Jeff received a phone call at the office Tuesday morning just as he was settling in. It was from the hospital. David had just been admitted into the emergency ward.
He got to the hospital to meet his mother and sister sitting and sobbing by the bedside, and watching his little son lie almost lifeless, while praying he would respond as soon as possible. He left them to see Dr. Steve, the family doctor, who briefed him on the condition of things with David.
From what he was told, David was jumping on a chair and playing while being prepared for school that morning, when he fell off the chair and hit his head on the tiled floor. He complained of slight headache, but kept growing dizzier by the moment, until he could no longer respond. The impact of the fall on his head was quite much, and he eventually became unconscious. It may take some hours before he wakes up, but he will.
David woke up six hours later. When he looked around, he saw everyone wearing sad faces, sobbing and whispering amongst themselves. They were delighted to see him up and immediately called on the doctor and nurses to attend to him.
By morning the next day he felt much better. Jeff was by his side. Grandma had just left to freshen up and would be back soon. While leaving, he asked her to get some things for him from his school bag.
More examination was done on him, and the doctors had a good news. He was fine, and there wasn’t any damage to his brain. But they’d like to leave him for the rest of the day for more observations.
He was discharged the next day, and they all returned to Grandma’s house. He had not said much to anyone since he came back to consciousness the other day, except smile back at anyone who touched him. He had also stared into something severally yesterday from the things he asked for.
When they got home, his mother and sister went to the kitchen to make something for everyone, while Jeff and his son walked into the room. It was his room when he lived with his parents. They both sat on the bed and stretched their legs beside each other, father and son. It reminded him of the many times his dad would come sit with him and they’d have man-to-man discussions. He couldn’t remember ever having such with his son, and at four he was already grown.
They sat quietly for a while, Jeff staring down at his son, not knowing what to say or how to start up a conversation. He had taken the rest of the week off after he heard David was in the hospital. Fear had overwhelmed him, especially when he remembered it was barely a week since he lost his wife.
He looked at him again, and this time their eyes met. David saw tears drop from his father’s eyes.
“You scared me,” Jeff said, robbing his head. David didn’t say anything, so he continued. “I was afraid I was going to lose you.”
David rested on him, looking away to the window.“
Look, I don’t want you to be far away from me again. I don’t want to lose you like I lost your mother.”
“You were scared I’d go away just like mum?”
“Do you think I would have also gone to heaven?”
“Yes, son, but it isn’t time yet.”
“But why was everyone crying when mum was gone?”
There came no reply.
“I didn’t cry. Do you know why?” And he told him all that had happened that Monday night.
“I was afraid she will leave me and go far away, but she taught me how to keep someone in my heart so I won’t have to be afraid of them being away from me. She said if I want to keep someone in my heart, I should love them very much, appreciate and enjoy the times I spend with them; and when they are away, I should remember those times and feel happy as if they are still there with me. She also said I could keep something to remind me of them every time. I was happy because I could keep her in my heart and I won’t cry again any time she was away. She gave me her gold necklace given to her by her mother. It is beautiful though the box is old. She also gave me her small picture. It fitted into the box.”
He brought out the small box from his pocket, opened it and began looking at it. “Anytime I look at them and I’m happy, I know she is in my heart.”
Jeff let the tears flow and he sobbed increasingly. Then David turned to him, just when his mother and sister were standing at the door to invite them to meal, and asked, “Dad, did you also keep mum in your heart before she died?”