February! The Ayankunle family will never forget the second month of every year. One of their daughters had turned the month into a sour one for those who knew her – and for the rest of their lives, February will always sing sad musical notes in their annals. Perhaps, other good news wait in the same month in the years to come – it will only make the month become bitter-sweet. Until then, they would be content with the bitter pill that this February has forced down their throats.
Bola, the first daughter of the Ayankunles, had just slit her wrist and patiently she had lain in the bathtub of her one-roomed hostel apartment as her blood drained into the gutters outside – colouring the well-cemented structure a scarlet red. Songs of heartbreak and sorrow she sang that night as she gradually slipped into unconsciousness – and a deep sleep from thence – following a flutter in her heartbeat rate.
A neighbour who had brought out clothes to wash in the hostel’s expansive compound the following morning had noticed the clotting blood in the drains and raised the alarm. The blood was traced from the drains to Bola’s apartment and her door, which she had locked before the incident, was broken down as they sought to find out the reason for so much blood emanating from her room. But they were a little too late as she was certified dead on arrival at the hospital.
Everyone wondered why the 26-year-old lively lady would take her own life. She had just returned from home after a weekend with her parents. She had greeted everyone in the compound and handed out snacks she brought with her before retiring for the night. She gave everybody a hug – telling them her parents sent their regards. Everyone in the hostel wondered because she didn’t show any sign of depression.
The final year student of Biochemistry didn’t give everyone a tough time as to the reason why she committed the crime. Police found her suicide note in her room explaining why she had to end it all – it was so long a letter.
“February 3,” the letter began.
“It will come as a rude shock to you that I ended my own life. It is actually a shock to me too – but I think the world would have one less thing to worry about. I have been a big burden to the whole world and nothing good had come out of me to the world. So I think if I leave the world, the world will be a better place without me – since I used to be a burden to it.
“My decision only came to its height today. It actually started when I was six-years-old. It was the first time my alcoholic of a father would hit my prayer-warrior of a mother in front of me. I am the first of five children. My father is a successful transport operator – y’all know that already – and my mum runs a chain of supermarkets – that’s no news too.
“But as good as they were out of the house; the house had never been a home to us as a family. Dad is the main cause of the problem and he spear-headed the lack of peace in our home. His alcoholic habit has died-hard. But rather than hugging his pillows, he would hug our mother with punches and kicks – as if she was the genesis of his drunken habit.
“We the children were not spared as we received one or two kicks to the head or blows to the stomach as we tried to separate them. By the time I was 10, my father would heap insults and tirades of expletives at me. He was the one who made me understand that I was a mistake in his life and that of his family. He expressed his mind better after getting drunk.
“’Bola, you can never be a useful child. Your mother used you to trap me into marrying her. I regret the day you were born,’ he would say over and over again. After each episode, my mum, despite her bruise and scratches, would hug us and comfort us. She would tell me not to pay a mind to what my father said and I would shake my head in agreement.
“These words lived with me each day of my life and I dared not say anything to anyone. I lived each day in fear and with the passing of each night; I got convinced that I was a useless entity in the world. When I was 15, I summoned enough courage and sat my mum down and asked her if I was truly a mistake but she dismissed it. She encouraged me never to tell anyone about what goes on in our house because everyone goes through their own problems. She made me realise that the only person we can cry to is God and through the bible we would find consolation.
“Over the years, I held on to my mum’s words and kept a smiling face to the world. I never let anyone see my flaws or fears but deep within me, they were festering into a rabid cancer. I would cry to God every night to heal me. I would call on Him to heal my dad of his sickness. But people, it wasn’t working. Dad would get drunk, beat his wife and while I sent the other children out of the house to their rooms, I would receive my share of the lashing – the beating had stopped but the words never ceased.
“I made enough effort to ensure that my four younger ones were not affected by these happenings. They never received any verbal lashing from dad. It was a good world for them. They were the ones he really planned for. So, I made sure that they never saw the abuse their mother was going through.
“On my 21st birthday, I called my mother again. She had thrown a surprise birthday for me. I had been so disturbed that I kept failing my SSCE. With each failure, comes another round of abusive hurls from my dad. I asked her if I really would make it in life. I asked why she remained in my dad’s house despite all the wealth she had to herself. She told me that marriage is for better for worse and divorce is not an option. Married life entails a lot of sacrifice and perseverance. Again, she said I should only focus on her and the world of God and not pay a heed to what my dad was saying.
“Finally, I got admission after my 22nd birthday. I was free from this abusive man. I was happy to be on my own at last. But due to what I had experienced, I found it difficult to make long-term friends. My friends were mostly from the fellowship on campus. I feared men a great deal. I talked a lot to God and read the bible. But as I kept working hard in school, I discovered I was not mentally balanced.
“In my third year in school, I told my mum I wanted to seek professional help because I felt I would explode from all that I was carrying. My mother said the best help came only from God. She said she didn’t seek professional help so I needed none. She said I was slacking in my relationship with God – hence the feeling I was having. She said I should talk more to God and attend fellowship more. Professionals also have their own problems and they are human too – they would make fun of our family problems if I run to them – she made me understand. I heeded her advice and kept talking to God.
“I am currently in my final year and I can’t get rid of these thoughts. I received a call from home last week that mum had fainted while in one of the supermarkets. I rushed to her side at the family hospital. She was fine and was promptly discharged. When we got home, dad was waiting – drunk as usual. On sighting us, he began his usual words. That was the height. I was tired of hearing those words. I felt something snap in me and I knew there was no going back. The next day, I returned to school and after a deep conversation with God, I decided to end it all – through this less-painful method.
“I am sorry I took so much of your time. But Bola has ended her journey here and I would like everyone to understand that people who appear happy most times are the most-troubled in the closets of their hearts. I worked hard to ensure that people were happy but I never experienced happiness. The joy of every parent is to see their children succeed but when a child is seen as a burden, it is better such a child leaves to unburden the parents of their burdens.
“I hope people will pick one or two lessons from here. Regards to all who knew me and I hope that my dad’s burden is now lightened after my departure.
“Your neighbour, friend, daughter, Bola.”
The letter was the highlight of that February for everyone who read it. Was it by chance that Bola was born in February and she ended her life in February?
© YTC… ‘019