By Chinelo Nwangene
It took dramatic intervention of some medical staff of Pieta Hospital, Onitsha, Anambra state and sympathisers to restrain Mrs Chinyere Nwafor from causing bodily harm to herself the moment after her 14-year-old son, Chukwuemeka, was pronounced dead at the hospital last Sunday.
Orient Weekend reporter who witnessed the dramatic moment when Nwafor, who hails from Onueke in Ezza South local government area of Ebonyi state, was rolling on the floor as she wept uncontrollably, banging her forehead repeatedly on the ground as sympathisers tried to calm her down.
But the restraint and placation didn’t stop the widow and a nursing mother from threatening to end her life following the tragic death of her second son, barely 16 months after the death of her husband and the breadwinner of the family.
“Since departure of my husband, whose death was a mystery to me, I have been struggling to cope with the responsibility of taking care of my children; and, now, my second son has died. I’m finished. Let death come and take me also,” she moaned.
The embattled widow, who resides at J-Aniche Street, Okpoko in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra state, later told this paper, amidst sobs, that their latest tribulation started early July when her first son, Chukwuebuka became ill and they spent all they had, and even borrowed, to treat him. Unfortunately, as Ebuka was nearing full recovery from the sickness, his younger brother, Chukwuemeka suddenly took ill.
The sickness took a dramatic twist on Friday, July 26 when Chukwuemeka went to ease himself and collapsed inside the toilet. Nwafor recalled that “Before then, I had bought some anti-malaria drugs for him but, then, there was no improvement. So, after he collapsed, I took him to a nearby hospital at Mogambo area of Okpoko for treatment. But on Saturday morning, his condition worsened and the nurse on duty called the doctor on phone to inform him of the development and he directed them to transfer us to another hospital where he was infused with many intravenous drip fluid packs and one pint of blood. Throughout Saturday night, his breathing was very scary. I did not know that he was only struggling to live, until he eventually died on Sunday morning”.
The mother of three, who is in her early 30s, expressed shock that death could snatch her second son almost in similar dramatic fashion as her husband, at a time she needed him so much for support.
“Since the departure of my husband, whose death was a mystery to me; I have been struggling with my children to make ends meet and now, I have lost a son, someone I consider a pillar in this struggle for survival”, she said amidst sobs.
According to the widow, it was in late January 2018, when her husband, an iron rod loader at Atani Road Building Materials Market, in Okpoko, in Ogbaru local government area, sent her to the market to buy some vegetable for a sumptuous dinner. But he never came home alive.
“It was around 6pm in the evening when I was preparing the dinner that a small girl called Chinaza who lived in our compound rushed in and shouted, in a loud voice, that I should rush to Mogambo and that my husband was lying there”, she recalled.
“I, immediately, abandoned the cooking and rushed to the place where I found my husband lying lifeless and something like foam coming out of his mouth. I quickly called for help and we took him to our house and contacted his brothers. When they arrived, we took him to a nearby hospital but there was no doctor available and we transferred him to another one, the same one Chukwuemeka died in, where he was confirmed dead.”
She disclosed to our reporter that her struggling family needed financial assistance to survive as she had no job or business to take care of herself and surviving three children- a son and two daughters. She appealed to the Ebonyi state government and other individuals to assist the family.
“Since my husband died, feeding has been a big challenge for us and I don’t have anything doing to sustain our family. Two of my children are presently out of school because there is no money to pay for their fees. Even our hospital bill for Chukwuemeka was paid by some of our relatives in Onitsha. But there is a limit to what I can ask them to do. They have been helpful, so far, to us.
“That is why I am begging for help from government and other philanthropists to enable me feed my surviving children and start a business,” she pleaded.
Mrs. Nwafor can be reached through her personal contact number 08134079408