I’m in my late twenties. Is it immature to call my mother ‘mummy’? I don’t know. I doubt that will change though. Yesterday, I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe. I was hot. I coughed with my ribs clenched and my chest tight. Nothing came out of me; The cough was non-stop and unrelenting. I couldn’t speak either. My voice is currently on vacation somewhere windy and I am unsure when it will return. The harmattan from last year has been pretty severe, even down here in Accra. I can imagine what it is like up north.
So from the the last hours of yesterday to the wee hours of this morning, i stayed awake, my eyes watered and I coughed my lungs out. There was a certain thickness I felt had over lapped where air was to flow freely in and out of me. The cough would just not stop. Soon after I heard familiar steps toward my room. I knew mummy would come. She always does. She opened my door and came to sit by my bed. She prayed, with all the ferocity i know so well. A lioness and her cub.
She decided then to heat up some water to warm me up and massage me up with some hot ointment. Of course, in matters like these, you really can’t protest, you just have to get with the program, even when you just want coil up and sleep. But I could not sleep.
As she put the hot towel over my face and chest, she murmured in prayer. I started to cry because I didn’t have the strength to obey the urge to cough. The crying Made it even harder to breathe. She soothed me and told me to stop crying.. All of a sudden I was overcome by an even severe bout of coughing, I had to rush to toilet in order not to puke on my bed.. I was suffocating. It was 4:30 am. With my sister’s help I was brought back to my bed.
The heat from the ointment calmed me till morning when we decided to visit the hospital.
During the time my mother prayed for me in the dawn, I was pushed to tears. I cried because the scene was so familiar. The countless times I’d watched her gather me or my sisters and brother in prayer when we were alarmingly unwell before anything.
I cried because I’m yet to fully understand her courage even when she’s scared too. I cried because I felt the tiredness in her voice, and also her persistency. I cried because I felt her love.
I cried harder because, she was in the same pain I was. She was coughing painfully too, her voice was hoarse and raspy because she was struggling to speak too. She was unwell too.
So while she prayed, I prayed too. I asked God to get me better so I could do what she’d done for us all her life.
Tributes are usually made for the dead. I won’t wait for that to tell her how much I love her.
I’m never too old to call her Mummy.