Grieving on Monday

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

“Each person’s grief has its own life span; it needs to follow its own path.”
Rick Riordan, The Tyrant’s Tomb

This month makes it two years since my grandma died. I still see her when my mother is being goofy and gives a freaky big smile, revealing her wide diastema. I hear her when my mother laughs or screams at me for forgetting to do a chore. I still smell her when I visit my grandpa.

I remember the day news of her death came to me in my crib toilet in school. It was Monday and I was preparing for biochemistry class. Diarrhea and dysmenorrhea had me spending longer time in the toilet. Distracting myself from the sharp, killing pain in my lower abdomen with scrolling endlessly through WhatsApp Statuses. My phone rang.

Mi Amor

‘Hello mummy'

‘Ogo, I don’t have a mother anymore’

Then she burst into loud tears.

I still remember how it felt like the air was furiously filling my lungs. I couldn’t breath. The pain from my abdomen spread unevenly round my body with a great percentage in my chest.

Oh my God mummy. I’m so sorry

I finally found my voice while tears poured out of my eyes like a waterfall and I was hyperventilating.

Don’t tell your brother yet. He’s still having exams.’

How do you still remember anyone else in such heartbreaking moments. Does it come with being a mother? Do you suddenly split your heart among your children and your spouse and have a small size to hold on to on days like this; when you loose your mother?

I remember our last physical conversation. It was about how medical school demands too much. She told me of a neighbor whose child was also studying medicine and never left the house when she came home for the few weeks holiday she got. I remember her face when she tried to imitate the mother’s expression came to buy provision.

‘Omo yin tun ti dey oh'

To be honest, I didn’t understand why she was informing my grandma of her daughter’s arrival but I couldn’t dare ask. I was overwhelmed with joy in that moment of connection with my grandma. Facts and figures didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I and my grandma were bonding deeply over a bottle of cold Malt.

Talking about Malt, I don’t think I can drink a bottle of Malt without remembering her. When I was younger I didn’t drink any other drink asides malt. My grandma always indulged me when we visited. It was how cold the malt was for me.

Sometimes I feel like every bottle of malt I drink serves as a reminder of how patterns outlive their originators. How death only has power over the flesh. Time is the one that comes for the memories.

For months after my grandma died I beat myself up for never making that phone call.

For weeks before she couldn’t speak on the hospital bed I had this deep prompting to call. But I threw it down the rabbit hole of ‘I’ll do it later’. Later never came and the last memory I have of my grandma is her calling me to remind me to not neglect eating because of school work.

I miss her and her tongue captivating stew. I miss hugging her and feeling like I’m being wrapped in a warm blanket.

I miss seeing her smile and being reminded my diastema came from a lineage of women who wore courage like a crown.

I miss her but I’m glad it doesn’t hurt as much as the day I was losing my breath on a toilet sit.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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