The People Called Family

They came in their numbers at dawn. When Aya heard the distant wailing, she thought she was dreaming but it got louder so she woke up, and it became louder still. Then she heard the knocks at the main gate. She also heard Yoofi walk out of his room to go and open the gates. The wailing was now at its loudest.

Owuo ayε ma di ooo owuo wa yε ma di. Ah we di mi ewu” screamed a woman, she was addressing death as though it was human. She said he had taken something precious from her. Her voice was hoarse, perhaps, from shouting too much.

Aya got out of her bed and crept towards the window. She could see them, they were clad in the traditional black and red mourning attires. Many of them were women who wore black scarfs on their heads, black wrappers around their waists, and red bands on their wrists. The screaming woman was lying on the ground, and the others stood in a somber semi-circle around her; their quieter sobs, the chorus to her mournful song.

The woman stopped crying to blow her nose into the cloth she had around her waist. The sound tore through the compound, loud and long, it felt like she was forcing decades of goo out of her insides. She looked up towards someone, Aya could not see the person from where she hid behind her bedroom curtains so she tried stretching her neck and standing on her tiptoes. A hand reached down to help the screaming woman stand up and sit on the bench in the compound. This time Aya got a good look the wailing woman. She was fair and lean, she had a protruding forehead, a big flat nose, and thick dark lips. Just like Paapa.

“Yoofi, my son, tell me what happened.” the woman was saying to Yoofi. Her eyes were bloodshot and swollen, and still had tears in them.

Yoofi was about to speak but was interrupted by a lanky old man. “Young man, it is too early to talk about what happened. Tell your sisters to bring your aunt and the rest of us some water, then call your mother for us. This is a matter for older people to address” the man cleared his throat.

Aya slipped into the black and white dress that hung on the door of her room while she waited to be called to serve the mourners; It was the same one she had worn to the hospital yesterday. The same one Paapa rested his head on when in the car while she watched as his breath stopped and pupils became still. She shook her head fiercely in an attempt to clear the memory.

Yoofi didn’t come to call her. Aya went back to the window.

The old man was addressing Mama now. “Nana Esi, thank you for receiving us, and for telling us what happened. It is the wish of the elderly in every house that they are buried by the younger ones but death has his own timetable and has decided to call my nephew Joojoe.” He cleared his throat again and continued. “As custom demands, we shall meet here again on Tuesday to have the one-week rites and announce the funeral arrangements. Send word to your family, and take heart.”

Aya sat on her bed and blocked her ears, tears flowed freely from her eyes and there was a sudden tightening in her chest that made it hard to breathe.

Yoofi finally came into her room. He was dragging in two suitcases and a large handbag.

“Who are those for?” Aya wanted to ask, but she said nothing.

“The people called family,” he said, answering the question in her eyes.

Broken Ivory- Sending lots of Love to you in Heaven

One year.

Whew!

Time really does fly doesn’t it?

6:52 am last year you were admitted into heaven. I know the concept of time is probably not the same in heaven, but I imagine God keeps track of the admission dates of his angels and throws some kind of party for them, right?

I still miss you a lot, but this is not a another page of lamentation. It is one of thanksgiving. I have moved past the immense sadness I felt around this time last year, I have moved past the guilt that came with being happy without you, I have accepted the reality that we are going to be separated for a long, long time. I am still kind of stuck on occasionally hearing your voice, or imagining your reaction to certain decisions I make. It’s like my conscience has a mother now, but I guess that’s OK.

Thank you Ma, for all the lessons you taught Baaba and I. Thank you for all the years of laughter and selflessness and  love. We are truly grateful, and we hope to make you proud.

This post is also to thank the many angels on earth who have made the past year easier to bear with. We have had so many new mothers, prayer partners, friends and siblings. Yes we lost you, but we found bits of you in each of these people God sent our way and that helped us smile, hope, and have the courage to move on.

This is not a post on my lamentations, or could-have-been’s. This is a post on thankfulness. Thank God for lending you to us for 57 years, and for calling you to be with Him at His own time.

Happy anniversary Ma, We love you!

Broken Ivory: When Silence is Golden

Since the 14th of February 2016, I have had to learn a lot very quickly. One thing I know I have learnt is patience, and I thank God for that.

Death has a way of of knocking the sense out of people I guess. It is as though people don’t know how to react when they hear such news. Some are just silent (which is fine), some ignore you because they don’t know what to say(which can be fine too), and some offer advise all the time, mostly unsolicited.The advice is usually not bad, until it is, but that’s conversation for later.

There’s a special group of people who have inspired this post. These are those who somehow have little or no emotional intelligence, with manners, and no sense of judgement. I’m sorry I have to be so blatant but sometimes people just over do it charle. The push you to limits you didn’t know existed.

So far some these are some of  my favorite worst interactions.

Person one:  This person sent a text message in the middle of the night.
You do not behave like someone whose mother has died kraa.

Umm how am I supposed to behave? No one forwarded me the memo on socially acceptable mourning behavior. I missed out on that. So pardon me if I don’t “act” that way. It does not mean that I  hurt any less.

Person two:  this person just babbled on really. I’m still not sure if she was trying to console me or herself.  “Hmm death is a very sad thing o… When my daughter died I was so worried that she’ll be there (wherever ghosts go) alone. I used to see her in my room all the time until the June 3rd disaster when some kids in our neighborhood also died. After that I saw her in a dream once and this time she was with someone who she called her friend. In some way I’m thankful for the flood at least (name) now has some people to keep her company over there.”

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Yeah I had the same reaction. Really?!!! You’re telling me that a disaster that claimed the lives of over a hundred people. was a blessing to you because they are going to keep your dead daughter company??? Who do you think God is?
Some of these are just laughable charle.  Some people have spaghetti for brain tissue. Only God knows what’s in the heads of some people.

Person three: This person just assumed that my “situation” gave him permission to judge my life, and the right to tell me in front of a crowd! (Ok not a crowd, but about 10 people) Anyway so he said “You, since your mother died you are all over the place! She would have checked on you”

Ok so first of all you mean “check you” as in “discipline you” what in God’s name do you mean by “check on you”
Second, and most importantly, who appointed you my guardian? What makes you think your opinion about how I live my life matters to me?

Person four: I’m just going to leave this to your judgement.
Hey I heard your mother died. Accept my condolences.
Me: Thank you
X: so what happened? Is it that you didn’t pray hard enough?

Like I said, I am not going to comment on this one.

And oh my sister’s favorite, she said someone said to her “Hey I heard your mum or something died”

Something? Yeah my dog, no I actually love dogs, my cat- no those are too cute too fowl, mango tree, phone or laptop battery died.
Those are things, they don’t make your world stop or rip your heart into shreds or or all of that and more! I’m going to try not to be dramatic but seriously people, seriously!

To such people I never say what’s actually on my mind because I’m too polite😇 (my mum thought me that, hah!) Anyway my point is until you’ve experienced it, you really don’t know how the person feels, you cant imagine it. Stop telling people to stop crying, it might actually be the what they need to do the most (as was my case). And when you don’t know what to say just pray for them. Pray, silently. Whatever you do, don’t let the devil use your tongue. I think I have to stop writing here. Ok I think I’ve made my point.

Tribute

I’m running out of time… I still can’t find the words to write you a tribute because it requires that I allow myself to feel.

My walls of denial, built in defence, are quickly crumbling under the weight of this reality. 

Still, I hold on to the faint hope that you will show up at the door this evening. Or tomorrow.

#StartingToFeelReal #PleaseComeBack
#Late post

Today you were here

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Today a lady joined me on the bus. She smelled just like you, that soft blend of gardenia and rose with a touch of lily that preceded you everyday. Not the typical scents of a man, true, perhaps that’s what drew me to you. Your masculine features and yet ever so feminine touch.

I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, I could almost see you; those beady eyes, that contagious smile, I miss your gracefulness,  you were indeed the perfect gentleman.

When she got off the bus, her scent- your scent- lingered on a few moments. I thought I felt you squeeze my hand. A sudden warmth rushed over me that brought tears to my eyes. I saw myself once again in your arms, I heard you whisper in my ear. It was just for a few moments but it matters little because today you were here, you were near, close to the touch.

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To a sister, schoolmate- Ama Mensima Abban.

We were not the best of friends, we were not class mates, or dorm mates, or table mates but you were more than an acquaintance.

I  remember one time I had come to your dorm for some purpose I cannot remember now. You were trying to unzip your chapel cloth.

I quickly offered to help, and though you allowed me to, you said something that has since stayed with me. You said you usually zip and unzip your dresses yourself. I wasn’t used to that idea so I think I dared you to zip up by yourself . you did. “It’s good to be able to do these things by yourself” you said.

And since then all we shared were occasional hello’s on our way to the Dining Hall, Chapel or to prep. But I learnt to zip by myself too and our conversation often came to mind when I zipped up my dresses by myself when I went to Suyani for National Service and was living alone.

On Facebook I got to know more about you than all our years together in school. I liked your pictures, they told me you were not as quiet as I thought. You were fun, bubbly,you loved life, and it loved you too. I liked your pics and you liked mine. I would poke and you would poke back. I enjoyed our conversations with all the other gals on the MOGA page. And secretly I admired your complexion. so dark, so rich, providing the perfect contrast against those beaming set of white teeth when you smiled.Now I wish I had told you all that…

Sister today I finally come to realize that you have gone to join our sleeping sisters. I still can’t understand it but our maker knows best. He’s called you to a better end.

I pray he gives comfort to those who feel the pain of your absence- your family, friends and all who knew you.

Sleep well Ama, Obra no wab) no yie… Da yie onua…da yie.

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