top of page
  • Writer's pictureWAJ

From Depression to Destined by Passion Fiya

Piece Written by: Passion Fiya

It was the middle of February, and two of our siblings from New York were coming to spend the weekend with us in Jersey. At the time, me and my little sister Sosa, lived in Newark, on the corner of S. 20th st. And our siblings, Akasha and Juju, would come to spend the weekends with us sometimes. (We’re 4 out of 11 children.)

This particular weekend, the weekend of February 14th was a life-altering one...

It was early in the morning. Juju and Akasha had slept in the living room, Sosa was in her bedroom, and I was in mine. When my phone lit up the first time, I saw that It was our older sister, but I let it ring because I was just waking up. Then about 20 minutes later, it lit up again! It was our grandmother. So I started getting myself up to answer, but my body paused. My mind started to wander because it felt a little strange that they kinda called me back to back. I felt like I had to gear myself up for some bad news or something…

And by the time I snapped out of my thoughts to answer, the phone had already stopped ringing. Then about 2 minutes later, another call was lighting up the screen. It was our mother!!!

This time, I answered instantly… “Mommy,” I said, with sounds of worry in my voice. And she stayed silent for a few seconds. Then, in a very frail voice, she said, “Fani’s gone, Lema.” My heart dropped and I screamed, “what happened mommy.” My sisters and brother heard me scream, and came running to the room to find out what happened. The phone was still placed to my ear, and my mouth was having a hard time, repeating those words. They looked at me, and sorrow was already forming in their eyes. I didn’t wanna have to say these words to them. But my mouth finally gained some strength, and with tears slowly falling down my face, I said… “Fani passed away...”

They all started crying instantly. And with tears in their voice, they asked what happened to him. I couldn’t get any more words out, so I put the phone on speaker. Mommy continued, telling us that she took him to the hospital last night because he kept pointing to a pain in his ankle. She said she had just come back from the shop and was getting ready to bathe him, but when she told him to come for his bath, he wouldn’t get up. So she walked over to him and tried to pick him up, but he didn’t wanna move. He stopped her and started pointing to his ankle. He couldn’t speak. Khalfani was born with multiple disorders. One of them being, having an extra row of teeth in his mouth, which contributed to him not being able to speak. And even though he couldn’t speak, some of the family still knew what he was saying. He used sounds, and you could also read his eyes. And sometimes, he even used hand motions or sign language, to communicate with us. So when he didn’t wanna get up, and pointed to his ankle, my mom took a look at it. When she lifted his pant leg, she saw that his ankle area was bruised. She asked him what happened, and he pointed to the back of the home, where my mother’s “friend” Jackie lived.

My mom said she went to the back to ask Jackie why he was pointing to his ankle, and Jackie said, “he fell down the stairs.”

My mother was shocked to hear that, because over the years, Khalfani had always been very careful whenever going up or down a flight of stairs. He holds onto the railing and makes sure he gets one foot sturdy and set well onto a stair before putting down his second foot. So mommy questioned how he fell, but Jackie didn’t make it clear.

Mommy then decided, to take Khalfani to the hospital. When he got examined at the hospital, they said there was much more than just a bruised ankle. He had a lot of internal bleeding, and it seemed as if he had been hit… like, purposely beaten… The doctors could tell that he had some blows to the rib cage, chest, and head area. Someone had abused him. And the damage was awful. The internal bleeding was so bad, that he didn’t make it that night…….

He passed away that night at the hospital…….

My mom was devastated…….

We all were. But mommy wasn’t the same anymore. She spent a lot of her time trying to get to the bottom of what happened. She questioned her friend over and over about the abuse, but never really got anywhere with that. She reached out to different newspapers and radio stations, to get the story out, but didn’t really get anywhere with that. She visited police stations over and over again but didn’t get anywhere with that either. And nothing was the same after. We still don’t know why he was abused, and so much more. Everything seemed gray after Khalfani passed.

But we did find a blessing, in the fact that I and 3 of my siblings were able to be together, and comfort each other when we got the news. And we started spending more weekends together. But unfortunately, that moment didn’t last very long.

I started to get down and depressed. So much, that I stopped working, and let myself go. I didn’t care about making money, I didn’t wanna shower for a while, and eventually, I wasn’t able to keep enough food in the house to have them over so many weekends. So I had to slow down on the weekend visits.

Our older sister Nikki, who lived in California at the time, knew I wasn’t doing well. She spent a lot of her years raising us, and she knew that I had had previous episodes with depression. I was over everything and didn’t care about life enough anymore, to wanna work. I wasn’t making any money, so of course, I couldn’t pay rent anymore. And food stamps only lasted for but so long. Sadly but surely, I was letting it get the best of me.

Then, a few days before June, started, My older sister Nikki called. She already knew my situation and asked if I and Sosa would consider moving to California to live with her. She wanted to help me get back on my feet, and she thought it would be good for us to be around family. Especially, being around our nieces, her 2 daughters, who were 4 and 7 years old at the time, if I’m not mistaken.

The thought of living in California sounded good, but Sosa and I were both a little hesitant. We had lived in Newark and Irvington for so long and were skeptical about leaving everything we knew. California was far from home, and it didn’t seem like it was for us. So we told her we’d think about it and let her know.

A few days passed, and we decided that moving to California, would probably be the best thing for us right now. So we called our sister to let her know, and she said she’ll work the tickets out with grandma.

They managed to find some affordable one-way tickets and booked us a flight that was set to leave in 2 weeks. We were a little sad, and nervous about leaving everything we knew. But we had each other. And it was time for a fresh start anyway.

When we landed at the Lax airport in California, that Miley Cyrus song “Party In The USA” instantly popped in my head, and I told Sosa. She said she was thinking the same thing. Lol. We smiled. It felt good to smile. Our sister and her husband were already there to pick us up. So they helped us put our bags in the trunk, and we hit the road. It was the start of a new Journey…

To be continued.


bottom of page