My dad was recently in our home for 10 days and on his last day he gave me money to go and buy a clock. He had noticed we didn’t have one although there was a nail that looked like one hung there previously – indeed we had one which had accidentally gone down when someone pulled the curtain without paying attention. When I tried to talk him out of it, he insisted the memories will remain forever and that’s what mattered to him.
He had equally been trying his best to ‘spoil’ the boys and I was almost getting on my nerves too lol. I now get it, it’s not every other month he sees them. Indeed, this is the first Christmas ever we are all spending together; and the second vacation they are spending together in 12 years (my second son is 12 and so you can guess they had never spent any time together – he only saw my son as a baby, and had never met the 9 years old oh Lord).
So, I got the clock and will move it some other place and further up. I will cherish that memory too.
That’s equally how, my friend in Brussels decided to immortalize my passage in his life by paying for a car plate with the initials of the special name I called him. I called him my super super hero aka SSH. He did that in 2016 but I am just sharing it now because the memories came back as I thought of Dad.
And so dear all, I wish to inspire+motivate us all to think about the memories we are making and leaving in each other’s life.
Hello world, this past week was a difficult one for me with anxiety rearing such an ugly head again zut…but good I had a plan and then hmm some natural remedy on the dreaded day made me relax near 360°.
On friday I travelled for my late cousin’s corps removal from the mortuary and wake keep (and his demise had simply left me numb to this whole life v death thing). I had arranged with another cousin who has a studio in the same city to shoot my brief video for my mental health coaching services.
The video shoot went so well and he has promised to do the ‘mixing and all’ this coming week so that I get the final video before the week runs out. Am glad the mortuary was at 2 pm and we finished by noon. When I got to the house and all were getting ready to leave for the mortuary, there issue of who was to stay behind and receive mourners came up – of course I quickly offered to do so (sparing myself some very emotional stimulation – I recall colapsing when I saw my brother’s corpse);
I was introduced later in the evening to a mourner and she asked me if she could give me a hug. She was looking at me like she couldn’t believe I was the one standing infront of her. She said: “Oh Marie Abanga you are so strong, your write ups have been helping me so much, I really am so grateful” and all that while hugging me hugely. I sure needed and appreciated that huge hug. I told her she was also stronger now that she could read all I write and feel that for herself. All she needed do was find a way to show and share her own strength. Guess her name people? Favour;
I spent the night at one of my adopted daughter’s and in the morning I realized I didn’t bring rubbing oil with me. Buea the mountain city is very cold for one like me (with rhumatoid arthritis) and so I always stay wrapped up and look forward to putting so much oil on me. I was therefore full of glee when she told me she only had vaseline. I mean only? That stuff keeps you warm and glowing I don’t care about the smell, price or whatever. I haven’t used vaseline since returning to Cameroon because Douala where I live is really warm and I have ‘palm kernel ‘ oil (even more cheaper and foul smelling than vaseline lol – but keeps warm and makes glow) for when I travel to Buea. That vaseline made me remember my Belgium era because of course out there I used only vaseline in abundance. I was so grateful to use vaseline again;
On my way back I stopped at Limbe to check on my cousin (yes I have so so many cousins lol) who lost his dad. He was also my class mate in secondary school so I had rallied some batch mates to visit him together yesterday morning. Well, his phone had a problem and although we gathered as planned, we couldn’t get to him to know where exactly he was. The others left after an hour and I stayed at their down beach residence to read and enjoy some breeze. Just before leaving, I decided to try one last time and bam – he picked up (had just gotten a new battery he said). We sat and shared much gist for 2 good hours – I had never spent as much time with him – just the two of us and oh my how much soul sharing we did.
All in all, I am having a cool weekend thanks to the above memories and the joy of being alive. I wish us all many memories like these which make life lovely amidst any head and heartaches.
Have a calm sunday
p.s: currently reading a book called Love Life Walk by Steve Fugate and I mean I can’t do that book any justice. If you haven’t heard about him, maybe you could listen to this recent podcast of his?
I have looked at several of her childhood and teenage photos and not been able to find even half a dozen where she smiles…
Was it some unwritten photography rules of the era or just her life as it was then? Nothing worth smiling into the camera for? …
Ah indeed a picture they say conveys a thousand words… I stumbled on this one today and it dates 8 June 1990… O had just turned 11 years that January… That picture was my school portrait… It is when I wrote the common entrance examination into secondary school…no comment about what was happening at home back then – inside me …
I marvel at the laxitude with which I smile today. Could smiles really have been so hard to come by then?
To all those therefore not able to smile today, know it will and can come to pass…
I am very grateful I can smile now so much and feel it and love it and love me so…
The above was taken yesterday on my way out to the Startup Grind Douala launch… I had fun, networked and all… Smiling when coming from within is the best thing can happen I hold…
Grief can make, mould or mare you… Take it from it I have experienced grief and its various effects… Obviously to different extents but … a recent Grief ( Ulla’s passing )propelled me to rush right back to my e-family via our communication outlet par excellence: our blogs or vlogs …
Am Back… I can’t say if it’s gonna be any consistent, but I know for sure Am happy to be back… I didn’t leave altogether, I stayed around reading some of my favorite blogs… But I just realise writing is part of the deal and going by the number of followers I had when I last checked, others sure like reading some of my posts… writing has equally been so so therapeutic for me, I really can’t leave it alone…
Another Grief, one of the most poignant next to the loss of my own daughter, is on another note making me currently… I never knew two years ago I’ll get to this point of smiling when I think of my brother… I think it’s because He Lives on in Me
Am using his phone since Thursday
When he died in August 2014, I wanted so badly to inherit lots from the little he left. I was living in Belgium then, and couldn’t take back lots of his clothes or few house utensils you know… The clothes weren’t going to fit anyway, although I did resize a few and cared less wearing his big snickers… But, I so wanted his mobile phone ans I pleaded with mum then to no avail…Her own Grief was so raw I left it at that
Today, I am finally in possession of one of my priciest legacy from my brother, second only to the memories we shared of things we thought, said and did together…
I sincerely am grateful to mum for giving me my brother’s phone which was successfully unblocked and charged up after two years of non use… I have lots of him physically in my home like most of his house utensils and even beddings… And some clothes… And now the very phone he was using – and sure that on which we last spoke two days to his passing on… his call log was still there oh my …
And you gentle readers and followers, what are some of your priciest legacies from your departed ones?
That uppermost apartment was where we lived with our mum at the time. I remember vividly the day I packed my brother and I up and got our dad to drop us off there. I was bigger and bolder by then and had had enough of living with him and his wife of a typical ‘stepmother attitude’. Only my cunningness had saved us so far. I knew we were not going back there again, and although we never discussed that, I guess dad knew or never cared by then anyway.
That apartment was 2 bedrooms and oh we were a typical African family in there. Mum, kids, aunty, cousins and all. There was so much love, joy and fun until one fateful night!
This was our oga Landlord’s church. It’s actually next gate to ours, and opposite our balcony at the same time. Imagine the noise and action and even people you saw or who saw you! One of such people was a wayward son of his who probably escaped any exorcist powers his dad may have claimed to had.
I knew he was up to no good, and I hated the way he and his friends looked at me when I walked the street. Neither were their sounds any funny. One fateful Tuesday night, while I was in another city with my elder sister, that guy and his gang broke into our apartment at around 2 am. They even had women in their gang. They turned the house upside down and stole even food. The women tried Mum’s clothes and hats, taking whatever they wanted. It was raining cats and dogs and needless to call any police!
It was then that this guy started asking for me. He said he wanted to teach me a lesson. My dear brother who thought he could man up to this guy, stood up but immediately got a slap which sent him sleeping for several more hours into the next day.
When they left, mum knew we just had to leave that neighbourhood.
I also remember our Nigerian neighbours below with whom we had formed a family. They had lost their dad in that same apartment. All in all, it became a haunted street, and even our favourite cafeteria below, couldn’t take me back there for a long time to come!
So on my return home last month, I went back there to face it and purge it all out of me.
I have admired portraits, and I have visited Art Galleries and Museums especially since moving to Belgium. I have wondered in awe what the artists seek to represent and pass on through their work.
I get to have my own Portrait too
I didn’t think of asking my dear Pammy for a Portrait given the shape she was in. Indeed, yesterday, here is an excerpt of a mail she sent me: “I am not feeling that great so maybe one visit would be fine”. Well, I didn’t see the mail before going there at 1 pm, not that I was going to visit her only once on my last visiting day right? When I saw her, she was actually already soso and was instead concerned that I looked sad. She thought I would be happy with a portrait. I agreed to sit for one, hoping it carried her away to that ‘magic artistic world’. Em, I didn’t know sitting still wasn’t fun 🙂 At some point, Pammy had to use pens and colours to get my attention. Well, end result is the precious portrait above. My first ever, from none other but my sweet Pammy, from a hospital, in whatever condition they are kept in there!!! Isn’t it simply gorgeous? I wonder if am really that sweet and peaceful looking 🙂 Anyway, I visited Pammy twice yesterday and she was doing much better by the time we gave ourselves ‘air hugs’ before I left at 8 pm with my portrait 🙂
Other priceless pics from Bratt (short for the town right?)
This was on Thursday, on my way to visit Pammy. I missed her in the apartment, and decided to wear her clothes. I wasn’t sure how she’ll react to that, and I didn’t call her before coming because it would have taken some gymnastics to get her response (she still can’t speak). But oh, Pammy was so happy and asked me to keep the clothes. Indeed, she invited me to take all I wanted from her closet – em that’s not feasible nor kind of me if I do so right? 🙂
Pammy had been taken away in a haste, and even before then she was no longer in a position to “tidy up” anywhere. And that was over a month ago. Her first concern was how I was going to cope in there. Fortunately, I have had a small cleaning agency before and I love cleaning up. I mean, I once wrote a post about how I became a professional cleaner. I was satisfied with all I did in the apartment, and Pammy and others were glad too. Really, the pleasure is mine…
The Area girl in me again right? So I push for a night out (well up to 11.55 pm) with Pammy’s awesome neighbour. It was wonderful. Just the kind of pub I was looking forward to. The bartender cum owner, just knew everyone, and even knew someone (a Kenyan ) who knows lots about Cameroon. The female football team had just beat the Chinese in the ongoing female world cup tournament, and she thought those girls meant biz 🙂 As for the Kenyan who had to show up at 11 pm, well am sure the BMT (Black Man Time) bee stung him again and he was back in hospital 🙂
Dear gentle readers and followers, I am just so so grateful to Pam. I really really wish her so so much. Oh, if wishes were horses… I’ll be galloping all the time…
mum, author, mental health advocate, therapist, inspires & motivates with personal experiences