With a smile on my face,I jog over to where they are staring in fascination at the butterflies flapping their wings softly and sucking up nectar as they perch on the sunflowers and the daisies.
“Daddy they are so beautiful!” Otito says.
“Indeed they are sweetie” I say and watch the beautiful patterned wings and the tiny legs covered in pollen as the butterflies carry on their task.Nneoma,my beautiful wife,walks over and gives each of us a soft hug.
I am content.
The sky is wide,unending and vividly blue and the sun is shining bright and fair,the meadow all around us is full of green grass and a wide variety of different brightly coloured flowers.it feels like we are engulfed in a rainbow.
It all looks like a picture,a perfect picture.
There is no house or person except us in sight,the only sounds to be heard are the soft flapping of the butterflies wings and our laughter.This is pure bliss,this is heaven.We are happy,I am happy.
All of a sudden a strong force like a wind is dragging me backward.I’m being pulled away from Nneoma,Onyinye and Otito.I’m trying to reach out to them but I can’t.I can see them smiling and waving as the distance between us grows.Just before they disappear,I hear Nneoma’s voice as clear as crystal “be happy”…
And then I’m falling from a mountain top;my eyes are shut and I’m screaming but my voice can’t get past my throat..
I hit the ground and open my eyes slowly.Everything is a blur but I can see the image of someone sitting next to me.
“Chima!Chima!thank God you are awake!Doctor!Doctor!”…It’s Nneoma’s mother…
I look around but I can’t recognise anything.
“Where am I?” I croak
“You are in the hospital Chima” the doctor and mama Nneoma say in unison
Then the pain hits me like a hundred elephants stampeding on top of me.I try to get up but I can’t move any part of my body.
“Don’t move.You have 3 broken ribs and a broken leg.You also had a minor concussion for the accident” says the doctor
“What accident?And where is Nneoma and my kids?” I think loudly
Mama Nneoma is now crying too much to even reply
I’m so confused.One minute ago I was in paradise and now I’m in the hospital.
“You were in an accident last week with your wife and kids…”
My head is hurting.I can remember..It was raining and I was driving them to the movies when I suddenly saw the bright lights of a trailer approaching and I lost control of the car.That’s all I can remember
“You’ve been in a coma since last week sir”
“I would like to see my wife and kids.Are they okay?Can I be wheeled over to their wards?”
Mama Nneoma is wailing louder and the doctor has a strange look on his face and pity in his eyes.
“I’m sorry sir but…I’m sorry sir but the kids died before they were brought to the hospital.We did our possible best to save your wife but she didn’t make it..I’m so sorry sir”
“What?!” I stammer.I must be in a dream,a terrible nightmare.
Everything becomes dark and I lose conciousness.
‘Nneoma Jay-Chikezie.1979-2008’ the first reads
‘Onyinyechi Jay-Chikezie.2001-2008’ the second reads
‘Otitodilichukwu Jay-Chikezie.2003-2008’ the third reads
I stare at the tombstones in confusion.I thought I had cried all the water in my body but I was wrong.The more I stare,the more tears roll down my cheeks.
The pain is still fresh..today is the 1st of January 2009;exactly three months since my world shattered.I haven’t gone anywhere except the cemetary since I left the hospital.I haven’t been to work for the past three months but I don’t care.I have no reason to care or to live.
I’m kneeling before the graves of the people I loved the most in the world.How could life be so cruel?How?
“I can’t move on.Nneoma,Otito,Onyinye you were my life” I cry
I get up and wipe the tears from my face.
I place a bunch on sunflowers and daisies on each grave as I have done each day since I left the hospital.
As I turn to walk away to return again tomorrow I hear Nneoma’s voice
I turn around in astonishment and there she is,there they are smiling and waving.
“Daddy I love you” says Otito
“Daddy I love you” says Onyinye
“Chima I love you” says Nneoma
“I love you!please stay with me” I say in tears
“No Chima.Our time is over but yours isn’t.Stay and be happy” says Nneoma
“Please don’t go”
“We have to Chima.We are in a better place but we are always in your heart.Don’t be sad,we will meet again”
They are disappearing now but I have a new found joy.As they smile and wave,I smile and wave back through my tears.
It’s been two years now since the day I saw my wife and kids at the cemetary.I still take flowers there once a week.My wife and kids may be dead but they live on in my heart.
Anytime I feel sad I hear Nneoma’s voice as clear as crystal telling me “be happy”