The Journey Back Home
Nothing could contain my excitement; I was going back home for the first time after four years! Would Port-Harcourt be the same? Do they still have Bole & Fish at Elekahia Housing Estate? Mommy cook Edikanikong, plenty, plenty! I am coming home! I made sure I shopped for everyone that I knew, even if it was just one item they received from me. I dedicated one suitcase to friends and family, and of course, my mother got the best gifts.
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I remember falling asleep like crazy on the flight and my head always making its way to my brother’s shoulder, with him trying to push my head away each time because he was trying to be comfortable as well. Darn those economy seats on the flight we took; they were so uncomfortable. My brother eventually gave up, somehow even after I adjusted myself, my head still found its way to his body.
My mother and her best friend were all smiles when they saw us making our way from the airport. We quickly ran up to them and were covered up with hugs and kisses. They were so anxious to see us, that my mom only allowed for us to spend only one night in Lagos, and catch the next thing smoking to the Garden City the next day. Our favorite meals were already steaming hot, waiting for us to dive in; yummm, just as I remembered it, with each ball of fufu I put in my mouth. I wasted no time in distributing the things I brought home for everyone; with each person beaming with smiles because their sister had returned, and she also hadn’t forgotten about them.
We had loads of fun that summer; visiting family, going to fun sites, and traveling around Nigeria. We went to the village to see my grandma, who did not fail to mention that she was expecting her great-grandbabies soon. My mom’s birthday was also part of the festivities; she turned 50, on the first of June 2009.
We did not have a party for her just yet; I think she was planning on something big, later on in the year, so we just settled for some snacks and small chops she got for us to enjoy on that particular day. In all of this, I developed a toothache and had to have my wisdom tooth extracted. It was no fun going around town with a swollen face; I could no longer eat as much as I wanted. But hey, I lost a lot of weight.
“Evi, Aunty Beatrice has been sick for a while; we have to pay her a visit.” My mom said to me one day. My aunt Beatrice was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer; she was best friends with my mother’s younger sister and also happened to be our next-door neighbor. When I stepped into her home, I could only fight back the tears. She was just 38-years old with young kids; how could this be? She had bags attached to her back to drain the waste that came out of her body; she looked nothing like the bubbly woman I remembered her to be before I moved out of the country. My mom ran around to make sure aunty Beatrice got her international passport so that she could go abroad for treatment.
“Aunty, don’t worry, all will be well.” “Thank you so much, my dear, you look good! You are a big girl now, oh!” But those words meant nothing to me; I just wanted her to be relieved of her affliction, gosh she was so young!
We were off in Lagos for a family wedding, when my mom and all my aunts, were talking one day—
“what is this cancer of a thing sef?”
They said while trying to perform a breast exam on themselves,
“how do we even feel for breast lumps?” “Oya help me look.”
My mom said to her sister, they were finally becoming aware of the deadly disease, since aunty Beatrice, was fighting for her life, even if hers was cervical cancer.
One day while I was trying to catch some sleep at home in my old room, my mom ran into the room saying to my cousin—“Omo, please help me check my armpit, I can feel a lump.” I immediately snapped out of my slumber, “mommy, you need to get it checked out.”
“Don’t worry, I will contact my friend, who is a nurse, and she will give me something to dissolve it.” “No mommy, please go to the hospital so that we can be clear.” I was a little bit frantic but was able to keep my cool.
And so it began
“Okay madam, your results are in,” the doctor said to my mother after a series of tests.
“We are sorry you have stage 4 breast cancer.”
The revelation from the doctor hit my mom like a ton of bricks. “How could this be? Cancer? Stage 4? Are you sure, doctor?”
“Yes I am, the doctor said back to her, you are welcome to seek another opinion.” My mom was a fighter; she was so strong that we, the children did not even know she was already given a deadly diagnosis, with only six months left to live.
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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.