Growing up as a timid, introverted, last child of a family of 6, my bestfriend and bodyguard was my sister, Mma. She took me to any place she went: errands, church, catechism, name it - she even took me to my mission school every morning before heading to the public school where she attended. I vividly remember her telling me to reserve "small" okpa for her. Lol. You see, I was the last child so I enjoyed the privilege of attending nursery and early primary school with snacks my mother would put in my tiny food flask which turns out to be okpa in most cases. My sister used to get all these privileges before I was born and she was no longer the last child. Lol.
My sister kept me away from danger. There were assorted instances where she literally took pains for me. Enraged by the way she stood against having me punished, someone stabbed Chimma in her tender teenage palm. The year was 06, there was blood and I know it wasn't so deep but I never got to say thank you, Mma m.
Chimma died of cancer in December 2013. She was 27 and was about landing her Law degree. Let's not get into details, I would just say she went through a lot of pain. Months before her departure, the pains were so much that I asked the Almighty to place me on that sick bed and let her walk home.
I can recall that August 2013 morning I told her I was leaving her bedside for an errand. "Sommy, I want to follow you" was what she told me. I never replied. Instead I left immediately, found a lonely corner in the hospital and cried my heart out for an hour or so.
Here was my sister who wouldn't go anywhere without me in my tender, naive years, begging to tag along with me just for an hour and I couldn't grant her request. By now, she lost motion in her limbs to sickness and could barely move her hands let alone walk. I shrugged, picked myself up after weeping and left for my destination.
14th December 2013, she told me pains were too much. Her voice was shaking and I could barely hear her. This time, we talked on phone because I returned to school and my brother Chibu and mum were now looking after her in hospital..
On 15th December 2013, I received a call from dad. He told me that Chimma Okoye has slept in peace.
I couldn't mutter a response, couldn't cry or talk to anyone. I was not shaken. I've seen worse and had been more heartbroken when she was suffering.
I was only angry. I got angry to everything and everyone including myself: How could she stay to take all this pain and still leave us? And to God I asked, "how could you take her when I asked you to take me?"