Oh mother’s day…The Joy and sorrow it Brings me!

It was on a bright Monday morning, dad calls me asking if I’m still going to see mom in Nairobi Hospital. I respond in the affirmative. He tells me rather nonchalantly, that he would prefer if I visited in the morning, then he would drop me off to wherever I was going. No problem on this end plus I’m saving bus fare, right? I shower and then ask my sister if she wants to come with me. What I receive is a deathly stare which makes me flee the house immediately. My sister doesn’t like being around people when she is going through any challenge. That is unlike I who derives energy from other people. Therefore, if I walk into the bar stressed out, be assured I’ll be healed by 12:30 am, official healing hours. Quick bar rules here; anything said or done after 1: am, is pretty much like shooting yourself in the foot.

Anyway, I convince my friend Joan to come along with me, letting her know that something doesn’t sit well with me. We get there and it is business as usual; sick people, crying children, snobbish nurses, then there is ICU. The chamber of death! That’s where mom is I’m told. Long story short is, this was not going to be an ordinary Monday for me, and not even the gorgeous sunny Nairobi sky would make it better. Doctor ‘can’t-remember-his-name’, calls us to his office saying mom is pretty much brain dead and it’s up to us to decide whether to pull the plug or not. I’m just sitting there thinking well, whatever my dad says I’m cool. It turns out I have a say too. I have to also decide if …. Longest minute of my life. We walk to mom’s room, and there she is on the bed, still, eyes taped shut . “It’s time”, doc says. Three loud puffs from the machine as it’s turned off and mom is no more.

Fast forward to mother’s day 2017 , that was a few weeks ago. The children are excited. They hovered around my bed, patiently waiting to hand me a card. With help from their dad, they made me breakfast and were doing everything they could to make the day special for me. I really didn’t want to wake up and deal with the so called ‘one special day for mom’. So what are the other days? ‘Let’s-make-hell-for-mom’ days? Folks, I hate mother’s day. I get easily agitated , anxious, stressed out to the point where I normally cry in the shower and shut everyone else out. It’s my worst day of the year, Halloween comes in second. I really can’t help it; I get depressed and just want the day to disappear, erased, never to return in this lifetime or the next. When I get on Facebook, lovely messages and memes about adorable mothers are splashed all over. People take selfies with their moms, messages reading “where would I be without this woman?” urgh!

After a little soul searching in the bathroom (yes, I think best when I’m taking a shower)I discover that mother’s day isn’t the problem. It is my fear of dying when the kids are still young. Who would love them like I do? I bet I’m not the only mother that worries. Google tells me that there are hundreds if not thousands of mothers with similar fears. It’s normal apparently. I have been in denial, filled with grief and probably jealous this whole time. As a result of all these things, I linked my fear to mother’s day instead of facing the root cause of the problem.

I get sad and anxious when I think of how difficult and lonely it was having to grow up without a loving and caring mom. I am really close to the children, spending quite a bit of time together seeing as I’m a full time mommy. Be it cooking, eating, talking, playing, arguing… I love it. My worry is, who will take good care of them like I do if not better? Will they be able to express themselves freely and report any abuses?

This is my first piece on medium.com. I want my first article to be personal, real, heartfelt, and from deep within. I want to introduce myself to the world albeit not giving too much but being deep and connecting with others. Here is my story, maybe you might uncover the genesis of this fear.

My Biological mother died when I was about two and a half years old. My father whom at this point had to juggle a banking career while raising three girls below the age of nine, only remarried when he felt we were old enough to understand the complexities of step parenting and also report any real or imagined abuses. It was and still is relatively common for step parents to abuse children and get away with it.

This great man waited for roughly 10 years before remarrying a wonderful woman who also happened to be a banker.Mom was a woman who oozed positivism when she spoke. Nothing was too challenging for her, she taught me that it was okay to fail sometimes. Encouraged me to ask when I was in doubt. “Always ask, let them say no! At least you asked and now you know”. That was my mom, my step-mom. This was also one of her favorite phrases, “so called ‘average kids’ are always the best!”. My report card always said average or below average. Well, sadly, that was her in the ICU on that fateful Monday. She died in 2008 and now here I am with children whom she never got to meet.

These babies have taught me how to love unconditionally. I have realized that life must go on in spite of whatever challenges it throws at you. With or without a mom, I must be the best mom I can ever be. Who knows when I will die? Only God knows. One thing is for sure, my children will remember how much I loved them. I got obsessed in my own grief without realizing that people have lost children, spouses, fathers… way more than I have lost. I pray for everyone who grieves. It is not easy dealing with any loss. The journey however must continue.

I now make sure that I eat healthier, play with the kids more often and take walks in the evenings. I try to appreciate the time I spend with them, instead of dwelling in the past and bringing up the sorrow attached to it.