My mother got sick while she discovered that she was pregnant with me…..what people like to diplomatically call a “beautiful accident” after a six year gap between me and my sister…..the doctors verdict was ominous and serious…they strongly recommended that she terminate the pregnancy to be able to fight for her life….she balked at the idea and opted to keep me …she had a gentle but stubborn streak. I cannot remember ever seeing her in a raving tantrum to have her way…she never raised her voice or bark orders…but she had a steely look and tone that sent us all obeying her without much question…
She was wonderful, exotic, beautiful and artisty…She was a loner not only because she was not from my country of birth but also because she enjoyed being her own company…that is one thing I could say I owe to her…I learnt never to get bored being on my own….. She was difficult to understand but hard to be angry with for very long …An argument was always resolved with a hug and a kiss...Once you realized that she almost always got her way then it was easier to love her and very hard to deny her…I spent most of my childhood following her around when she was well enough and I was simply in awe of her trying to ape how she walked, talked and got about doing whatever it is her heart willed...I was never quite as good but I enjoyed trying, I still do ..
But being a child then, I never understood why she had to leave me so often and so frantically when she got sick…if she was conscious she would weakly whisper that she would be back soon as my dad carried her off….
Other times, she wasn’t conscious and I was numb with dry racking sobs wondering why she would not answer when I called out to her…She was the lightest sleeper in the house, the one bound to hear me whimpering under my blanket when I think there is a monster under my bed…A hand always held me back and I resisted …ultimately using some brute I was led back into the house my cries growing more hysterical watching my father speed mother off to the emergency room….I would stare out the window crying till exhaustion set in and relieved me temporarily…I feared that one of those trips would be her last…then somewhere along the way my mum went into a long journey of discovering her faith in God…she embraced it fiercely and believed in it almost fanatically…. holding on to it for dear life literally…she transformed and more and more and we kind of lost her to religion… we were somewhat happy for her though because she found some joy in her struggle for life….she was like a new person…Mother succumbed to her illness though, weeks before I turned 22…she had suffered greatly in the last few years and deserved some peace.
It got me thinking when I first encountered death, I was 15 years old when my cousin lost her 4 year old son to leukemia days before his sister was born…the parent’s marriage never really recovered from that loss….
But like we all say, time has a way of dulling the pain and loss of those we love and slowly we pick up our lives. Our smiles come back slowly occasionally flawed with some memory and our heartstrings get yanked…we sigh, cry, laugh or simply just stare and think of the joy that person brought in our lives and how much we took that for granted.
I have absolutely no idea where people really go when they die…I don’t even know why they die in the first place… but I refuse to accept though that death is final perhaps it’s the start of facing new frontiers …I hope some day I have the honor to be with my mother again….