Home Essay Competition Creative Essays My Biggest Regret by Emmanuel Enaku.

My Biggest Regret by Emmanuel Enaku.

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I was born in 1968, a little before the modern explosive technological innovations and inventions, you might say. I had a very interesting childhood. Although not born to a wealthy family, my parents saw to it that I had the best life they could afford giving me, I lacked nothing, at least nothing I could think of because then, our wants were few.

At the age of seven, I was sent to school. So brilliant was I that I attracted several of my teachers and fellow classmates. It must have been hereditary because my family was known to be a very enlightened one. After gaining my first school leaving certificate, I forwarded my studies to college and later to a polytechnic where I bagged an OND and HND respectively.

I got a job as a secretary in a one of the government owned institution and was later promoted to the position of head of accounts in a very short period. This, no doubt was due to my competence and good business know-how.

During this period, I was courting a lady; her name was Grace. Grace had everything a man would want in a woman. She was caring, intelligent and resourceful and a great cook. I thought I knew everything about Grace, at least everything that I needed to know and I was fully ready for marriage.

It was a decision I made which I will live to regret for the rest of my days….

By this time, I had gotten a lot of money in my account; I thanked my stars and praised Grace because I thought she had a hand in my success. After all, the saying goes; every successful man has a woman by his side. With some of my earnings, I was able to get myself a Mercedes Benz and made plans for our wedding with the rest. My parents had already approved of Grace, she was such a lovable person that it was difficult to come across her and still have doubts.

A few months later, the wedding date was fixed. As at now, there had been had been great technological impact in the branch of medicine, leading to the discovery of sickle cell anemia but I was so excited at the prospect of getting married to the woman of my dream that I did not investigate further.

Grace and I soon got married and lived so happily. We were still young and did not want to rush into parenthood. I went on with my business and opened up a shop for Grace. Things went so well for us and a few years later, we decided to build a family.

I was so glad that I was going to become a father, I promised to take very good care of my family, I began fantasizing on how my child would grow to be so intelligent and would bring pride to us the way I had done to my parents.

But this was all daydreams as I was soon to face reality and regret my terrible mistake…..

Nine months later, Grace gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, I was the happiest man, and those of you who have had your first child would understand what I mean. My joy was made much greater because my first child was a boy. How we Africans love our first child to be a boy! Of course, I was happy, but with my excitement also came worry. My son was not quite normal, at least not as normal as I think every new born is supposed to be. For instance, my son had yellow spots on his body and often looked emaciated. I thought perhaps my wife’s breast milk will do the magic and again I made the mistake of brushing it aside.

One day, I overheard a discussion about sickle cell anemia while waiting my turn at a  bank; I was not really interested but then, one of them made a statement that drew my attention.

 

He talked about some signs such as yellow spots on the body and a yellow ring surrounding the pupil. I became alert and gave apt attention to their discussion in which more shocking details were revealed; like the vacio-occlussive crisis, delayed growth, anemic complications and premature death.

I went home that day and started researching on sickle cell; I discovered that I had had the wrong notion all along; that talk about sickle cell being spiritual was all fallacy.  Indeed knowledge is a good thing. Through my research, I learnt that both parents had to have a trait of the S gene in order for the offspring to have this blood dysfunction. I went to the hospital where I was tested AS.  Having been a good biology student back at school, coupled with the knowledge I had acquired from my research, I knew a lot about heredity and how I had gotten my AS genotype. The question was now Grace, was Grace an AS?

The possibility made my bones shiver…..

My son had grown up to four years old now and I observed some things about him that made me feel uneasy. I can remember vividly that I was a strong child when I was young; I rarely got ill; apart from the occasional cough, running nose and headaches which weren’t frequent. I had expected that my son will take from me, but he was the complete opposite of what I had been at that age howbeit, much more intelligent than I was.

My son was weak, he was curious but not adventurous and he could not do anything for a good length of time.

On his fifth birthday, an event took place which will remain ever fresh in my memory. I had returned with his birthday cake to see him writhing in pains on his mother’s laps. I asked Grace what had happened but it appeared that she knew nothing about it. I rushed to my son, his eyes were already dilated and he was sweating profusely. “What has happened to you?” I asked him, although I knew, I was just hoping that it would be something else, perhaps a fall.

“I don’t know” he said amidst tears, “I just started feeling pains everywhere”.

Grace panicked and asked that we take him to hospital; every plan of his birthday party was quickly forgotten as we rushed him to a teaching hospital not too far from our home.

At the hospital, tests were carried out and the result came out that our son was an SS carrier, a sickle cell!

The news hit Grace so hard that she never recovered. I regretted my foolishness and wished I could turn back the hands of time. The doctors consoled us and gave us encouraging words but we knew things would never be the same again.

Our son was discharged a week later and we went home a different family from what we had been. Grace and I were afraid to have another child; we just could not bear the possibility of having another sickle cell child.

Our son grew up having frequent blood transfusions and episodes of crisis. At 17 years, he developed eye problems and had to use a lens which did not help as his eye defect kept growing worst.

Things went on this way until he was twenty two, then the worst happened… something Grace and I had always dreaded since we found out our son’s genotype.

One day, our son had crisis and we rushed him to the hospital he was given sedatives but that did not help him; his pain kept increasing. I looked into his eyes and saw pain, pain more than I could ever comprehend. Grace and I stayed with him that night, all the while trying our best to sooth him. At exactly 1: 00 AM, our son held us tight, told us he loved us so much and breathed his last, he died! My only son was dead, our only child.

Grace wasn’t herself anymore, she was so bitter and a few years later she died also.

I could not remarry; I just could not do that to grace and worst still I could not forgive myself for the mistakes I had made. I wanted to end it all.

I thought of suicide daily and then, one day, determined to end my life, I went into town. I was going to jump over a cliff down unto the jagged and hard rocks that surrounded the bank of a river.

It was going to be a painful death but my life was even more painful.

 

I was about taking the deadly leap when a car parked close by. Its speaker was turned to the highest and I could clearly hear the tune. It was a hymn, a melodious and quite emotional hymn which drew tears from my eyes and the words that arrested my attention were “whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well with my soul!”

I was not a religious person but those words had touched something deep inside of me. I was blinded by tears as I stood listening to the lyrics. I was weak, a broken man.

I fell to my knees and I prayed, I prayed and gave my life to Christ and God forgave me.

Now, well advanced in age, I can still say “it is well with my soul”.

Emmanuel is a student of civil engineering at CRUTECH,  Calabar,  Cross River State. He loves writing fiction and currently has some books he’s working on and wishes to publish this year. He’s hearing impaired but jovial. He wrote in via enakuemmanuel@gmail.com

 

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