The end of life always comes with a unique aesthetic stamp. It’s almost always alien to the natural parts of living. Almost always strange to experience this presence of a finite absence. To mourn this sense of loss for someone I loved dearly. To even expect this end giving the outcome is so debilitating. Woven into our being is this absence we will never be able to erase. This voice, we will never hear. Even though I can still hear her. It’s like the end of a music note, that lingers long after the song ends. It just lingers in the air, playing away on its own, refusing to end, though the sound itself has died down, as though the note was talking and sounding itself to oblivion. Such is the experience of living so close to death. Like a drum that pulse, I wish the beat never ends. So too were the last 2 weeks of Angie’s life. I wish the end never came.
We tried desperately to not prepare for this moment, for this absence. We finally received news of her cancer staging 2 Friday’s ago. We have been unsure since the first staging was a 2B from a small hospital, yet a massive lump obstructed her stomach. All of this too was happening in a country where common oxygen or even blood is a scare commodity. Listening to how her brothers went to buy blood for her always made me angry. Health should never come at a cost. But in a country where even the President is a medical tourist in another country, even blood is precious commodity.
So we sought another opinion. This time from a teaching hospital. They really tried all their best for her. Staged her at 3B as the cancer has spread to her pelvis. They didn’t have a CT scan and so again we were unsure of their staging. This was back in June. We knew this was a complex case back then as nothing made sense with how she was rapidly deteriorating from the moment we understood what was going on. We found out in May. To think she spent the last years of her life battling this cancer without saying a word is one of my greatest anger with her. I really wish I had time to even let her know how I felt. The sense of betrayal of our friendship, even our love. I thought we shared everything to each other. Both the good and bad. Even some of the most difficult issues I have ever encountered in my home was reserved for her ears only. She was my comfort, my blessed assurance, my grace, my counselor, my everything, that allowed my soul to sing. To think I won’t have her listening ears anymore just makes me so angry and numb. I want to believe that we could have prevented all of this if only she shared her own deepest fears in the way I did my own with her.
But then again this is Angie at her best. She was everything to everyone. Always took the time to put others and their needs before her own. Never wanted anything. As in nothing. She always wondered why I always gave her gifts as the last one she had was already more than enough. It’s the same way I feel about her gifts as well. We had this same spirit of gifting each other things and then complaining about why we gifted each other gifts. I loved her for it. I know she did as well.
By the time we finally got a brand new hospital in Lagos to do a proper staging, she was at a 4B. The cancer was everywhere. I was numb and cried my heart out. This was also the last weekend we spoke to her before she started to slip in and out of consciousness. The end of mama 90 day prayer fest where she left everything to God. Everything we did, seemed to lead to nowhere that the only thing left was to surround her with love, especially the love and bond between herself and her mother. Mama said Angie cried when she finally saw her for the first time. The tears make more sense now looking back. No daughter should leave her mother behind. Even in death, Angie was still putting others and their needs before her. I wake up crying, then calling mama and telling her not to cry, just for me to start crying and for her to then start telling me not to cry. It’s acycle that I would give anything to end if only it meant we would get Angie back. I desperately want this absence to linger on forever still. Like a drum beat that pulse, I pray it never ends.