Ofure was born on Christmas day. I remember that day vividly.
I wasn’t due, but I was extremely tired, so I told Dafe that I wanted to stay at home, eat, watch movies and do anything else, instead of going out to have fun.
He didn’t want me to be home alone, so he called the friends we were supposed to hang out with and cancelled.
That afternoon, I went into labor.
It was the most painful and most excruciating thing I’d ever experienced. At first, I thought it was a false labour, because I wasn’t due and I’d had that before, but it became so serious, we had to rush to the hospital.
Most people had travelled for the holidays, so there was no traffic and we got into the hospital in record time.
Contrary to what I thought, the labour didn’t take so much time before I heard the cries of the baby. My baby.
I cried when she was given to me. She was so spotless and beautiful and the love I had for her was so much, I thought my heart would burst from my body.
She was so fragile and I was scared I’d break her if I held her for so long, but I didn’t want to let go of her. Not yet.
When Dafe came into the ward, he could barely contain his nervousness and excitement. Like play like play, we had become parents. The feeling was amazing.
He held her in his arms and we cried like babies. It was unbelievable. I had imagined this moment tons and tons of times, but the imagination just wasn’t the same as the reality.
Dafe and I had talked about how it would feel to carry our baby for the first time, but we didn’t know how emotional it would make us.
Right there, we made a promise to be there for our baby, no matter what.
Christmas celebrations were automatically a big deal. We had the princess of Christmas living with us, so it had to be a big deal.
We loved every bit of the Christmas holiday. It was always so much fun. We hosted parties and attended as many fun events as we could.
Our house was always a beehive of activities and we enjoyed every bit of it.
We would always decorate the entire house and since Ofure’s favorite color was yellow, we added it to our Christmas decorations.
As far as Dafe and I were concerned, Christmas was all about Jesus and Ofure.
She was the sweetest child ever. I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom, I’m saying it because it’s true.
She brought happiness to everyone around her. She couldn’t stand to see me frown. She was an angel.
One time, I went to take her from school and on the way back, she made me give a ride to a woman whose daughter was her classmate.
Another time, we were shopping at a supermarket. We paid and walked out together, but after a while, I noticed she wasn’t at my side and I panicked.
I looked sideways and saw her offering her biscuits to a little girl who looked hungry and homeless.
She was an angel, because I don’t know how else, she knew how to be kind and loving without being taught.
My little girl made me learn to love. Of course, I’d been loving people before she was born, but she made me learn to love people around me who had nothing to give in return.
Ofure died on Christmas day. I remember that day vividly.
That was going to be her eleventh birthday and Dafe and I were excited. Our girl was growing so fast and we couldn’t wait to throw her a big party as usual.
That Christmas morning, I’d been trying to cook in the kitchen when one of my sisters called to tell me that she was at the airport.
She had just arrived Lagos to spend the festive season with us, so I told her I’d pick her from the airport.
I figured that I’d just pick her up and be home in no time, so I didn’t bother to tell Dafe or Ofure where I was going. Besides, they were both asleep. “I’ll just go and come back and they wouldn’t even notice I was gone” I said to myself.
I was in a hurry because I had so many things to do in preparation for the party, later in the evening, so I quickly turned off the gas and hurried out.
I returned with my sister, almost three hours later, because of the delays we experienced at the airport and also because she made me stop at the market for her to get a present for the birthday girl.
I was behind schedule, so I hurried home, but as soon as I got there I noticed something was wrong. I couldn’t find my house. There was a burnt building in it’s stead and I couldn’t wrap my head around all that I was seeing.
A neighbor called my phone and told me that they’d rushed my husband and daughter to a hospital and I hurried to the hospital he mentioned.
My heartbeat was erratic and I literally drove like a lunatic. That’s what you do when you’re about to lose everything.
I got to the hospital and the news I feared the most was what greeted my ears. Ofure was dead. She couldn’t make it.
I thought my heart would stop beating immediately and I would join my baby in heaven, but it didn’t and that hurt more than anything else.
I was beyond hysterical. I cried like a mad woman. I was already a mad woman. The pain was so much, it was unbearable. I wanted to die. I didn’t see why I shouldn’t have died.
My sister was whispering to me and crying beside me, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying because I was losing my mind.
Dafe was in a coma and I needed to be sane for his sake, so I managed to keep what was left of my mental health, in check. I spent every day by his bedside for two weeks and when he finally regained consciousness, I smiled for the first time since Christmas.
When I asked him about what happened, he said that he noticed the house was smelling of gas when he woke up.
He hadn’t known if it was just his nose, but he’d been on his way to the kitchen to verify, when he saw Ofure light a match stick to light the gas and boil water and before he could stop her, the house went up in flames.
I thought back to the events of that morning, to understand what could have caused the smell and then it hit me, that I didn’t put off the gas before rushing out. I put it on.
I had been trying to cook, but I hadn’t lit the gas before I received the call. I had only put the pot on the burner and after the call, I turned the knob and left the house, thereby putting the gas on and not off.
After the realization hit me, all I wanted was to die. I was the cause of my baby’s death and I didn’t deserve to live.
Dafe tried to console me, but I couldn’t take the guilt away. Ofure had been his world too and I’d taken her away from him.
I had failed to protect her from harm. Instead, I had taken harm to her.
I haven’t forgiven myself for that and I never will.
It’s almost Christmas and I can’t help but blame myself for how painful the festive period would be for Dafe and I. It would never be the same again and it is my fault.
My baby died on Christmas day. A part of my heart died on Christmas day and a part of my husband’s heart died on Christmas day. I don’t see the need to celebrate it ever again.
Hey guys, I hope you’re good. How are the Christmas preparations coming along?
It’s the third day of blogmas for me and I know this story isn’t very Christmassy, but I want to put it out there that not everyone is happy during Christmas.
Generally, Christmas is a happy and joyful season, but for some reason, some people just aren’t happy.
This is why being kind and showing love should be a priority. You never know what someone is going through, but one act of kindness would go a long way.
In other news, I’m looking for Christmas movie recommendations. Not Hallmark movies anyway, because I’m tired of them already. Be sure to leave me a recommendation.
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See you next week!