Losing a child is something no woman should ever experience. ‘It is like a bank collapsing. She had had invested thousands of prayers in her daughter over the years, assuming she was storing up points of some kind and when her
investment was about to reach maturity she was soon to be told all that currency was utterly worthless’. That is something I read somewhere a long time ago about what it feels when your child takes her own life. The failure, disappointment, grief and anger are all amplified within you because you never see it coming. Nozipho was not my child and if I was grieving for her like this, what was her mother going through.
“Nelisa, it’s not that I don’t want to tell you but she came to confide in me something that was so close to her. I know you deserve answers, hell we all deserve answers but this won’t be right!”
I explained to her. In a way I was also trying to convince myself because I needed that more than anything else.
“I don’t know how we are going to tell her mom. She is obsessed with Nozipho.”
Nelisa said sobbing silently. I didn’t see Sizwe walk in because the next moment he was standing behind me.
“Things are bad!”
He said clearing his throat behind me.
“You fucken left her alone!”
I said jumping up angrily!
“You left her alone!”
I don’t know why that was so important to me but how could he leave her alone like this.
“What do you mean? She was already in…”
He was about to explain,
“Don’t explain to me I know the process! So when you called her mother you told her where you were?”
I asked him.
“I haven’t called her yet…”
“What do you mean you haven’t told her yet? Sizwe her daughter has been dead a few hours yet and you haven’t called her?”
I asked incredulously but I jumped in fright when he shouted at the top of his voice,
“She was my daughter too!”
He said and broke down. I don’t think I had ever seen my husband cry but it felt so much like it was a little too late for tears now. Why was he crying? It was him who had kicked her out and this happened! He had to leave with it for the rest of his life that’s for sure!
I did not have the energy to go to him and comfort him. I was too numb. Nelisa stood up and went to her father and hugged him. I walked past them and went inside the house. I found his phone on the table and went back to him and said,
“Call her now!”
I told him. I know that by now Nelisa’s mother had probably already told her if that conversation I had overheard in the house from Nelisa and her was anything to go by. I knew with certainty that he too should call her. She can’t just hear it from him.
“Don’t do a rush job over it either!”
I said coldly. He had this look of confusion on his face but I was not letting him get away with it. He dialled the number as Nelisa and I looked on. I don’t think he realized that the phone was on speaker. When it rang it was so loud it hurt his ear. He pushed it away.
She said on the other end,
“I told you never to call me! We don’t need your money and to mess up your precious life!”
Nozipho’s mother burst out immediately. Wait a minute, she did not know! If she knew she would be crying or numb or something but not this! Nelisa’s mother had not told her yet. I could not remember clearly now that conversation between mother and daughter. Had she said she was on her way to tell her in person? Crap!
“I am not calling for that?”
He said but before he could go on she went on,
“Are you calling to tell me why Nelisa is more important again? Why you loved my sister more than me? Is that it? I had it all the last time. Stay away from my daughter and me ok!”
She said angrily. What was going on? Had they been talking all along and these were the things he had been telling me.
“Nozipho is dead dear! Nozipho is dead!”
He said when he finally got a chance to drop a word in. There was silence on the other side of the line before she said,
“That is not funny Sizwe! I know you hate my daughter but don’t wish death on her! Go to Nelisa that you love so much and don’t you ever mention my daughter again!”
“This is not a joke. She committed suicide this morning!”
I think she was in a kitchen or something because I heard something fall to the floor and make a clattering sound.
“Sizwe come on now, please don’t do this to me. Let me talk to my baby Sizwe please say you are joking!”
She said and now it was panic and tears at the same time.
“I am sorry, I am so sorry!”
Sizwe said to her on the phone. I could not stand to hear this conversation anymore. I left them there and made my way into the house. I wanted to lie down. Maybe this was a dream and with me lying down maybe I could sleep and wake up from it. It was a plausible plan as far as I was concerned. I did not have to walk far into the house unfortunately as Zethu came rushing in.
“Nothabo, I am so sorry!”
She said coming in to hug me. Why was everyone saying that they were sorry? What were they sorry for?
Sizwe and Nelisa walked in. Lintle came downstairs and went to hug her father. I guess her anger towards her father was gone.
“I am glad you are back! I am sorry I shouted at you earlier. We are all here a family again!”
She said. When do you say enough is enough? In your life it always feels like they are three players, life and its hardships, you on the ground being pummelled by it and of course God in a distance watching with binoculars. That’s the reality of most people and no matter how much we lie to ourselves, a lot of good church people are suffering. They are continuously being tested to prove their love I guess. I am not a good person I have already accepted that but I could not find myself in church. I would get there and find someone else to blame for my problems without actually fixing them myself. I was tired of this life and this farce. Women were made to suffer I tell you. Think of any field and see why not. Sex, the man is on top, you carry his weight and then his baby and have to suffer child birth! Marriage, most of the burden of care is on you even if you still have your husband around. You are rewarded by lying and cheating then are told that you need God in your life because he won’t betray you, yet He won’t help you pay the bills! Go to work and the men there won’t promote you unless you are sleeping with them and if God did not make you be born beautiful according to others then you are just simply screwed. Lucky are those that end up in marriage with kids because when God blessed you with a child He forgot to bless you with a husband to help you raise it. Men run away from responsibility yet get all the credit when the child succeeds in life. That was the confusion and anger I had inside me right now! I was pissed off at my husband and at Lintle for letting him get away with it.
“We will get through this like a family!”
He told the girls. I am sure if Zethu had not been there he would be asking for a group hug. He looked like a hero to them yet he was the cause. The resentment was building.
“Nothabo let’s talk outside please!”
She said to me. I agreed. Again we went back to the pool area. We sat there for a few hours talking about life in general. This was her way of comforting me. At some point my brother came to pay his respects and pick her up. My husband was running around making arrangements.
No one at supper that night, I included. Too much on our minds I suppose and eventually it was bed time.
“Mum is there a possibility I can get a sleeping pill. I won’t be able to sleep and I am tired.”
Lintle asked. Normally I would not have given her the pill but this time I did. I needed one too. My husband was the one who was meant to stay awake and be tortured by it all.
“Is it ok if I sleep with you guys? I don’t want to be with Sizwe today!”
I said to them. Maybe it was a bit of overshare with the girls but I did not want to be with him.
“The bed is big enough, of course mum!”
Lintle said. I looked at Nelisa for her approval and she nodded her approval. This was not a sleep over but for survival. On the other hand, I wanted to sleep with them because I did not want to lose another daughter.
“Tomorrow we are leaving for Bloemfontein!”
My husband said calmly as I was putting on my pyjamas.
I told him.
“Are you not coming to bed so we can talk about last night?”
He asked me.
“No I am not. I am going to sleep with the girls. They can’t be alone tonight!”
‘But love its part of growing up. They need to experience loss like anybody else.”
He tried to explain but I was not listening. I left him there, frustrated by what I had said and my actions. If I had it my way though, this was the last time him and I were sharing a bed.
I was filing for divorce as soon as we got back.
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you Mike for your blogs…I do learn from me. My letter is inspired by Nothabo’s recent actions….fighting for step kids.
Please help in resolving these issues and tell me if I am over reacting. I am 30 years and married to a 37year old man. My husband have 3 kids out of wedlock, all girls, ages 14, 12 (staying in EC, his hometown)and 8(staying in WC, where we also stay and work) and I also have 1 daughter and she is 6 years, but together we don’t have a child yet…we still trying. When I met and married my husband I only knew of one kid, the last one and only discovered the other two about a year after we got married. What bothered me is how he never cared for the 2 older daughters; he hardly sent them money or visited them whenever we went home, where as we see the youngest almost every month, he paid for her school and even on his medical aid. When I confronted him about this he said it’s because the last one was planned and he stayed with her and her mother since she was born, so she is very close to him and the other two he never had a bond with them. We fought a lot about this and told him the young won’t be allowed to come visit till he mend his relationship with the others a d treat his kids equally. Now things are better bcoz he is responsible for all their education and they also visit during holidays a d twice a year we buy them clothes. The favoritism is still there though because he still treats the little like an egg and calls her almost every day, while I have to remind him to call the other two. My most issue is disciplining the little one, she cannot be touched bcoz it hurts him when she cries…his words, and she is acting like a spoilt brat even though she is not bcoz her mom is very strict. We staying with my little girl and like any kid she can be naughty, I am also strict so she is kind of disciplined, my husband is also tough with her and I don’t have a problem with that as she can be very naughty, but that does not apply go his little one, she gets away with everything and worse I cannot even reprimand her coz my husband get “hurts” when I shout at her…imagine. I am now getting to a point where I am really starting to dislike this kid bcoz whenever she is around there is no peace in the house and she bullies my daughter and hits her a lot. When we in town my husband always puts her daughter on his shoulders and people will ask why he carries the big one while the little one is walking and I can see how my daughter hurts and I can’t even carry her for long she is heavy. I always tell him that I will no longer allow this kid in my home till he get his act together but I also don’t want to drive a wedge between them. The other two daughters also notice this and get annoyed. They are now closer to me than him coz they don’t get much attention from him. I have spoken to his frankly about this but nothing happens and andisazi ndithini to make him realise ukuthi what he is doing is not right.