I don’t like it when a person tells me an incomplete story. If you want to say to say something, say the whole thing in a single sentence. If you don’t tell me everything in the first sentence, I make my conclusion and maybe that is not what you meant. When my brother in-law told me that my sister and Letho were in an accident, I assumed that it was one of those accidents they were going to be able to recover from. I was also once involved in a car accident and I recovered because that is what happens to people after accidents right? They recover from them.
“Buthi Mdu, I asked you a question, will they be okay?” I asked impatiently.
He looked at me and tears ran down his eyes, I didn’t want to assume the worst. I waited for him to tell me what was going on before I jumped to my own conclusions. He stood up, and looked outside the window for a while then said “Their accident involved a reckless drunk truck driver, the truck hit Thenjiwe’s car so badly, beyond recognition.”
“Damn truck driver, we should have him arrested. Let’s go and see them, then go to lay a charge against the stupid truck driver. We shouldn’t let him get away with this.” I said and he responded
“Fortunately for him he passed away.”
“Good, he wasn’t going to live a very happy life,” I said, “Let’s go and see them ke. I must see Thenji, I can’t imagine the pain Letho must be feeling. My poor little angel.”
“Hlengiwe, Letho and Thenjiwe didn’t make it, they are gone. My queen and princess have left us because of that selfish truck driver.” After saying those words, he burst out and cried. My brother in-law was very macho, he didn’t often show his emotions, so watching him break down the way he did was very hard for me.
It took me about 5 minutes before everything he said registered in my mind. It didn’t make any sense to me, I thought maybe he made a mistake so I ran out of the room. I went downstairs and I asked people where my sister and her baby were. I went out of the house and went inside my car and tried to drive away. I said tried because my brother in-law’s gate guard was told to not allow me to leave the yard. I tried make him understand why I wanted to leave, telling him “Buthi, these people are trying to drive me crazy. They want me to believe this lie they are feeding me. If you were told that your sister just passed away, and you knew that there was no way that she was gone, wouldn’t you want to go and look for her?” He told me that he sympathises with me but he can’t let me go. I even promised to give him money, but he still prevented me from leaving. I was so angry so I went back to the house and screamed at them for not allowing me to go and look for my sister. My brother in-law came to me and begged me to calm down.
“I will calm down when someone has told me what the hell is going on. I will calm down when you tell that the shit you told me was a joke. My sister can’t be dead Mdu, she can’t be gone.” I said.
Tsiamo and Sihle tried to comfort me but I pushed them away and told them they could help me find my sister because everyone was trying to make me believe that my sister left me alone in this world. Everyone looked at me as if I was mad, maybe at that moment I was going mad because I thought Mdu was lying about my sister’s death. I saw Philani walking towards me and I wondered who told him. I only found out later that he found out before because my brother in-law called him after he left my house.
I walked towards Philani and said “Baby, Mdu says my sister and Letho passed away, please tell me he is lying? Surely he is playing a prank on me and wants to see how much I care about them.”
Philani took me in his arms and whispered “He isn’t lying, they are gone Angel. Thenjiwe and Lethokuhle are gone.” After he said that, I knew that they weren’t joking, my sister was really gone. I broke down in his arms, I cried so much…I didn’t think I had so much tears in me. When my crying ceased, I went to my sister’s laundry room and took the dress she was wearing the last day I came to see her then I went to sit in Letho’s room.
I held her dress, and smelt it….her perfume still lingered in the dress. Everything seemed surreal and it was hard to believe it. What wrong did I do to deserve this kind of punishment? Clearly I was being punished. I was still 22 years old but I had managed to lose every important family member in my life. I described how close my sister and I were in the beginning, my sister played a mother role to me and she was always there for me. She had her short-comings but she was close to being a perfect being in my eyes, I loved her more than I loved Philani. My love for her was deep and unshakeable, she was the only person I knew I could count on no matter what happens in my life.
Then little Letho, how could the world be so cruel? Letho was barely made it to a year but she was already gone? Before she was born, I remember how excited my sister and brother in-law were. My sister had their life all planned out, we always looked forward to her becoming toddler, having to run after her around the house and stopping her from eating harmful things. We also looked forward to her first day of school, going to her concerts, having tea-parties with her. We weren’t particularly looking forward to her teenage years because my sister worried that she would be a problem child. She often said she wishes that Letho becomes a Jesus-freak in her teenage years, like I was. My brother in-law often said that he would charge a million rands for Letho’s lobola because she was going to be a successful business woman. Now all that was gone……all the hopes and dreams we had for her were all gone.
Life was really unfair, how am I expected to go back to normal after losing the two most important people in my life? I wondered if the pain I felt that moment was ever going to go away. I felt more pain in losing my sister than when I lost my mother because my sister meant more to me than my mother. The thought of going through life without my sister broke me down and I cried more.
I think I stayed in the room for close to 2 hours until I heard footsteps headed towards the room I was in. When I looked at the door, I found Philani sympathetically looking at me. He sat next to me, and put his arms around me. After a few minutes Mdu came to join us, we sat in complete silence until I said “You know I came to see her just yesterday, before I left, she told me how much she loved me and that she will always be there for me. How will she be there for me while she has left us?”
“She did love you, and I believe that her spirit will always be there with you.” Philani said followed by Mdu,
“There was no day that would pass where your sister didn’t mention your name, she loved you. Sometimes I became jealous and asked her why she didn’t just marry you instead of me. She always laughed and said I shouldn’t tempt her because she might do that.”
We all tried to laugh because we could do with some humour at that moment. We continued to talk about my sister, it was so hard to talk about her like she was in the past. I didn’t like the fact that we spoke about her in past tense. The fact that I spoke to her just yesterday and I didn’t know that it would be the last conversation we were going to have. If I knew that yesterday was the last time I was going to see her, I would’ve slept over at her house and maybe she wasn’t going to go shopping then the accident wasn’t going to happen. If I stayed with her, I wasn’t going to be experience the pain that I was experiencing at that moment.
I blamed myself and wondered how different things were going to be if I just stayed. I also wondered if I had given my sister enough love, was I there enough for her? My sister loved me and she never gave me a reason to doubt her love for me, but was my love enough for her? I wondered how she felt in her last moments. Was she happy, was she fulfilled? Did Mdu satisfy her in his duties as a husband? I guess I will forever wonder about this and will never get answers.
Some lady came to call me and told me that Mdu’s mother wanted to see me. I was still angry at her for the way she treated my sister but for the sake of peace, I decided that I will go to her and I will show her respect.
I went to her, she asked me to sit down and asked me how I was doing. I just kept quiet because I didn’t know how I felt. She spoke to me and I pretended to listen to her, because she was an adult and I was a child. I honestly didn’t even want her there because she never loved my sister when she was still alive, she can’t love her now that she was gone. After her long speech about death, she asked me to go and pour water for her, when I arrived in the kitchen I saw someone I didn’t expect to see. I saw my aunt and she was crying extremely hysterically. I say extremely hysterically because she was crying loudly, letting out crocodile tears and she was rolling on the floor like a lunatic… and screaming “NO NO NO Thenji come back we need you, we need you to come back my child.”
Nxxx I’m going to chase her out.
I won’t allow her to make my sister’s death a spectacle.
Writing this chapter was extremely hard for me because I have lost both my parents and my grandparents that raised me as their own so this chapter brought back a lot of memories. Writing this chapter for me meant that I had to relive my experience and the pain I felt when I lost them. I hope God will give healing to those who have lost loved ones and the courage to be able to face life and love again.