me why I shouldn't be angry at Him, tell me!
I was angry at myself, life for treating me that way. If I had not called out sick, Louis would have gone to work that day and maybe none of this would have happened. So many thoughts run through my mind at the same time. Why did life have to be that unfair to me? What did I do wrong? Why did I have to experience such a hurricane at that age? Why?
For Louis, I directed a portion of the anger to him for not keeping his promise. He broke my heart. He said he was going to use the rest of his life to try and make me happy? Did he not know his life was that short when he made that promise? Why did he have to leave in such a short time, why? What did he expect me to tell our unborn child? Besides, who did he expect me to raise him/her with?
Dealing with the loss of my husband while I was pregnant was the hardest thing I had ever dealt with. When everyone else saw sunshine each new day, all I saw darkness. The monster called pain lived with me. I was shattered and almost on my way out of this life. I pushed people away, my friends and anybody who tried to help. I said some awful things to people and hurt them for offering to help me. That wasn't me but life brought the worse in me.
On one of my long walks in a park near my parents' house, I met Louis. He looked taller than he was. In his eyes were all the things he wanted to say to me. I could feel him. I quickly run towards him but he seemed to be moving away as I got closer. He stopped moving when I stopped and tears started flowing from his eyes.
He walked towards a nearby tree and started plucking dead leaves off one of the branches, leaving only green ones. I sank unto my knees in tears as I watched him pluck the leaves and without a word, Louis started walking on. I watched him until I couldn't see him anymore. I woke up and found myself in bed. It was a dream.
Maybe that was Louis' way of telling me to move on but it wasn't going to be that easy. I had our children when the time came. Yes, our children – I had a monozygotic set of twin boys. All I could think of when I was first handed the babies, was Louis. The striking resemblance between them and their late father was unbelievable. I knew he was smiling at us wherever he was.
From the time I had them, I began to see reason in why Louis wanted me to live. He knew I had to live for those wonderful little men. Playing both mother and father roles for my boys was my biggest priority. It was all I did for those years. From that day to crawling, to fist words, to the first day at school, through to where they are now, it's just me with support from my parents and siblings.
Micah and Tobi will turn twelve next Monday and I can't believe it's been that long since Louis left. I'm forty now and my family and friends are still pestering me with marriage but it's the last thing on my mind. I still wear my wedding ring.
The birth of my boys probably renewed my faith in God, it brought back the hope that I lost but definitely not the courage to love again. I let go of a lot of things after my husband died and love was one of them. I killed it.
P.S The following is the link to Part one of the story Enjoy it!
The above is a fiction by Akosua Asiedua Akuffo.
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