“TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS…”
Oh, so often, maybe just a little too often, we are told to number our days. I never really knew the meaning of those words which are echoed so often in church, from the pulpit to the pious saints on a very sunny Sunday morning mass. Though I never considered myself to be endowed with the holy ghost that older folks rant so zealously about, I later came to appreciate those words to not just be simply nomenclature.
It was the middle of December, a period where mankind can engage in gluttony, drunkenness, pass of a few old clothes to the poor in celebration in the supposed birth month of Jesus. I was at her house. Grandma Dorothy sat there on the veranda telling us grandchildren of the impending coming of God despite us being too occupied with a trail of ants to even consider the significant weighting of such biblical claims or fallacies.
As our young and naïve minds wondered as children often do when adults talk lengthily about adult stuff, we did not hear the first chorus of her hoarse, husky, and frightening coughs. The final notes that would signal the end to a life. It wasn’t that Grandma Dorothy was sick — her time burnt skin with visible veins mapping her time ravaged mass showed no signs of ending life — a missed note.
So when we saw our dear Grandma falling from her rocking chair — thud! to the ground, we knew something was wrong. It was just too late for anything to be done. Still, we shook her and called her to wake up to finish her story. Of course, we did as children often take long to accept the limitations of reality. Still she laid helplessly there; no humming of ‘Rock of Ages’, no sign of breathing, no fiddle of her crooked fingers that often chastised us for being ‘an idle hand of the devil’.
As time slowed to show its respect to a woman who was time, we mourned — little children, big adults, close friends and pious church members. In subsequent weeks later we had to the laborious and painful task of making arrangements. A task that deepened our nostalgia and shared memories, a gentle reminder that it would be hard to forget her because though she is not really here, she hasn’t really gone. Her spirit still rests in the old rocking chair that never ceases to rock and give way to the weight placed on it, the unlabelled brightly colours jars of aged spices which we are too scared to use, the couch upon which many a prayer was prayed for our souls.
Her time dark skin with visible veins mapping her time ravaged mass showed no signs of ending life — a missed note.
Though it has been 15 years since she died I remember her. I am not sure she would be proud of my non-religious self though I have tried to get salvation — relentlessly. Sigh! As my mother becomes a Grandmother I see a reincarnation of Grandma Dorothy every time I visit the country during the Christmas holidays — she too has become a hoarder, deeply religious, hymn hummer and highly judgemental.
I am no longer young as I would want to be, my days still have not been accounted for — but can anyone account for 365 days? When you have, let me know.
*This is a fictional story.