That’s my phone ringing. I pause my movie and grope around for the phone. I pick it up without looking at the caller ID.
‘’…Temi, mama is dead’’
My annoyance at having my movie interrupted dissipates. I am suddenly plagued with so many emotions; I cannot differentiate one from the other.
My sister keeps talking but I don’t hear what she says. That simple phrase keeps repeating itself in my mind. First I’m confused as hell, then my mind slowly grasps the news, then I’m sad that mama, my mama has died. Then I’m happy that she has left all the suffering of this world behind, then I’m mad that she didn’t wait for me to arrive home, to at least say goodbye.
Then my heart breaks, I actually hear the snap. My heart weeps…
‘’she died this morning…’’ she continues
I take in a ragged breath and release it almost immediately.
‘’Temi please don’t cry…you know she lived a good life’’ she says earnestly.
I just hold the phone to my ear and I’m not sure what to do with my other hand, so I put it in my blue jean pocket.
The phone keeps passing between her and my mother…I know I’m supposed to be consoling my mother, but I couldn’t get the words out.
Somehow ‘’I’m sorry’’ seems like such a lame thing to say in these times.
The credit finishes…or my mom hangs up…I’m not sure, but I hear the dial tone in my ears.
I drop the phone and think about my mama…in my mind’s eye, the clock slowly goes back….
I’m five again. Mom said to have garri for lunch, with sugar and groundnuts. Mama puts very little sugar in our garri, cos she doesn’t want us to have ‘jedi-jedi’ Then she puts the sugar on the topmost shelf, so that even with the chair, we can’t reach it. Fast forward a few years, I’m what, ten? She can’t do this anymore, cos we’re now the same height. So she wraps it under her wrapper and puts it under her pillow J
Fast forward again a few years…I’m 13…the neighbor’s son is eyeing me. Mama gives me the sex talk. I don’t get half of it…but she keeps ringing it in my head…the mortification lol.
Anyway at this point, tears start to roll down my cheeks…my friends think I’m silly for crying…(she was over 100)…but I’m not mourning or anything…the tears just keep coming…I think I’m crying cos I’m gonna really miss her…not because she died.
Things started going downhill around 2008…she had a mild stroke. She really thought she was gonna die then…I guess God had something else in mind huh??
It really hurt me to see her like that…she was a really strong woman…she used to wash all the clothes in that my big house…whether they were dirty or not…and then suddenly after the stroke, she couldn’t even go to the bathroom before peeing all over.
It was sad.
I’m glad she died.
Because at least she’s in a better place now. She’s resting. She isn’t sick anymore.
That’s what consoles me.
Mama…rest in the bosom of the Lord. We will surely meet again at the feet of Jesus. Until then…
p.s: I still can’t believe she’s dead, you know? I always thought she would outlive us all…ok not exactly…but I thought she would at least live to see her great-great grandkids by me L