It was early morning two days after my birthday, the feeling of an uncertain future lurked in the shadows on my bedroom wall. I lay there trying not to let the shadows close in on me.

My phone rang. When I answered I didn’t recognise the voice.

“Good morning, am I speaking to Phumelele?” a polite voice asked.

“Yes, that’s me,” I replied.

“Phumelele, you’re speaking to Sister Xulu from Stanger hospital.”

I felt the walls of my chest collapsing as this was the call I didn’t want to receive.

“Phumelele, I called to let you know your mum has passed away.”

I remember not feeling empty, no, I felt numb, all sense of emotion left my body.

“Sisi are you okay?” she asked

“Yes ma’am, I am okay. Thank you for letting me know.”

The whole room was spinning like a merry-go-round of shadows painting my walls grey or was it black?

I got up and went to the bathroom. I saw the reflection of my teary eyes in the bathroom mirror.

The day I had dreaded had landed. What was I going to do? Every thought was in slow motion. I gasped for air. I prayed. The prayers ended up as screams of rage at the ceiling hoping it would teleport me into heaven.

I had closed my ears to the thought of her not making it through. I didn’t pay attention to what doctors had to say. I was raised believing in the power of prayer and supernatural phenomena. I recited famous bible verses of healing. Yet, here I was. The reality sunk in. I had to collect my thoughts.

The days leading up to her funeral were a blur. The day of the funeral was a blur, except for that moment where I had to address the congregation.

I felt a strange sense of liberation in the verse in Job: “Uyongivivinya ngiphume ngiyigolide”.