Monday, 04 May 2009

A Mothers’ Day that was

I have just been reminded of this day – Mothers’ Day – when looking at Edgars’ Mother’s Day magazine found in yesterday's Sunday Times, 03 May 2009.

What, I asked myself, would I buy for my mother on this special day, especially now that I was working, compared to a few years ago when at the time I was still at university and not working, let alone knew when such time would happen, working I mean.

Looking at the magazines with pictures of items sons and daughters will be buying for their beautiful and thoughtful mothers as presents for the day, a tear nearly fell off my eyes.
This not because of jealousy or anything like that at all (or is it?), but because if I were to see this day (Mothers’ Day, 10 May 2009), or if my mother were to see the day – I probably, would buy her something beautiful as advertised in the magazine that would remind her of the one and only child (Akanyang) God blessed her with.

However, that’s unlikely to happen since I lost a physical contact with her about (let me count) four years ago at the time of writing and sadly, on my first year at university, North West University’s Mafikeng campus. Memories, pictures and a somewhat spiritually connection of some sort (that which cannot be explained to another) is all I have left.

It was in the evening of 26 August 2005 when I heard bad news that my mother had passed on. Everything, I still recall, collapsed and whatever I was doing at the time, I stopped immediately without thinking twice. At the time, I was at the university’s computer library doing assignments. Sadly, unfortunately people I expected of them to inform me of such news did not. Instead, I heard from someone, my cousin Salamina in Pretoria’s Mamelodi.

Why didn’t they [people from home] call and let me know of such bad news and instead had to hear such from someone else? I asked myself.

People at home, they told me later, thought it was not wise of them to let me know over the phone of such bad news considering the fact that I was at university and did not want that to disturb my studies. ‘But it already did the minute I heard the news’ I said to myself.

From that moment onward, life seemed difficult – despite having a supportive family, of mothers especially – and at one time fell into a depression state only Momlu and I knew about.

It was the most difficult time of my life I had experienced and was worse than the year before which I had spent sitting home because of lack of financial resources to further my studies at the time.

Honestly, for the my entire university years, it was through the support of Lucy Moatlhodi (but Momlu[cy] she prefers to be called) – whom I stayed with – that I am what I am today, and valued her love, laughter, humour, sense of motherhood, appreciation and everything she resembled and showed me at the time.

Further, it was too, the support of her children, mostly women, who took me as a child of the family and accepted me into their family as their own, and the fact that their mother accepted me – whether they approved or not – was unquestionable.

What is strange (somewhat sadly fascinating) about my mother’s loss are the events that led to it as indicated below and were heavily painful recalling them as they happened:

  • She felt for work in Pretoria the day after I left for university at Mafikeng (January 2005),
  • Around throughout the time, we kept contact and she called me on Momlu’s home telephone as I did not have a cellphone at the time,
  • Toward Good Friday of the same year, she asked that I make a plan and come home as she was too. But I told her that I did not have money for transport therefore, could not see the possibility of me coming home as she had requested of me,
  • A day of two later, she told me she had deposited money into my bank account for me to come home because ‘she missed me and have not seen me in a very long time’,
  • While at home, she told me she’ll be coming home end of August,
  • Come end of August, she came home but was still not well (health-wise),
  • It was during this period that whenever I called home to find how she was doing, I was told she insists on doing back to work, at one stage she said ‘whenever people come home sick, they never get better, instead they die while at home, and she would rather die at work while working’ – spoken like someone who somewhat foresaw her future at the time,
  • Because of her ‘insisting on going back to work’ and refusing to check how her improvements, or lack therefore of, on her condition – we got into a fight over the phone. This because she did not approve of me saying she must first get better and can go back to work. Instead, she said ‘she did not want to hear anything from me and that I must never call her again’ to which I agreed because of anger. She accused me of listening to other people and not her, hence ‘her remarks’ I thought to myself,
  • For days I did not speak to her because I was still angry,
  • One day, just one day, because I had missed her and just talking to her as my mother, I decided to give her a call on Saturday. I apologised to the whey I spoke to her when we last exchanged work and said to her ‘Si Natefo, o dule o itse gore jaaka ke le ngwana wag ago a le nose, ke a go rata jaaka mama wa me’ and she replied ‘le nna ke a go rata ngwaname’ (we acknowledged and confessed how much we loved each other as Mother and Son, the first time in our life time we talked honestly like that) and we bother cried,
  • Because we were both crying and no one spoke, I hang up and went straight into my room and cried (and that was the last time I spoke to my mother and let her know how much I still loved her and her loving me too),
  • The following Tuesday or Wednesday, I heard that my mother had been admitted at Taung Hospital,
  • Because I missed talking to her and checking how better she was doing, I informed Mma (Keabetswe Merementsi, my uncle’s wife – both of whom raised me, together with my mother) that whoever will be visiting her on Friday, must let me know,
  • It was Mma’s 2nd born daughter, Maphefo, who will be visiting my Mom at the hospital, therefore, as soon as she get to the hospital, she must let me know and I would call her so that I can speak to my mother,
  • Unfortunately, as I was told, it was the same day when it was found that she skipped this world to a world no one has been to that I could not speak to her, that’s why they could not inform me immediately of ‘my life threatening news’

To date, I have come to view any other women in my family circle or not, as a mother. This because her not being my mother does not mean she is not a mother or capable of being such.
Having stayed with Momlu for more than three year since the start of university, I took her as my mother, a friend and a person I could rely on. I told her some, if not most, of the things I never told any of my friends and later did a friend or two.

I have grown to love, cherish and protect her for the mother she was to me for the time we spent together. And I did the same to anyone in her family and relatives.
Although many women have contributed to my life as sisters, mothers, it worth mentioning the following who played a prominent role than others;

  • Keabetswe Merementsi (my uncle’s wife who raised me together with my Mom) known as Mma,
  • Mma’s daughters: Kebonyemang, Maphefo, Lusia and Boipelo,
  • Momlu and her four daughters,
  • Motlalepule Pela (my mother’s Sister),
  • Moneimang Merementsi,
  • Dimakatso Sethoba,
  • Ms. Mokgele & Ms. Lesenyeho (university lecturers), etc.

I would like to thank those that have played an important role in my life and having provided help and assistance when I needed such, much appreciated and thank you.

To those, like me, who may have lost their mothers – knowing well like I did that you loved your mother and she loved you too – then you have no reason to worry, and whether she’s watching over you wherever she may be. Of course you loved her and she loved you too and must be looking over you as you progress in life, or not.

However, there may be those who never knew, let alone met their mothers. And to them I say, appreciate those who’ve shown you love and affection when they did and love them the same way, be it your adoptive parents or not. The fact remains: they are or represent your mother one way or another.

As for this Mother’s day, it’s about how you celebrate it and not how you would have celebrated it. Unfortunately, I will not be at home or be with the people mentioned before to celebrate this special day with them. I, however, hope they enjoy it and see their importance of motherhood as mothers of the new generation or the generation that was or will be.

Every woman in the world – biologically or not – remains your mother or just a part of her.


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