She was an angel. She was the best grandmother in the world. She was not perfect but she was only human. I was starting to learn to love her deeply, find out more about life and some skills from her. But she got sick. She wouldn’t talk, remember who you were or know where she was.
That broke my heart. It was my first time seeing her like that. So weak and not able to do any of the things she used to do. I couldn’t take it anymore. I distanced myself but her son, Thandile, would always call to inform me about her health. It went from bad to worse.
I would sometimes cry myself to sleep. I couldn’t pray. Even now I can’t. But I would sometimes talk to God, and tell Him my pain. I kept myself busy and soccer was doing great cos I wouldn’t think a lot. July came but she was still weak. They said so but I had hope that she’d get better.
Thandile called me, told me to come home and help out.
“Oh boy!” I said to myself, if only he knew I didn’t want to come back. I couldn’t be strong… But I had no other choice so I went back home. She looked better. At least she remembered my name.
“Thank God, she’s better. At least when my birthday comes she will have healed,” I said to myself.
I wasn’t afraid anymore but I just didn’t know what to talk about when I was with her. She was somehow different. She went from being a dark beauty to a ‘yellow bone’. She was glowing. It was a nice feeling to know that she was happy and fine. Just two weeks before my birthday, on a Monday, she went for her check-up and my cousin sister said everything was OK. I was relieved.
When Sisi saw that she was fine, she left and went back to her house, leaving the kids behind. My Angel had eaten and taken her pills. She was busy packing her things and putting them into a big bag and she said, “Ndiyahamba mna ngoku” (I’m leaving now).
I didn’t mind her saying that because I knew she still didn’t know she was at her house. I checked her before I went to bed and she was sleeping already. Everyone went to sleep including Thandile.
Morning came and Thandile woke me up and asked me to make rooibos tea for my Angel. He kissed me goodbye and went to check on his mom before going to work. I couldn’t sleep anymore so I woke up and checked the kids and Angel. They were still sleeping. I didn’t mind them and I just watched TV and got on my phone.
The kids woke up one by one. Before I started making breakfast I ordered them to go make their beds. And as always, they were playing and jumping up and down on Angel’s bed. Suddenly they came to me like they’ve seen a ghost or something. They shouted “uMakhulu uphuma into emhlophe emlonyeni,” Grandma is releasing white foam in the mouth.
I thought she was having a seizure but no, she was sleeping. That moment my heart broke and my eyes were failing me. I dropped some tears but I was trying so hard to stay strong. I called Thandile and informed him. I went to a relative’s house and asked for help. I couldn’t think straight. I was pacing up and down. My aunt and other Sisi came and cleaned around the house, the son also came back from work. My aunt and Sisi went to the hospital and came back later but I was asleep by then.
Wednesday morning came and Thandile was in the room when I woke up. He was speaking in riddles but at the end told me my Angel had kicked the bucket. I cried. I couldn’t believe it. It was like I was in a dream. I didn’t accept it. I just couldn’t. Days passed and it was finally the day to put her to rest. My big sister was also there. I couldn’t control myself when I saw the coffin; I lost it. I heard my sister’s cry and that broke me more.
Everyone told me to be strong just for her even though it hurt. I did it for her. I guess I am the strong one even though I’m the youngest. After that everyone left. I too had to leave because schools were now reopening. My birthday passed and she was really not there. I became a Senior Soldier at Church and she was not there to witness all that. I just lost myself.
To me, she is still alive but she is just scared of coming home. If only she knew how lonely the house gets, how I miss her voice, and fooling around with her. All I want is for her to come back to me, her grandchild. She is my best friend and best friends do not leave each other, what she did is not fair.
My Angel come back home. I will not get mad at you. I love you so much, just come back my Joyce. I need you.
Tell us: What is the best way one can deal with loss?