Never Ready To Say Goodbye
Baba (father) has been sitting on the rocking chair for close to an hour and I am sure he is lost in his thoughts with Simon Chimbetu’s song Samatenga on repeat. He hasn’t touched his coffee and l bet it has turned into a cold coco-cola beverage. My father’s life will never be the same and every day he is reminded of something that he lost. Baba recently buried the love of his life and with her, he buried a part of him too on that day.
MaMoyo was bubbly and full of life and l am struggling to live a life without her. Each morning l woke up to a long message filled with words of affirmations and a reminder that she loves me. Who will sit with Baba on the veranda and read the Bible with him? Who will prepare my father sweetened coffee the way he likes it? Ma was my father’s best friend, biggest critic and advisor and although he doesn’t say it out loud he feels empty and broken without Ma.
Ma always wanted to die in her sleep, just like how my grandfather died and God answered her prayer. Although it was my mother’s answered prayer, I am angry because l wasn’t ready to bury my mother. I wanted MaMoyo to name my child and be there for me during the masungiro ceremony. I wanted Ma to be the first person I would call when I got promoted, I wanted to…..
Now that everyone has left for their homes, Baba’s grieving process has just begun. The home is now empty and there is no one to give him his sweetened cup of black coffee in the morning when he is reading his new paper. His best friend who used to help him water his plants is lying alone in the cold soil. Death robbed my parents of a chance of growing old together.
MaMoyo used to have unbearable headaches and she always tried to manage them. But I had never thought that her headaches would be so intense and end up killing her. Baba was inconsolable when he broke the news to me and I thought Baba was having a nightmare. I had never seen my father cry but when we saw him the following morning he cried so hard and I felt like some pieces of my heart were cracking. My older brother could not come to the funeral because he is now living in a foreign land using a fake identity. Had he ever thought about never being able to come back for a funeral of a loved one when he faked his identity?
Maiguru (my mother’s older sister) sat on the mat and everyone offered their condolences to her. The women from our community brought foodstuffs and helped in preparing the food so that the mourners could have something to eat. I didn’t know what took place during my mother’s funeral because the pain had made me numb. If it wasn’t for my older sister who had held my hand during Ma’s funeral I could have lost my mind.
I am glad that there wasn’t any conflict or drama during Ma’s funeral but, MaMoyo’s widower was left out during the decision making process. The mourners sometimes forgot that Baba was grieving and if it hadn’t been for my brother-in-law, Baba could have starved to death. The attention shifted from Baba to Maiguru just because he was a male. If the tables had turned and Baba had died all the women would make sure that the widow was warm, had her food, took her medication and everyone would be notified that she was the grieving widow.
Unfortunately, Baba was forgotten about, the women who were in charge of serving the food would forget to dish out the food for Baba. He sat by the fire and some people thought he was just one of the mourners who had come to the funeral because it was believed to be the right thing to do. I am sure some of the mourners thought he was drunk since he was either lost in his thoughts or crying uncontrollably on his twin brother’s lap.
During the three days of mourning, Baba had someone who held his hand but after the burial Babamunini Josh (Uncle Josh) had to go back home. Each day we watched the amount of food supposed to be prepared decrease and after a few days, my sister and I were now able to prepare the food on the electrical stove. The reality now sinks in that Ma wasn’t visiting but that she had died. Everyone who had come to offer my family moral support had gone home to be with their families, but our family was now incomplete because my heroine was dead.
When I watched Grey’s Anatomy season 17, I understood a quote from George O’ Malley, “Some grief it’s heavier than other grief. Sometimes it moves through you and, sometimes it gets stuck. And you carry it”. I wonder if my father will ever get better or he will grieve over the death of my mother as long as he lives.
Norryn / 28 July 2021
So sorry for your loss Takudzwanashe. There are never words right enough for someone as they grieve. But like your quote from George O’ Mallet, most times we just carry the grief around us…and it’s always a heavy luggage. Hold in there!