She is my childhood friend whom we shared a lot of secrets and moments together, but all I knew about her was that she is an only child of a widow. Another thing I knew was that her mother worked as a house help or else, a domestic worker in one of the suburbs in the out skirts of the city.
We schooled together and she was my best friend in high school, a day school in our village where we both grew up. What I didn’t know about Ivy was that, she was fighting depression.
She always wore a smile that made many people love her very much and also made people think that she was perfectly okay. She was one of a kind and would always encourage me whenever I had problems.
She was sexually molested when she was only eight years old by her own dad who died a year later. This left her very traumatized and she never shared it with anyone, even her mother.
At the time of our meeting, she had five children, two girls and three boys. Bringing them up all by her own and I told her, “what a strong woman?”
“I may not be the strongest woman on earth, but for sure I am one of them.” She started, tears rolling down her cheeks. She narrated how her own father took advantage of her and took away her innocence. How he went on to threaten her if she tells any one, how he would kill her and burry her in the banana plantation and nobody will ever know that she was killed.
I felt sorry for her since I saw her as a very strong girl back then and I couldn’t find any fault in her life until today when she narrated her story. “Have you ever told anybody about it?” I interrupted a rather deep thinking Ivy. “No” she replied. “ Even my mother have no idea.”
Ivy was a strong woman and a mother of five. During her college level pursuing Secretarial studies, she met a guy, Ken, whom she dated for the three years of their college education. Ken was a very handsome man and was pursuing a Diploma in Marketing, he promised to marry her but that was never meant to be. Ken was involved in a grisly road accident on their graduation day, which claimed his life.
By that time, Ivy was four months pregnant and they had planned to officiate their union once they graduate. She was deeply stressed and almost lost her pregnancy. She gave birth to beautiful twin girls. She brought them up single handedly for two years, working as a secretary of a law firm until she met Lawrence, an advocate with another law firm in the same town. She found love again and one thing led to the other. They tied the knot at a local church in town.
They started living together and they loved each other very much. Lawrence happened to have two kids aged seven and five both boys from a previous marriage where his wife died when she was giving birth to the small boy.
He had taken the children to his mother where they lived until he found a mother for them. They had talked about the children and Ivy was very comfortable with the children joining the new family. Ivy with her three years old twin girls and Lawrence with his two boys, they started their family. “2-2” she said jokingly. She later became pregnant for Lawrence and had another new member of the family.
Ivy brought up all the children as if they were all hers, she loved them equally and no one would say that they weren’t hers. Lawrence started drinking and fighting daily and insulting Ivy. She couldn’t take it anymore and filed for a divorce which Lawrence wasn’t willing to give to her. She fought for the custody of all the five children and won.
“That’s how I ended up with five children”, she said laughing. The first born is now a third year university student, second is finishing high school, third born (twins) just joined high school and the fifth born is in primary school.
After divorce, she left the law firm and found a job as a secretary with one of the international Non-Governmental Organizations. When she told them her story, they made her an ambassador for the girls and boys who have been sexually molested. Her mother lives with her and helps her raise the children and she is even planning to start a rehabilitation center for the girls and boys who have been molested at childhood.
“ I may not have met the mother of these handsome boys but I know where ever she is, she is smiling and happy that they have a mother whom they love and loves them back.” She told me tears rolling uncontrollably. The boys respect their father but no one wants to live with him. They are really happy to live with their mother and they live a happy life with the rest of the family.