By Grace Ancillar

I always wondered why my aunt was the most respected woman in my family. In my opinion, she was foul-mouthed, cunning and quite rude if I must say so myself. Unlike Madea who was a tad bit likeable, she was as gloomy as the African sky on a stormy night during a power cut. She would without notice pitch up during dinner or Sundays and help herself to groceries and in some cases my clothes. Nobody would say anything to her because she was that player with the Black Jack that toyed with your emotions. But every dog has its own day, right!? And eventually, dead men will tell all their secrets and like an unexpectant afternoon shower, her reign as the family matriarchy came to an abrupt halt. She never expected anyone to bring to light the luggage she so hanged onto, till that fateful afternoon.

It was a lovely January afternoon when the family gathered together for lunch as per custom. As usual she ate more than she could handle because she is that person that wants everything in sight. She was wiping her greasy hands when my niece exclaimed that she was going to get screened for cervical cancer. Silence has bever been deafening and shock has never been illustrated in fifty shades. You see, nobody had ever talked about grandma dying of cancer before, because it’s that family secret swept under the rug. We all thought she succumbed to nature’s call because nobody ever told us.

You can imagine the shock on our face when my grandmother’s sister started wailing. Why would she cry for a routine cancer screening we wondered? She spilled the tea as the saying goes, some tea was hot than others and the other cold. A family was held together by a secret that shouldn’t have been a secret. When will african families sit together, break bread and own their truth. As far as I was concerned, cancer couldn’t take away the fact that my grandmother was amazing.

Every family has their own secrets and some are dirtier than others, but some should stay in the open.