“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.”
― Angela N. Blount
What would be your first reaction when a total stranger dies in your car? What would you do? Whom would you talk to first? What would be going through your mind? – DBM
“Good evening, David Bondze.
I don’t know how you do it, but it’s like you are gradually pulling some of us from our shelves – to speak. I have never shared my story anywhere, and never intended to, but your timeline on Facebook is so clean and beautiful to me, and full of so many different emotions I can’t comprehend, that anytime I click on your profile status, I feel good… even in a bad story. There is surprise, there is sadness, there is joy, there is good counsel, so much humor, disbelief, beautiful men and women commenting, professionalism and utmost maturity. I commend you for that, Dave. You’ve done well, even with the few unfortunate setbacks, you’ve done well for this platform and yourself.
That is the only reason why I am sharing my proposal experience with you and your audiences. You’ve given me reason to open up for the first time.
I was late for an important meeting. I had also had a huge ‘fight’ with my boyfriend. I was suspecting and accusing him of something I didn’t approve of, and for the fact that he kept denying my accusation, pissed me off. I did not have any proof to support my accusation. My intuition was my only proof; and so you can imagine my mood for that day! It wasn’t that great.
I was almost Two (2) minutes’ drive towards The 37 Military Hospital, when an old man walking towards that direction, stopped my car. From the look of things, he wasn’t stopping just mine. He had made several attempts to stop other cars but no one would stop. I slowed down to ask where he was heading to,
“Hospital” he said
I paused for him to jump in. While in traffic, he explained why he was on foot. The Taxi he had chartered developed a fault and he didn’t deem it relevant to charter another Taxi. According to him, the driver offered to put him on another Taxi, but he declined. He was just about 20 minutes’ walk away from the hospital, so he opted to walk.
He was stopping moving vehicles because he started feeling pains in his right leg. He closed his eyes after sharing the brief story with me, and released a sigh of relief. He had a cute smile on his face. I branched to the 37 Military Hospital, and then, informed him that we had arrived.
He wouldn’t move. I informed him for the second time, he still wouldn’t move. He had his eyes still closed, with the smile on his face. I gently tapped his shoulder to draw his attention to where we were. He would move nor make any sound. I was getting scared, so I shook him harder. He wasn’t responding. At this time, I was freaking out, so I screamed for help.
A military man rushed to my aid from the entrance. He firmly shook the old man, and then carried him in his arms. He rushed the man to the hospital, and was pronounced dead.
Dave, let me fast forward to when I finally had to leave the hospital for my meeting, because if I am to type what really happened in that 45 minutes space after the announcement of his demise, the shock of it, the horror, and also for the fact that I couldn’t provide any information about him or a family member…
In that confused state, I drove off, and cried, and wondered where I had gone wrong that day. I had promised the hospital officials to return after my meeting, but I wasn’t sure if I was truly going to return. Who would? It was no fault of mine. I just gave an old man a ‘lift’. While in the state of questioning and crying and fighting myself, so hard not to be overwhelmed by the shock of it, I saw an inscription at the back of a bus:
“He turns your mess into a message. Your test into a testimony. Your trial into a triumph and a victim into a victor(y)”
Dave, nothing in my life that day prepared me for what happened. It really caught me off-guard. To witness death that up-close and personal, nothing could emotionally prepare me for its arrival. I grieved. And while grieving, a phone rang in my car. It definitely wasn’t my phone ringing.
That wasn’t my ringing tone, but a phone was ringing in my car. I followed the sound and found it under the front (passenger) seat. His phone had dropped in my car. I refused to touch it. It rang the second and third time. I kept ignoring. The forth ring, before I answered. It was his wife, asking who I was. I told her what had happened to me and her husband, and she went quiet for a moment, and then said to me,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
It didn’t mean a thing to me. I wasn’t interested. All I wanted was to be left alone. I didn’t want to have a part in that day’s adventure. But she wouldn’t end the call. The old woman wasn’t done talking. She wanted to know if I was okay. She wanted me to return her husband’s phone. She wanted to meet and thank me for giving her husband a ride.
She wanted to pray for me, etc. She then continued to tell me, her son was to pick her husband for the review that day, but had a meeting to attend, so he sent them money to pick a car instead. She begged me to meet with her at the 37 Military Hospital, that afternoon, at 2 or 3 PM. I told her I would think about it but then she was persistent, and so I gave in and agreed to be there at 3.
Dave, life happened for me, not to me. I will explain why I am saying that.
I couldn’t concentrate at my meeting that morning. I wanted to talk to someone about it. I picked my phone from the bag, and left the conference room to use the washroom. I had missed Three (3) calls from my boyfriend, so I called him. Instead of ‘Hello’, he was asking if I had read his text message. I said, ‘No!’ He asked me to read it first.
“There seems to be no trust in our relationship. I’d rather we end things between us and go our separate ways. I wish you the best.”
That was the text he had sent me. After three years of dating him, he chose to end things through a text. I was already occupied with so much emotions from the 37 Hospital experience, so his text didn’t really hit me that deep. I called my Mum and told her what had happened, and she was as usual, ‘Mum!’ I kept thinking, wondering, exploring, looking, searching, crying and trying to figure out what to do with the time left. My boss saw me enter my office, and he joined me there.
He could see I wasn’t my usual cheerful self, so he asked me to take the day off – without wanting to know what was going on with me.
I went back to the 37 Hospital, and a few people who knew the man had come to familiarize themselves with the situation. I heard some of them referring to the deceased as, ‘Iron Man’, because he never smiled. He was always carrying an angry face, and they were surprised he died with a smile on his face. His wife joined us later at the hospital, at 2:30 PM, with her son and daughter. The old woman hugged me so tight, smiling into my tearful eyes. Her daughter shook my hand, and couldn’t help but burst into tears. Her son wouldn’t stop crying. He felt his father wouldn’t have died if he had made time to just take him to the hospital.
Dave, it didn’t matter that other people died in the same hospital. It didn’t matter to this young man, that others had also lost their fathers that, fathers, since the beginning of time have been dying. He didn’t care about any of that. What was bothering him that instant was the death of his own beloved father. His one and only confidante. I watched him cry like a baby. His loss was profound, unique, his alone. He wouldn’t allow anyone touch him. I stood in silence, watching this young man, looking all so vulnerable and lost.
People started saying comforting words to him, hoping it would calm him down, but they were all much of it the same things. The typical’ “It is well’s’, The ‘God is in control’s’, the ‘he is just asleep’s’, the ‘take heart’s’, the ‘you are a man’s’, the ‘sorry for your loss’, the ‘my condolences’, the ‘may he rest in peace’s’”… etc. From where I was standing, this young man didn’t need any of such sayings. He couldn’t hear nor remember words. He needed kindness, and I felt I could offer him that. I moved from my standing position, to gently, embrace him so tight, he couldn’t push me away.
I could understand how he felt. I had lost a parent before, and I wasn’t there with mine either when he died. I had also carried the knowledge of his absence forever with me- like a permanent hole in my purse. I had gotten used to the idea of it, but I had also, always known that ‘hole’ was there. That was all I was whispering into his ears. And from the movement of his body (in my arms), I could feel there was so much he would have loved to say to his Daddy’, things to ask him, things he may have said and probably asked a dozen times but just wanted to say them to him – one last time.
I felt him hold on to me, so tight, and wouldn’t let go. This went on for a few more minutes, and I gladly allowed him. I felt concerned. His mother asked for and saved my phone number on her phone, after I had handed over her late husband’s phone to her. She promised to keep in touch, and that was how my day ended. No police interrogation, no accusations from the family for any wrong doing, no bitter feeling towards each other.
I got a phone call from the widow, two days later. She was still being all appreciative and sweet as any kind old lady would be. I read a text message from her son, two days later, also showing his appreciation. He actually invited me to lunch. Lol!
By the way, Dave, my boyfriend, after breaking up with me with a text message, refused to meet up with me for any face-to-face discussion. I made several attempts and promises to settle issue so we could get back to normal. I promised never to doubt or question any change in him, I promised to change, I promised anything sweet to make a failing relationship work but he wouldn’t want a comeback.
Two months after breaking up with me, he married (Traditionally) a lady who was Four (4) months pregnant for him. He told me in a text message, he didn’t have a choice but to settle down with her. He didn’t want his child to grow up out of wedlock. He also explained, it was due to the pregnancy that made him end things with me. He did apologize, and entreated I tried to understand.
Kofi (The deceased man’s son) and I became very good friends. He knew about my breakup. I also got to know that he was very S I N G L E to the glory of God. They hadn’t buried his dad yet, but he still wanted to go out with my broken heart. The little times I met/saw him, I felt his presence, in a way compromised my life, for the best. The smiles and newness in my life looked strange and somewhat, awkward, but pleasant and exciting. I remember I would err through sentences that never expressed the ecstasy that rushed beneath my skin – when he called my name. Of course, I felt being more ‘Me’ than I had ever known myself to be.
Kofi could light up my most true self. In his presence, I could revive the elements of me that were superb. He could bring my inner beauty, my exceptional, untainted beauty into focus, and I would gasp at the sight of it. Dave, Kofi could risk everything, even the heartbreak of his father’s demise, to want to walk hand-in-hand with me… And, I would always let him. I liked him. He helped me heal from my breakup. He was there for me: just there, for me. He became the most beautiful view I had ever laid my eyes on. His friendship and likeness, and love, defied everything I had ever believed about love and relationships.
He made me want to connect with him!
A month to his father’s funeral, he invited me to his home (And that was my first time of seeing where he lived) to be his audience while he read his written tribute. He picked me up from work and we both went to his home. He served me a delicious meal (which he prepared himself, in my presence), and then started reading what he had written in honor of his father. Half way through his presentation, he stopped, and began to shed tears. He looked at me, shook his head, and then smiled. He was still crying.
“You know the funny thing?” he said, “Iron Man hardly smiled or laughed at anything. Not even at my jokes. He was always angry at something, or bothering me to find a woman and settle. How ironic is it that, in his death, he chose to rather smile?” he cried “I just don’t it.”
At this moment, I could consume his every delicious tear and fault, and just smile in disbelief that, he was, and is, the man I could call mine. He forced a smile at me, and said, “And he smiled in your car. He found you, and left me in your care. I don’t want to do this alone… I love you. It’s barely two month since we met, but I would want to marry you.”
Since we married, I have had the opportunity to evolve in ways I never could without this man. He has shone light on my hurts, disappointments, failures, fears, those injuries I would rather keep hidden from everyone else. I have over the years seen fragments of my past break the surface of my now, and I have always been able to face them, with him by my side… Because Yesterday isn’t today. I am not who I was yesterday. Love has entered a consecrated place in my heart.” – From OSM