Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, a lovely baby girl was born, after 36 hours of labor, her mother cried, and her mother laughed, and her parents fell in love with her.
We’ll call her CHARITY, they said, and her mother till this day would swear, that the baby smiled when she heard the name.
CHARITY grew fast, she grew well, she grew wise, and she grew beautifully.
I remember how we both cried on her first day of school, I remember sitting in the school parking lot for hours crying like I would never see her again, I remember how she smiled when I came to pick her up, she hugged me and patted me on the back, she reassured me, and I never cried again.
I remember her school dance, how her father tried to make up a million excuses why she shouldn’t go, I remember how he waited outside her school until it was over and he brought her home. I remember how we laughed over it.
I remember when she went off to college, your father would never admit it, but he walked into the garage and cried, because he realized his little girl was all grown up.
I remember how proud we were when you graduated, your father bragged for weeks on how you would change the world with your law degree, he was and is so proud of you.
I remember the Christmas you brought KEVIN home, I remember how you had gone on and on about him on the phone, I remember how surprised your father was, I remember the look of shock on his face when you told us you were getting married, I remember how you hugged me and patted me on the back reassuring me again.
I remember when your father accepted KEVIN because he made you happy, I remember the smile on your face, your smile from that day is all I think about now.
I remember on the wedding day, I remember how you danced and laughed, I remember how lovely your gown was, I remember how perfect everything was.
I remember how your father stayed up that night, smoking his pipe, his eyes watery, don’t worry he wasn’t sad, he just realized his little girl, wasn’t that little anymore.
I remember the first time you called me on the phone, I remember the fear in your voice, I remember my heart pounding when you explained over the phone, I remember the prayer I said.
I remember when I got to your home, I remember the bruise on your face, I remember the blood on the carpet.
I remember when the doctor said, “sorry ma’am, she lost the baby, and there are some complications”
I remember seeing KEVIN cry, I remember walking over to him, I remember hitting him, then I remember hugging him, but I don’t remember why.
I remember not telling your father, I remember you asking me to keep it between us.
I remember how scared you got, day by day, how you would call me late at night, and cry on the phone
I remember how you would cut the call immediately he walked in
I remember trying to tell your father, but didn’t know how to start, and I remember you begging me not to tell him, we both knew your father would kill KEVIN.
I remember that faithful night; I remember how your voice sounded on the phone
I remember how I rushed to your father and told him everything
I remember the look in his eyes, I remember the shot gun, I remember your father driving like a zombie, with one intention in mind, “to rescue his baby girl”
I remember the cold feeling I had when we arrived at your home, it was eerily quite
I remember walking in behind your father; I remember the shot gun dropping from his hands
I remember your father falling to his knees beside your battered and bloodied body
I try not to remember how you looked
I try not to remember the tears on your face
I try not to remember what KEVIN did to you
But I remember the gun shot
I remember your father rushing outside
I remember seeing KEVIN’s body in the street; I remember half of his face blown off
I remember how peaceful you looked in your casket, I remember the smile on your face, I remember the peace around you
I remember the feeling of being lost, as your casket was lowered into the ground, I remember you were buried 36 days after you were murdered, just as you were born 36 hours after I labored for you.
KEVIN, you were not there when CHARITY was born
KEVIN, you were not there on her first day of school
KEVIN, you were not there on her first day of college
KEVIN, you were not there when she was sick, or when she was hurt
But KEVIN, you were there when she was murdered, because you murdered her
KEVIN, if she was not good enough, why did you take her from me
KEVIN, you were a coward in life, and still a coward in death.
KEVIN, you will be judged
CHARITY, I am sorry I didn’t do more, I wish I had, I wish I told your father, maybe you would still be with us now
I go through the days on auto pilot, waiting patiently until we all meet again, and then you will give me the reassuring tap on the back.
I love you CHARITY, always have, and always will.
Rest well baby girl.
P.S- Your father says hi, and don’t worry he cleans your room twice a week, and he keeps everything just the way it was.
Your grieving mother.
The writer lives in Africa. Remember Domestic Violence is NOT just an issue in the United States.