“You Stayed For Me”
This was what you said when he talked you down repeatedly, when he verbally abused you time and again, when he hit you for the umpteenth time, and your eyes took turns to be black, sometimes both at a time, when he gave you a torn lip. This was the word on your lips even when you became a shadow of yourself with a persistent gloom in your eyes, and your face an expression of the unspoken question of when it would all end. It was what you said, through the pain on your arm and sides, when you lay in your hospital bed.
You always said this through the many wounds I’ve seen on your body. I remember once asking what happened to your arm, and you said you’d slipped in the bathroom. You forgot that just the other night I was banging my fists on the door pleading with daddy to let you go. I heard you cry and beg him for mercy but he didn’t let up. You stayed on for me, but you don’t know how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep because the woman who bore me has a constant veil of sorrow on her face. You lost all the essence of your person and you died in many ways even though you still lived.
I know a part of you wanted out if this nightmare but when you told grandma about it, she insisted you stay and build your home, and not allow another woman take it. She didn’t see that you had already lost your dignity as a woman, and that there wasn’t much left of you. She told you to stay on for my sake.
Some of your friends advised you to leave, even it was for a while, and you assumed that it was because they wanted to have my dad for themselves or that they were jealous of the fact that you’re married and they are not. You wouldn’t hear of it, and you cut all ties with them. At the back of your mind, you were staying for me.
Other friends of yours talked you into comparing notes with other women who faced worse forms of abuse at the hands of their husbands, and seeing that yours was milder, you were happy. Or were you? Still, at the back of your mind, I was the reason you stayed on.
After another black eye, you met the pastor in tears, telling him of all your woes and how you’d had enough and wanted a separation. He forbade you to leave and asked that you pray more, and submit to my daddy. He told you that God hates divorce and that a wise woman builds her home. He also reminded you to stay for my sake, and knowing how much you love me, you stayed.
Even though you stayed on for my sake, at some point I was no longer the reason you stayed on. You seem to have lost the will to live even though you didn’t want to die.
Mom, I was your reason for staying despite all he put you through but you didn’t see that I’m a young child who needs a whole mom and not just a living one. What I see from your life and dad’s is that it might just be okay to hit and be hit. I was the most recurring reason you stayed on, but you didn’t think of the fact that a broken and battered mom isn’t what any child should have. Even though you didn’t mean to, you made me responsible for every physical and psychological torture you had to endure.
You stayed on because you didn’t want another woman to raise me. But how well have you been able to do this when you’re always in tears, or in hospital from the beatings my dad gave you?
Now you’re gone. I’m broken beyond words, seeing you stayed because of me till he killed you. Now that I’m without a mom, what will be my lot. You left me to be raised my the same man who killed my mom. He’ll get married again, and I don’t know awaits me in the hands of a stepmother. You stayed for me, and now you’ve died for me.
The pastor sent you back to that hell, and he said it was for my sake, and now he stands at your graveside and tells everyone that the Lord gives and takes away.
Grandma is here and she cries bitter tears of regret, wishing she’d taken you in when you sought refuge. She can’t come to terms with the fact that she shares a blame in your death.
You’re gone forever mom, having stayed for me. You lived, until you died, for my sake. You didn’t mean to, but now a part of me bears the blame for your death, because it’s obvious that if I wasn’t in the picture you’d have been more confident to leave when you had the chance. But who’s to say you wouldn’t have stayed on in the hope that my coming would make him change? I’m broken beyond words, and I don’t know when my healing will come.
Seeing you always had me in mind, I can’t stop wishing you left for my sake. If you did, I’d have still had you here with me.
In honour of every child whose mother died at the hands of his/her father.