Six years of never-ending trauma
By Ebrima Baldeh
When someone or something dies, it did not only deprive one a sense of touch, affection or companionship, it tends to leave you gasping for a reunion with reality. Before the inevitable hands took him away, we enjoyed being the trio brotherhood: Ablie, Dums and Kolly. We did everything together, until destiny morphed us all into whatever we were cut out for.
And for me, to this day, I keep telling myself to be silent about the things that saddens me and talk to myself about the issues that gladdens my heart. Death, continues to wreck havoc in societies, yet, every day when we wake up we think that we have escaped its pangs– what an illusion!
That afternoon, June, 24th, 2014, my phone buzzed; my childhood friend, Kelex told me the devastating news while I was on my way to the village on a news gathering program. ‘Ablie Wadda has died’- Kelex knew it will not be easy for me to process this, so he hung up. While I was grieving, I could only imagine the perfect timing for this incident: God had designed it in a such way that I became one of the first mourners to arrive in Fulla Bantang before the body was brought for the funeral rites the following day.
To say that Ablie Wadda, as he was widely known by everyone, was an easy-going dude was an understatement. And to say that he had a larger-than-life character which endeared him to so many people is to say the obvious. He sacrificed quality time with family to resolve some of the challenges that beseted our native communities. If someone needed urgent transportation to the neighboring villages, you could count on Ablie’s motorbike.
Beyond the rhythmic sounds of the foraging birds in the dead of the night when the heavens are about to open up, in the pitch darkness, intermittent flashes of lightening can arouse joy and hope. Yet, within the narrow and sometimes snakes infested roads of our rice fields, there are so many things to fear for. In the silos of our boyhood exuberance, one flirted with death such as when we attempted to test the depth of the river with our two legs instead of one, not long ago, some teenagers died while swimming in the river. One hot summer afternoon while fishing he caught a big fish, and suddenly we decided to go home, then, a man who thought I was older than Ablie said I should convince (my brother) to sell the fish to him.
If we had escaped colliding with cars on the sleepy roads while traveling at night, the ray of light on our motorbike will render a cunny rabbit blind momentarily, and the creature will stand still with its eyes wide opened. Since, it was at night, we would not take advantage, so we pitied the poor thing, instead, we’d let it go.
From being an Uncle Sam security guard, to the nursing profession; Abdoulie worked so hard to make a mark. He left the village for greener pasture in the Kombos; when he made up his mind to return to the village there was no turning back. I could still see him walking briskly at St. Lazarus clinic in Fula Bantang attending to the sick; while many others with personal issues waited patiently to see him. No, he was not a braggard nor a self-centered guy, he was always at the service of the community or anyone who needed his attention.
It was not the wailing by the women and some of the mourners from far-flung communities stunned by the death of their hero; but it was the innocence of his children that caught my attention. I think they were confused and helpless, unable to process what had happened. They have noticed their father’s physically absence, yet, they were not told what had happened to him. Someone was instead using his motorbike running the compound’s errands as the elders raced to wash the body in the back yard.
As the coffin was lifted for the Janazah prayers before the burial; it had dawned on them that certainly the thing the elders were carrying must be their father. To live with that trauma is troubling, encruciating and heart-wrenching. Six years on, they’ve grown without their sweet daddy, while their mother moved on, life will certainly not be the same. The void can never be filled- this is why, death is a cruel thing. As soon as we cover the deceased with sand, offer our last prayers, and turn our backs, the anguish of separation kicks in as we stagger on our way home.
For some, it usually take them several years before they can come to terms with the death of a loved one, for others, perhaps, death is not something that neverbe understood. We just have to leave with it: the never-ending trauma.