The last Saturday of June 2019 will no doubt remain the worst day for Teryima and Esther Abomger, which neither time nor events can obliterate from their memories – it was the day they lost two of their three children.
The children – Shadrach Saater Abomger (10) and Meshach Terhinde Abomger (eight) – went to a nearby lake with their aunt to bathe but never returned home alive. Shadrach and Meshach were pupils of Aunty Ayam Nursery and Primary school, Gboko, Benue State. Shadrach was in primary five, while Meshach was in primary three.
For their mother, Esther, who hails from Mbayongo in Vandeikya Local Government Area of the state, life is nothing but a brutal and cruel reality. The kids she left behind while she went in search of food are no more.
According to her, being a primary school teacher in Gboko, she also engages in farming activities to augment her income. Some days before the tragic incident, she took permission from her place of work to attend to her farm, telling her children she would be back four days later. So she was away between Wednesday and Saturday of that week.
Unfortunately, on her return on Saturday, it was the heart-rending news of her kids’ death that welcomed her.
“It is true that l lost my two precious and handsome kids. Although I wasn’t around when the incident occurred because I went to our farm settlement on Wednesday and returned home on Saturday.
“Immediately I got back, I asked after my children – Shadrach and Meshach – and I was told that they went to the lake to have their bath. I was relaxed because it was normal; they would go to the lake and come back safely.
“Then later, my sister came to meet me to say she went to the lake with my two sons and that the younger one fell into the lake. His brother tried to rescue him and both of them drowned.
“Immediately I heard that, I screamed and started calling on God. My Lord! My Lord!! My Lord!!! I ran out almost naked and went to the lake, where a large crowd had gathered, crying,
“I told them that they should allow me to go inside to bring out my children because I felt it was taking time to bring them out so I tried to do that myself,” she said.
As she spoke, she burst into tears, asking why everything could be so wrong. Esther shook her head and tears continued to flow down her cheeks.
“I tried to jump into the lake so that I could personally search for my children and rescue them but the people around me did not allow me to jump into the water. I told the people that I was leaving everything in the hands of God and that God should take charge.
“From there, I was taken back to my house to continue to pray to God to intervene, not knowing that God had had His final say. It was their lifeless bodies that were recovered.
“It is unfortunate that my children have gone; they left me behind to nurse the wound, they left me just like that. I cannot see them anymore.
“Since their death, I have been waking up every morning thinking they will return to me. But it is all a dream; the experience is too much for me to bear,” she said.
The bereaved mother said it would be impossible to forget the kids as she recalled with nostalgia how the children made huge impressions on her during the short time she had with them
“The first thing that came to her mind was the fear of God my kids had. They were God-fearing; they loved serving God and working in His vineyard. They loved Jesus Christ so much and participated in church activities very well. They were Catholics and even have their chapel here at home where they used to pray the rosary.
“Right now, the altar is there but there is no one to continue to use the rosary in the morning and at night. It was the elder one that set up the altar where they used to gather and say the rosary.
“These were children I carried in my womb for nine months each. I gave birth to them through normal delivery. They were born normally and were growing normally until this evil befell them.
“In fact, the two children understood me so well and even knew about the hardship we were facing. At times when these children were going to school and I gave them money to take commercial motorcycle (Okada), they would return home from school with the money and say, ‘Mummy, this is the money you gave us to take a bike; we did not use it because somebody gave us a lift to school’.
“Even when I made arrangements with a commercial motorcyclist (Okada rider) to take them to school and back home, they said no, that they understood that things were not rosy for me and therefore would not like me to waste my resources like that.
“They said they would prefer to take Okada to school in the morning and trek back home. And I said no because the road to their school was very bad, but they insisted on taking Okada in the morning and trekking home.
“They would tell me that even the money I gave them to use to take Okada home after school hours, they didn’t spend it because they preferred to trek home from school. They were doing that and I never heard any complaint from anybody about their attitude in school, on the road or at home,” she said.
According to Esther, the late Meshach was a very brilliant boy who won many awards in school.
“Meshach won awards for his school; he was performing very well, even up to the time of his death. From the time when he was in nursery class, he had been winning awards,” she said with a note of depression as she reflected on her children’s lives.
Giving a sad history of her life, which has been filled with loss of loved ones, Esther questioned God for bringing her calamities.
“I have lost five of my siblings. We were eight in number but five of us have died and only three of us are left now. Their death has not been completely erased from my mind and now, my two children joined them in a mysterious way. What a callous world!
“Right now, I’m meditating with God’s words because we were told that nothing happens without the knowledge of God and the Bible tells us that in whatever situation we find ourselves, we should give thanks to God. I’m now giving Him thanks because if God hadn’t permitted it, it wouldn’t have happened.
“So, I’m waiting for God to reveal to me why this kind of thing should happen to me now and what I should do to prevent such from happening in future because it is only God that knows the future. He knows our beginning and end; He is the only one I trust; I hope He will wipe away my tears,” she said.
Esther said her Shadrach and Meshach would be buried on Saturday (today).