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The Greatest Pain of All (Photo) – MUST READ

Please spare me a few minutes of your time.

Thank you.

Now take a good look at the picture above.
What do you see?

A well-dressed woman.. nice hair… in the arms of 2 men.

But wait. Why is she like that?

What’s happening? Where is this?

Could this be the mother of the man who was shot to death at the Orlando nightclub?

Could this be the funeral?

Has this mother collapsed because the heaviness is too much for her to contain?

Are the memories and images zooming through her too many to process at once?

The first of these memories are perhaps of her pregnant, elated, and anxious. Hopeful as each month passes but afraid for the outcome.

Will the baby make it to term?

Will he be well?

Will he be ‘normal’?

Another set of images rabidly flick through her mind.

Images of the labor, and of the delivery-

Of his first cry, of the first time she held him in her arms, of his smell, and of him peeing down the front of her hospital gown.

Her heart is bursting; her joy is complete, almost. But…

Will he make it? Will he be fine?

There are viruses, infections, and there are people sneezing into their palms and the next minute they are touching her beautiful baby.

What if? No, she would not pursue that thought.

But what if?

Despite the ifs he makes it. The boy grows. He can walk. He can run. He can ride a bike.

But is it safe?

The roads are so busy these days. Just the other day, a woman was on a zebra crossing with her children… Another child who was waiting at a sidewalk…

The thoughts are unbearable. No, she’d run after him as usual. Despite his protests, despite his strong desire for independence.

Now he’s grown enough for Pre-school.

On the first day she takes him to his class. It takes the head and class coordinator to tear her away from her boy. Nevertheless she hangs around the school fence for another hour.

Will he be fine without me? She frets.

Won’t he miss his mid-morning cuddle?

And to think she forgot to pack in his favorite toy!

And on to elementary, to middle school, to high school and to college.

The fear never leaves.The torture persist.

Will he be fine?

Is he safe?

Is he drinking too much?

Is he happy?

Its 2 am and she’s wide awake listening for his key to turn in the lock.

And then she gets that one message that no mother, no parent should ever get.

‘I’m going to die…’

Her heart stops.

He cannot be found.

Her heart stops.

He has been found.

Her heart stops.

He is dead.

Her heart stops.

‘’And here lies his body.’’

More images flood in-

The first smile.

The picture of him with four missing teeth.

The time that he’d been ill and she’d feared he’d die.

The copious tears for vaccination needles.

The graduations.

The victories.

The losses.

His maturity over the years.

He was dependable, he was supportive.

He was…


And her heart stops.

This write up is dedicated to anyone who has lost a child no matter the age or circumstance.

For there’s no pain like the pain of heartbreak over the loss of a child and no guilt like the guilt of being alive when one’s child is dead.

Please share if you know anyone who has lost a child.

Article was written by Ayibu Makolo, a short story writer who has been published by the Scottish PEN, Bare Fiction magazine, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, AFREADA and Jungle Jim.

She is an author of Bahati Books.

She was long-listed across 2 categories in the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize.

She has 5 published (fiction and non-fiction) eBooks.

Ayibu lives in Scotland and is a medical doctor.

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