Remembering my ma from Hardepeer Street.
I was in your house last night, but you were no longer there. I spoke to the current owners but they said you had left, a long time ago. I knew that and I still remember that sad day.

I asked them if I could just take a peek at how the house looked and they said yes.

Each space and room reminded me of the memories shared. Then I asked them if I could buy the house, and they said they were actually considering selling it. As I walked to where your bed used to be, I could not help but shed a tear as I remembered yesteryear. It was the same place that was left empty, where I sat when you said goodbye. It was the same place we stayed in a few years later after you had taken flight.

I remember the difficult times spent in that house after you had gone. I remember asking myself what would have happened if you had not moved on. Why did you have to leave? I had so much to ask you? Why is life so cruel, taking you away from me at such a young age? I’m so glad I got a chance to meet you, speak to you, lay next to you, brush your hair, enjoy curry and rice on a Sunday, feel your love and laughter until God called you home.

You were my one and only Ma from Hardepeer Street. Once you had left, it never felt the same. An empty room, an empty house with a mother gone. How could we go on? But we had too. We moved on with broken hearts. I have missed you since that day and have shed a tear for you along the way: locally and internationally. I still kept you close to my heart. You were my piece of gold that God took away from me and left me cold.

How different life would have been if you were near. All the games we used to play, like monopoly, we would still be playing. I would be able to confide in you with my innermost secrets and stayed by you when I had arguments with my parents. I would be able to run to you like I did when I was little and you would take me into your arms with a smile. With you I felt safe!

Now I carry your smile and memory in my heart but at times it gets quite difficult to carry on. The calls we had, the time you taught me my ABCs, the time Uncle Leonard passed away and how sad you were that your first born had gone on. The chats we had about that Indian film. The night I brushed your golden hair filled with magical love.

I awoke to find you gone. You had moved on. You left too soon and never warned me. All I remember is daddy saying, “Your granny has passed away.” I didn’t know what that meant at the age of ten. I asked what they meant.

Then he said, “Ma Paulse has died.”

It was such a shock. I was in disbelief until I saw you laying there, pale faced. Your smile was gone. I kissed your forehead. It was so cold and then I waved you goodbye. When they carried you out the front door and away from the church I never knew that I would never see you again. I never knew that this was actually true, that my ma has left to a better place; that her pain was gone.

And so every year nearer to Christmas time, all I can remember is that beautiful smile. All I can remember is you smiling as I leapt straight into your arms. How you loved me until the day that you had gone. You never burdened us with your problems. All I remember is a conversation you and daddy had. How you were sick in hospital and that it felt like it was your last day. Little did I know how true that words would be a few months later.

Nobody told me what you had been through, neither did you. But I wish you could be here today so that I could take care of you and you would stay in my place. I remember two years ago after praying for you the whole day, you came to me in a dream. All I remember is your beautiful smile, your golden hair and red lips. I woke up and cried. The next morning I had another dream of you. I remembered a few lines in red splashing in my mind.

“It had to be this way,” was what the message said.

I don’t know if that was you or God, all I remember was that I cried again and told a few friends in a group chat and they tried to encourage me. I remember speaking to a former teacher and she questioned if it was God or you saying that. I remember her telling me that I must go to a hospital and that I was sick. Sick? Why sick? Sick for mourning a loved one? Maybe she was sick.

Because the bond that I had with my gran was stronger than the bond I had with anyone in this world. I was the apple of her eye. She was the angel in my heart, closer to me than my own mom and yet she was my mom’s mom. I just felt different around her. She was relaxed. Not like my mom who was so strict. My ma was the sweetest person I had ever known. It’s the same feeling my mom has towards her grandchildren. They adore her and she adores them. That’s how I felt over my gran.

Some people can move on easily and others cannot. Plain and simple. I thought to myself not to share such personal information with people if they can’t understand where you are coming from. But ever since that I have had peace, though sad, I have had peace. I just miss you every Christmas but I see you around that time when you visit me in my dreams. I am just so grateful to have had the opportunity to have met you and I know I will see you again and I can’t wait for that day!

I miss you ma. The pain is so deep and I will never be complete!


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