Photo: Bayo Owosina/Instagram

“MOMMY, I love you so much,” ten-year-old Tanko said softly as his eyes pierced his mother’s heart. “Don’t worry I’ll paint you and Daddy in my drawing book, and  myself too riding my bicycle that Daddy bought for me chasing my Dog Bala around the garden.” He tried to laugh, but his mother knew that he was struggling to hide the pain. 

The next doctor’s visit for the Abubakars was their most dreaded. They knew it was either they did the surgery or they kept him  on the injections they knew weren’t working. They had called the priest hours earlier to pray over their choice. They trusted only in God now who was their only succor. 

“He’s a wonder kid you know,” the doctor said, “I wonder how he has pulled through so strong. Many kids his age wouldn’t be able to do so well as him. He’s going to beat it Madam Hamza. I know.” 

“Doctor, we pray, and we always believe he would be fine. We just can’t bear to see him in so much pain,” Mr. Danko Abubakar tried resisting the tears, but they flowed freely. He couldn’t hold it anymore. 

“Mr. Abubakar, I just know it would be fine. The specialist has flown in from Chicago yesterday. He’s ready to begin the procedure. I can assure you it would be fine.” 

“Nothing must happen to him doctor. He’s my only child. I carried him for nine months and I fed him from these breasts,” she patted her chest softly. “I can’t lose him doctor. Please save my son,” she cried.

There was nothing Doctor Bala could say anymore. All he knew was that the procedure would work. All he knew. 

Whether it was the doctor’s reassurances that little Tanko would get well, or the priest’s comforting words that there was peace awaiting him now on the other side or the fact that he left with a smile on his face. They didn’t want to question fate, even if they didn’t understand it. Their grief tore them away from any delusion they had borne about these things – pain, loss, and regret. All they wanted to remember now was his final words to them.

“Mummy, Daddy, if I go, please give my bicycle to Aminu who lives two houses from us. He really loves to ride my bicycle.

 “Don’t worry, I would paint your picture there to show everybody up there so they would see how preety my Mummy is and how strong my Daddy is.”

They couldn’t fathom his sense of maturity or strength, but they knew that as he had showed them. 

 Love is the best drug, strong enough to beat any cancer, whether physical or emotional. 


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