Have you ever wondered that this may just be a dream and you may wake up one day and find out that you are still a child? There was a time I hoped not. I used to imagine that it would be exhausting for I would be forced to study once again. I didn’t want to go through the struggles of studying for my final exams once again and also the stress of wondering what school or university I qualified for.
If you ask me; ‘What about now? My answer would be quite the opposite because at that time when I was studying and worrying about school, I had a home. I hope to wake up when I was still eleven, when my greatest fear was failing in math. When I was still a day-scholar and spent my time at home with my brother and mother. When I used to look forward to 6 pm when the generator would be turned on so that I could watch something on the TV, way before cancer ruined my life.
With cancer, there is before and after. Before when life was brighter, dreams was blissful and nightmare free. Then there is after, which is filled with hospitals, medicine, pity, hopelessness, fear and pain. In the year 2013, my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I freshly remember the day that I found out. It was in my second term of class eight year during one of the visiting day. When I saw her that day the first thing I noticed was her wig which I kept mentioning it to her and it irritated her. After which we had gone and sat down on the school field, on the farthest corner under a shade. After we had just finished eating it is when she told me that the tumor they had earlier found on April had been tested and found cancerous. As she said this, she was intently looking at my face waiting for my reaction. At that moment I was not scared because I had seen people with cancer in the TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and they survived. The extent of how devastating cancer was had yet hit me fully. How could it have? I had never truly seen a person with cancer before, though my grandmother had it, I had been sheltered from it. I then looked more keenly at her and noticed that she had no eyebrows or eyelashes, which she then explained that it was because she was undergoing chemo.
About a week and half later, I had my first nightmare, I dreamt that she had passed on and I was granted only a day with her. I was terrified, I woke up by 4 am and got ready to go to class. It was the first time that I had ever woken up at that time for class. As I was heading to class, I looked up at the sky and it was full of stars and it reminded me of my mum’s favorite sweater, which was navy-blue and sparkled due to the shiny threads sown on it. I prayed and then pushed the fear deep down my consciousness and went to class.The effects of cancer slowly started to manifest, financially. Later that year, I couldn’t go to a school trip because we couldn’t afford it. My favorite Christmas memory is when I was woken up by blasting music, which of course I complained about. My mum was in the kitchen preparing chapati, which I joined in rolling. My two brothers were preparing the stew, while my elder brother kept on stealing the meat and we were all laughing and sharing stories. The Christmas of 2013 was different, my mum was not feeling well enough to help in the kitchen and she could hardly eat the different foods we made. It was rather dull.
She got better the year after, making me to slowly forget my fear. I joined high-school with high hopes and anticipation. Life was sweet until they found out that the cancer was back, I had only had a year of reprieve. I started using school as an escape but the fear was back with vengeance and so were the nightmares.
On my final year of high-school, my mum came to visit me in the middle of the third term, her eyes were red and she looked haggard. This frightened me even as she seemed happy and hopeful. That night during evening prayers I couldn’t hold it in anymore, I cried. A good friend of mine later asked me what was happening and for the first time I shared with her my fears. The following day when I was heading for lunch she invited me to join her for prayer and fasting but I was reluctant. As I was heading to the dining hall, I wondered within myself, how can someone else fast and pray for my mother and yet here I was doing nothing and at that moment I decided to dedicate on day a week for prayers and fasting for my mum and I followed this through even during my K.C.S.E. This gave me hope and also kept away the dread.
My heart and faith was broken when I went home after my exams and found out my mum’s health had worsen. I felt so dispirited that I started read a lot of novels to distract me from the present but this only aggravated my nightmares. She later went to India for further treatment for two months. When she came back she was on a wheel chair and I had to take care of her, I became despondent. I was not prepared for this for I had to clean and change her. She also distastes it for I was her baby.
Three months later, she got sick and was admitted in a hospital. Three weeks later she passed away, I was devastated. She was buried a week later and a week after that I had to join the university, I hardly had time to digest what had happen for I was in shock. I could not image how a beautiful soul as her was gone, buried six feet under never to be seen or heard!
It has been about two years since she died and the pain is still fresh and seems to even worsen. Fourteen days ago was her birthday, it reminded me of her final birthday; I was super lazy that day and didn’t do anything special for her. I just took the cheap way out and bought her a watch. I can’t help but but wished that I had done better. Every time I go to the supermarket, I always find myself passing by the gift section and when alone I can’t help but stay there for a long time, but I end up buying nothing because no one appreciated my gifts as much as she did. When I walk around I may see a beautiful dress or shoes or jewellery and think of how it would have suited her and end up sorrowful.
I have cried so much for the past two and a half years but the pain seems to be going nowhere, leaving me with despair, a headache and puffy eyes. It took me time to truly pray because I was pissed off with God, still I am. I have been told by many that God took my mum’s life to spare her from the pain but I couldn’t help but wonder, couldn’t He have healed her instead?
My nightmares are still there but I no longer consider them so, as I get to see her. I have been told that before a person dies they are usually talkative and jovial but not her, she was in pain. I used to wish that she was still alive but that would have been selfish of me for she was in anguish. Now, I just wish that I had a chance to say goodbye, to tell her how much I love her and hug her one last time.