Once upon a time on a hot Summer’s day, Samkelo and her mother were in Durban for the December holidays. Samkelo was so happy because she had never been to other province besides Mpumalanga where she lived. Samkelo was so excited about their trip; they were planning to stay two weeks in Durban. This would be quality mother and daughter time and Samkelo could hardly wait, she truly felt like the luckiest girl on the planet.
Everything went fine until one morning as they were running on the seashore of the Durban beaches, playing with Frisbees, her mother suddenly collapsed.
“Mama! Yini, Mama!” screamed Samkelo, hysterically. Two men came by and carried her to their hotel room. Samkelo was terrified. “Mama, what is wrong? Must I call an ambulance?” asked Samkelo, hopelessly.
“No, I am fine my baby but we need to cut short our trip and go back home,” answered her mother.
“But, why then Mama?” asked Samkelo with concern and confusion in her eyes. “Please don’t worry my child. I will explain everything when we get home.”
The next morning they took a bus to Mpumalanga. Samkelo was disappointed, but just looking at her mother she could see something was wrong and she kept wondering what it was. When they got home they found lots of people waiting for them. Samkelo was shocked by the warm way they welcomed her and her mom, embracing them with hugs. Then there were those who were found crying, this really worried Samkelo now more than ever.
Samkelo was sent to visit Sis Precious, a family friend, for the day. She went without any questioning and later that day she found her uncles and her granny whispering in the kitchen. She stood next to the fridge and listened in and what she heard nearly put her heart to stop. Apparently they were discussing that it was time to tell her that her mother was not her biological mother and the worst part was that she was busy dying of cancer. They were not sure who would tell her.
“Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me anything. I heard all the lies you said about my mother. She is my mother and she is not dying.” She said in tears and in absolute denial.
“But Samkelo, it’s true. Your biological mother died when you were only two months old,” her granny said, trying to reason with her. But after hearing that she stormed out of the room and ran until she could not run any further, until she could no longer feel her own feet.
“Why, God? Why did it have to be me?” She kept on asking herself that same question. “Take me instead of her please take me!” she begged, as if God was right there before her, she pleaded. But then she went back home and went to her mother’s room.
“Mama, please tell me it was all lies. Please tell me that you’re not really dying.” Samkelo said the moment she saw her mother.
“My child, comforting you with lies will not help but hurting you with the truth will help you and you will heal with time,” said her mother, looking much thinner every second. Her eyes were swollen, the colour of her skin was purplish, the colour of death. Samkelo stared at her in shock “Please, come sit next to me my child. I want you to hold my hand.”
Samkelo came closer and held her mother’s hand.
“I love you a lot. God did not bless me with kids but when you came into my life I felt whole again. The space of not having kids vanished because I knew that God had given me a chance to be a mother for you. Please take care of yourself and all my estate for I left everything with you.” Her mother cried.
“But Mama, why are you speaking like this now, you are not dead?” Samkelo asked with teary eyes.
“Go fetch me some water and tell granny to come this side,”
She quickly called her granny and then ran back to the kitchen to get the water. Please be OK, please be OK, Mama please just be OK, she prayed to herself as she walked into the room.
“I’m sorry my child…” without her granny having to finish her sentence, she already knew her mother had died in that split second.
Life continued and Samkelo was strong for her mother as she would have wanted. She finished school and took care of her grandmother as the days went by.