Until We See Again, Daddy

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It was depressing to watch young Aminatah throw herself over the casket bearing her father’s body.

“Daddy, don’t go and leave me. I want to go with you,” she screamed bitterly.

Once the Imam of Caldwell, the late Alahaji had a compulsive habit of smoking cigarettes. After spending half of his life consuming nicotine, tuberculosis had riddled the body of Aminatah’s father.

“The pope spent three months bed ridden and we did all we could to save his life. We took him to every hospital in Liberia and were told he had TB, but there was nothing we could do,” stated Topah, his third eldest son.

On the day of his burial, a tradition in the Muslim community saw crowds of men whisking away the casket of the late imam who once stood at a towering 6’2 and was remembered as having a friendly spirit.

In the midst of his body being taken for burial, Aminatah threw herself out of the hands of her mother who held her back, screaming at her father’s corpse.

“Don’t go daddy, please. You can’t leave me like this,” she pleaded.

After almost throwing his casket down several times, the body of Alahaji was finally buried and the life of Aminatah and the Kamara family went on.

One year after his death, Aminatah began to show signs of depression and mental instability, something her family says never happened before.

“Aminatah woke up one night and took her young baby out of my bed and carried him away. I was asleep and didn’t know. It wasn’t until in the morning I heard gossip about a child being found wrapped in old clothes in the middle of the street, where they found him luckily still alive,” added ma Kadia, Aminatah’s mother.

According to the distressed mother, who says she was the one who took care of her dying husband, Aminatah’s condition afterwards seemed to worsen over night.

“After she tried killing her baby, she continued endlessly to try to harm him until I had to put her out of our house. Months after she left, I saw her one day pregnant to my surprise.” Ma Kadia added.

Now grinding her teeth and talking to herself, which ma Kadia says Aminatah never did before, she believes Aminatah was never able to get over the death of her father.

“In between the year of her fathers death, Aminatah put us through hell. We were always running one place after another, from hospital to the police station because of her,” ma Kadia lamented.

“Then she met a man that was very abusive towards her. She gave birth to a girl child which she told me was for another man she was seeing before her fathers death. The new man she had was dangerous,” ma Kadia shared.

“The man beat her and put her out one night with her baby. Days later we had to rush the baby to Island clinic where the baby passed away. Through it all, Aminatah was at home with me,” ma Kadia added.

Meanwhile, Topah, who says he did most of the counseling to help Aminatah change and come back to herself, still remembers what she once told him of her disturbing wishes for her life.

“She told me that she wanted to die to join our father. I don’t really know what happened to her in that space of a year, but by the end of it, she became seriously ill, and her wish came true” he added,

“For three months just like our late father, she reduced and turned into a skeleton, lost all her hair and stopped eating. At a certain point, she began toileting on herself and then one morning, to my surprise, Aminatah was gone,” he tearfully stated.

Remembering Aminatah, the girl who loved her father whole-heartedly and was considered his “lil girl” up until his death is hard for the Kamara family. They say Aminatah was the “star” that shone brightly in the eyes of the family and feel that her first child had caused her mental problems. They also believe that Aminatah gave up on life in her heart, the heart they say was broken.

Now three years old, little Mohammed has no memory of his mother whom he never hears anyone talk about. Whenever he asks about his late mother, he’s always quieted.

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