My entire world changed, days before my eighth birthday.
The years of pain and stress had taken its toll on my guardian angel. I awoke one morning to find her out of sorts. Something major was happening to her health. The last I remember of this time was trying to talk to her, but she had gone deaf. I watched her intently as she sat in front of her dressing table getting ready to go to the doctor. Little did I know that this would be the last time my guardian angel would be with me.
My mother suffered a stroke, and was left paralysed the whole left side of her body. She could barely speak. Visiting her in the hospital was so painful for me. To see my mother, my guardian angel lying in a hospital bed unable to do very much for herself, this was torture for me. A nightmare that no matter how hard I tried pinching myself could not get me out of it. The one person that I relied on for everything in my life was lying in this high, white, clinical hospital bed, detached from what was my reality. How could this be? Is this what life is all about? Is this normal? How do I continue with my life without my guardian angel? All these questions I had but no one to ask about them. I just had to be silent and accept the life around me and try to be normal.
I would be left at the hospital particularly on the weekends for 5 – 6 hours each day. What was I to do? On the outside I would obey and sit with my mother, trying as best I can as an 8 year old to communicate with her and lift her spirits hoping that tomorrow everything will be ok. I would brush her hair, file and paint her long nails but that didn’t take up much time. After that I would feel lost again, not knowing what is expected of me. Not knowing what I am supposed to be doing. Not knowing how I am supposed to feel. I wanted to be with my mother, but this was not her. To me her soul was in so much pain that she decided to move on to another realm. She had endured too much, and my guardian angel had to leave me to find peace.
This went on for many months and I could not tell the world around me how much it pained me to sit at my mother’s bedside with her in the condition she was. I had to be the dutiful child, trying to understand the circumstances. With what little I could understand about relationships at that time, I knew that my mother needed me near. But deep down in my heart I was already grieving; I had already lost my mother.
In amongst all of this I was of course still going to school, but no one would be able to understand that I was not an 8 year old in the same world with my peers. I didn’t come to school on a Monday morning with exciting weekend news. My siblings were all in their own worlds dealing with their own anguish and trying to find a way to move on with their lives. My guardian angel was who kept our entire family together as a unit. As different as we all were she knew all our needs and what was necessary in maintaining some kind of bond between us. Without her presence that glue was gone. I watched as if a fly on the wall how fights ensued between my siblings, our voice of reason was gone, and everyone seemed to be drifting further and further apart. My older sister being the only other girl child was forced to take the ‘motherly’ role in our household. But she too was young, at 18 years old, finding her place in society, trying to find love, trying to find her purpose. I believe this burden was more than she could bear. I had hopes of turning to her as my role model, turning to her for care and support and love. Lest I forget, I was the despised spoilt brat and the rift was already so big between us.