Mum dies

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DISCLAIMER!

I am unhappy to inform you that the content provided in this story might be disturbing. Coming into close contact with it may be traumatizing, and may cause emotional outburst. It is a total manifestation of bizarre, especially to the emotionally unstable readers. Happy reading.

 

In life we are not born equal. We are distinct in terms out physical outlook, behavior, how we react to situations, and we are probably raised in different climates and environments. Biologically we are webbed to be almost equal. But the kind of upbringing we go through determines the kind of person we eventually become. The environment shapes us, from the physical environment, parents, house, school, to friends and other structures.

People will always have different tales to write or tell. Everyone will have a unique story about their life. But I guess many kids who were raised by a single parent might have a completely long story to write or tell. And I am one of those kids, with endlessly incessant stories based on life happenings.

Growing up without one parent is like a disorder. Any kind of disorder even if small is a multiple problem well. It jam starts every little pebble and crushes them to sand. As much as you may try to empty the sand, still a bunch of stubborn particles will stay spread on the ground and transform that place into a sand playground. And in the future it mysteriously multiplies and becomes a mine, full of misery.

Raising a kid single-handedly is resilient and demanding task for a parent. Try to imagine of a scenario whereby you wake up one morning and there is no mother to look up to. It’s disturbing and excruciating. That is a story I woke up to one day, years ago. That the person I had looked up to as a mom left me in the jungle.

When you have parents to raise you up, it is a very comforting thing. You grow gaining love benefits from both parents. You can have someone to lean on, someone to cry to after you’ve been beaten up by bully kids in school. And you rush to your momma crying helplessly because you know she’ll be worried, she will wipe your tears and tell you it’s alright. Unlike some of us, we had to cry by ourselves because the dad was far less worried about your safety. You just happen to see him once in a while, if you are lucky on weekends.

 

My mum passed on when I was six years old. The demise was so sudden and quick. I guess I did not understand much about death as I do now, but still the effect of her death lingers with me fresh. It is a boomerang effect that echoes itself. The feeling is magically vexatious. And each time I need to console myself with the structural cliché the society constructed for us; that men don’t cry. I just wonder why he can’t be allowed to cry if he feels the agony. Why does he have to pretend that he doesn’t feel the torment, the solicitude, or the disquietude that comes with certain conditions or situations? Is he out rightly invincible from all eminent danger?

To be honest I do cry sometimes. Real men of steel are not supposed to cry, so they say. But if crying makes me a lesser man, let me be then. Grieving someone who meant a lot to your life shows the kind of love you two people shared, and I sternly declare that there is nothing wrong with that. It is a normal thing and it is desirable if you took your time and cherished that person once in a while. I think that is the reason why death anniversaries exist, to commemorate the departed loved ones.

To me it is different. I commemorate my mother every single day. I have a few photo souvenirs to remind me of the soldier who my mum was. I spend a few hours before I sleep to at least look at her and imagine my life with her around. The truth is that I miss her, I miss everything about her. I inherited the upward length of her body, something I am always proud of. She gave me the modest way of doing things, just as she was, and forever she lives in my heart.

To be exact, my mum was a fighter. To date I still don’t understand what was the cause of her death. There was a cause but no one has ever been bold enough to tell me, not even my elder bro or sissy or my dad. All have played dumb and ignored that part thinking that I won’t ask. I was born an inquisitive kid, a learner and a kind of kid who would know things before others knew. I have very much wanted someone from my family to volunteer and tell me how it was like, how I lost my mum and of what cause. They never seem to understand even with that ever curious look on my face.

My granny, from the mother’s side, has always been a blessing to my life. And at one point she was frank and told me what happened of my late mother. My mum slept at my granny’s before she finally slept in peace. I was around at her time of sickness, and thanks to my granny for the tender care she accorded me and my mum. She is the best, and every little vacation I get I make sure I dash to her place and say hi.

 

I will narrate what I remember of her. It is the only thing that can make sense in this story because it is all about her death.

One day I came home from school. I was in nursery and life for me was worthwhile then. I never knew much about my mom as I do now. Being a kid at five years, things never made sense to me and the little I knew was how to have fun with fellow kids having our ‘father- mother escapades’ in the Napier-grass. I had not seen my mum for some time even though we live under the same roof at granny’s.

This particular day there was no one at home except my mom who was seriously ailing in bed. I guess that’s why I had not seen much of her around. As I opened my saiga [boys’ house], I heard a faint voice calling

“Ning’o oyio?” [Who’s there?] She squeaked.

“Ninche,” [it’s me], I replied. Of course she knew my voice so she did not ask who exactly it was.

“Inchwango,” {come here please}.

I sauntered there, my heart beating rapidly. Whenever my heart beat at this rate I knew I was into trouble. I feared whips, which my mom was good at. I had experienced her terribly merciless caning which gave a painful outcome which went for weeks before I could comfortably sit on a chair. I just wished I was not into some.

On the way I started reminiscing of the day’s activities and trying to figure what I ruined, or where I had gone wrong. Is it the kid I beat at school for drinking my thermos of porridge or was it the books that Mwalimu’s goats chewed while I was having wild fun after school? I had mixed thoughts, and the more I continued thinking of where I had it wrong the more the pulse went higher, and I felt like I was having a heart attack and my chest was closing in on me.

It took me like 2 minutes to walk a distance of 5 meters, and I did not realize I was at the entrance to her room till she called my name thrice.

“What’s wrong sonny?” she asked patiently with a lot of composure.

“Nothing mom, nothing.” I answered as I tried to exhale the fear that had accumulated in my stomach.

“Take this and throw it into the latrine,” she raised her thin weak arm and handed me a 5kg chipsy can. I don’t want to describe the details of the contents of the can but I can say they were really bad. The situation was awful. It was bad.

I took it with a tough face and looked into her sunken eyes. She was not the mum I knew, she was not warm and she was in bad shape too. Even when she tried to force a smile, there was nothing close to it. I left and headed for the latrine. I met my granny on the way and asked to look into the can. I watched her closely. There was a twitch of chin muscles and I knew what that meant. She said nothing.

I emptied the can and washed it, like a mom washing her toddler’s nappies. It was emotionless and after I dried it up with leaves I took it back. It was her personal toilet. She could not get up, no! She was feeble and helpless, lying down on a thin mat with her collar bones visibly stretching out of their sockets. She talked less. I sat on my granny’s bed and for the first time saw my mom seriously ill.

I sat there till darkness closed in on us. I watched every inch of her, even as she struggled to put up with whatever that was eating her up. I knew I was losing her, and things may not become any better afterwards. Her hair was failing. She was losing bit by bit every day.

My granny called me to get her goats and sheep to the shed. I left my mum asleep and gently went away disturbed. I had never seen my mum like that. I wondered why no one had told me that she had been sick. I would have been there at least to spend some quality time with her before she faded. It was evident that there was nothing to make her better, nothing could improve her health.

I let the animals scamper to their places of residence before I hooked the door and went to sleep early. From that moment, life for me became different. I realized my life would be devoid in a few days or hours to come. If only I had the power to change things, to beat death or challenge some static forces then I would have. No magic could undo the misery, and I prepared myself for the worst.

The following day was Saturday, it’s a day I rest. A day that my family goes to church. When I woke up it was a different Saturday. Nothing I had ever seen resembled it. I spent half of the day in bed, while the rest including my cousins went to church. At 3pm I went to check on my mom. The rest had come from church and were having their own plans to attend to.

I went to the room and found momma up. She gently told me to close the door behind me. She held my hand as I sat on my granny’s bed. She looked at me tearfully. I was remorseful, but she was sorrier for me. Probably those were the eventual signs of her departure.

I held the bitter tears firmly in my eyes. I stayed strong and blatantly said to her.

“It’s gonna be alright mum. It’s gonna be alright.”

She shook her head in denial, with her eyes and face washed in tears. She knew it wasn’t gonna be any better. It is all I could do, stand for her at such times and comfort her. I felt her weak hand loosen the grip on me and it struck me that time was nearing. Then she wiped the tears off her eyes with a piece of cloth and said.

“Listen my child. Listen very well. The day I delivered you was the happiest day of my life. When I looked at you, I knew you were bad news. I saw that unique ability in you, and it is the gift you get from me. You have my blessings, go out there and change the world. Conquer them, and bring them to their knees. You are strong and fearless, and that’s what makes me believe in you. Be a soldier and deliver your siblings, you are the light and they will always look up to you….” She struggled catching up with her breath. Words failed her and her hand flipped down to her side.

I listened to her words. To me they were like prophesy, and I would not forget any letter of it.

“I love you my son. I love you. Bye!” and with that her eyes went out. Motion ceased in her, and I understood she was gone for real. Gone at my watch, like a shepherd who witnesses his sheep being rustled while he is present. It’s unfair but nothing can change the situation. I watched her being taken from me but I did nothing. I was right there but I let her go.

What i learnt is that not even the best chemotherapy would have revived her, revamp her energy or just give her some breath of life. In fact it had deteriorated her more than ever, from the rain of blood down the nostrils to the falling hair. No amount of anything could heal her.When she closed her eyes, I hoped faith would be her pillar that would pave her way to the heavens. It was the only string of hope, now that her day had finally come.

I stumbled out of the house and in a low voice broke the sad news to the rest seated outside.

“She gone.”

“What do you mean she’s gone?’ my aunt asked. I looked at her sadly and left. She deduced the meaning and immediately wails rent the air and commotion plus sadness engulfed the whole village. Whilst everyone streamed to granny’s place, I was seated on bed mourning silently the demise of my mom.

 

In today’s world cancer is one of the highest killer diseases in existence. It has become as ruthless as HIV/AIDS which is number one killer disease in sub-Saharan Africa. It is something to watch out for.

As granny told me later, breast cancer is the ugly thing that took my mommy away from me. 18+ years down the road I still feel the effect. But the prophesy, is the miracle that I have come to live. Its fulfillment is something that keeps me stronger, in the name of her final words.

I won’t talk of how painful it was to grow up without mum’s love. My dad was not the best though he became a famy by default. It was not easy, and honestly I miss that love. But despite all that am grown up and hopefully things are meant to be bright.

Wherever you are Agnes, I salute you.

Love you mom.

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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7 comments

  1. Sorry brother for the loss.Take heart bro your story sounds my story. Am shedding tears already when I also imagine I only see mum in photosensitive papers. God will see us through.

  2. There’s that hope that we have, the belief in life after death… it will keep u and many others who r grief-stricken going

  3. There’s that hope we hold on to, the belief in life after death..It will keep u and many others who r grief-stricken going

  4. i believe in u despite all that dea,ur a strong man her prophecy shall come true,

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