A few years ago, my mother came back home with a brown envelope with her name written with a blue marker. My mother’s name: Amelia Motsoeneng, was written in font size thirty-six as if the person writing it had magnifying glasses on; hence my mother’s name was written out so big. My focus moved from the brown envelope and went straight into my mother’s caramel, beauty spot filled face. Her eyes reddened up as if she had been given blood shots that made her eyes look like her soul was bleeding. Amidst all those tears, she still gave me an unpretentious smile that gave me loving feels; she walked into her room and seconds later, I heard a heaven thundering sound of her prayer. I knew something was wrong. Two years later, my mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Although I did terribly in my Biology exam, I know anything with “cancer” next to it smells like termination and sorrow for the person experiencing it and for those around them. For the past year or so, I have seen my mother rise above the terminal disease. On my birthday last year, my mother put on her brave face like she normally does when faced with adversity and uncertainty. She came bearing gifts and she was dancing on the fence of death and I was not even aware of it. The following day I woke up to the news that she had been hospitalized. Heaven knows how my heart sank that afternoon. The news left my mouth dry from screaming and weeping. That day, I knew I didn’t want my mother to do.
Truth be told, Christian or not, death scares the life out of me. The passing of a dear one lives so many pieces of you broken and the heart hollow. I knew that I did not want that for my father who has loved this woman for almost three decades. I did not any of my siblings who have been single-handily raised by my mother to go through that. But alas, I know that death cannot be negotiated with. Death is like the truth—they are both the white elephants in the room that we ought to face some time. At times, we face them consciously. At times they just knock on the doors of our lives and take whatever they have been called to do.
For the past two years, I have been learning how to mourn my grandfather. This mourning has taken me away from my family. I know I am not mourning him right. I sleep on the bed he used to lie on and I wonder what he would have said if he saw me in the morning getting ready for work. Or what he would say when I lay on the bed with a troubled mind. It took me a while to be alone in the house after he passed away—it felt more quiet and lonely. This is the man I have known all my life but became an integral part of my life during my lonely years of my teenage hood. Imagine if I lost my mother right now? What would happen to my soul? I imagine feeling deeper chest pains than those you feel when someone breaks up with you. I would feel cheated. I would feel cheated that the woman who raised me out of nothing will not enjoy my hard work. I would feel cheated that a woman who wanted to be so much in life could not realize her dreams and ensured that I am a step closer to mine. I would feel betrayed by life for not keeping the only person who manages to rub me off in the wrong way at times but still put a smile on my face.
But I trust in God. I believe in His Word. I believe in Him to give my mother long life. The love of a mother is like a warm cup of coffee on long nights when you need to keep doing more work. She’s my cup of coffee with honey. She keeps me going even when I want to give. She’s seen me through my stubborn and embarrassing teenage years when I was suicidal and lost. She pulled me through. She pulled me through when I was dangerous and toxic to myself.
Strong women like my mother are hard to find. She’s the kind of woman who will knock the hell out of the gloomy skies to bring me the sunshine and those around her. She’s the kind of woman who bends over backwards and reaches into people’s hearts and not pockets. She’s the kind of woman who will remind you of your truth and why it is important to live it. She’s the kind of woman who will work 12-hours each day, with a terminal disease and an aching body for less than half a $1 each hour to put food on the table and clothes on her children’s back. She’s the kind of women who must not go down in history unrecognized. I pray that she’s recognized for anything other than her bearing capability and her audacious curves. I pray that she’s recognized for her valour and virtues.
Happy Mothers Day Mama!