Death, Life

Heaven Could Not Wait

Friday 4th September 2015, 08:30 pm. She shuddered and expired. Heaven could not wait.

My eyelids turned lead heavy, my heart hollow and my blood felt like acid. Grandmother was gone.

She had certainly been at death’s door for some months but I was not ready for that moment. Nobody is ever ready for mortality.

My Dana was larger than life. She She was beyond love. She was ahead of her time yet still on time. She had a demure demeanour that lit up a room. She was always wreathed in smiles. She had the most beautiful wrinkles when she smiled, as if her face was the map of her life; her whole face radiated beams of light at just one grin! She was beauty and everything that pertains to it.

Laced with self-consciousness, intuition, veracity, willpower, tenacity, grit and love. A senior citizen and your typical African (great)grand(mother), and as such, had some of the obligatory traits — spontaneous deafness, an unerring ability to stand right in the way and a bat-like sonar system that allows her to shout your name at the top of her lungs when you left one dish undone but stand ten toes down when she herself did that.

She typified love and affection. Authentic love and affection. A birth giver to stars. A magic maker. She had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who would keep her on her toes; a wild ride to places she’d only see on telly. But I saw something striking in her liquid eyes, something that guided me from the moment I met her — her unflappable philosophy that whatever came her way she’d manage. And because she’d manage, we would, too.

Her relationship with God was a very skyward and personal one. She regarded Him as a friend. My own journey has been perhaps convoluted, my image of Divinity has somewhat shifted from that childhood vision (I believe due to my struggle with mood disorder), but the simplicity of those prayers remain! And so does something she told me when I asked her where God lived. She smiled at me very broadly and replied with a laid-back tone but somewhat cogent force, “In your heart.”

In her demise, I learnt that when the sled of death launches on you, when you watch the casket close on your loved one, it somersaults your mind forever. It brashly disrupts your mental, emotional and physical equilibrium. It brazenly reminds you of the frailty and fickleness of existence. Realisation dawns on you how terrible it is to love something that death can touch. I still hear the sound of her laughter under the starry sky in the middle of June, I still see her snow white teeth and her beautiful wrinkly cheeks traced with tiny spider veins, I still find bits and pieces of her in my musings and I still hold random conversations with her in my head 4 years after her passing, religiously. I still reminisce on everything.

I have learnt that there is no sanctuary for death; no respite, no silk cocoon you can wrap yourself to avoid it. Death is life and life is death and therein lies the metamorphoses, for both change and death are inevitable. Death can come fragrant as a dozen roses tied in silk ribbon, or it can slither in on the belly of a snake waiting for the right moment to strike or it can wrap itself around, throttling your breath from you. Death is the cold cup of coffee you never finish as you write your last words.

I think what puts us on edge regarding death no matter how familiar we think we have become, is its finality, surreal because there is no grand finale, no crescendo that can lead up to the moment.

Here’s also to my other Dana, my maternal forebear, woman of statuesque beauty, exquisite strength, precision, courage and love. She was as alpha as they come. Strict, advocative and now peaceful and free as a dove. She gained her heavenly wings earlier on that February.

Death should die too.

Standard
Life, Mental Health

DARLING

Listen baby girl, you are beyond stunning. Do you hear me?

You have always been the girl that lets life happen to her. The girl that rides the rollercoaster of Bipolar Disorder without a seatbelt on. The girl that fights back the sting in her eyes when least expected to pull herself together. The girl that is almost painstakingly adept at keeping her cool in the wake of the turbulence that is circular insanity.

Today, in retrospect, looking back on some of your blog posts and I am absolutely gobsmacked at some of your posts. Equally inspired and revamped because you found people on the same wavelength as you. One thing is still vivid though: the skeleton that spooks you every time you open the closet. The black dog. The brain fog. The pain in the brain. OG depression. The slayer of beautiful souls. The throttling monster. The barbed arrow right through the heart.

You have hugged your knees, cried for hours until the tears dried and the throat hurt. Until you got a stuffy nose. You have sat on the floor of your room, sulking, yet in daze at the stormy situation that compounded you.

It’s a pity that even as you write this, you keep glancing over your shoulder because you know the black dog might be back sooner than later, but you tread on because you feel compelled to get this out.

But I’m glad that you are learning to dance in the torrential downpour. Like a phoenix, you are starting to learn how to emerge from the ashes to start a new life. I have seen you plummet to the state of despair and depress. I’m happy that you still have the key even when the black dog steals your self esteem, debilitates you (often to the point that you have no oomph and no motivation) and wraps it in chains.

You still believe in grit, resilience, tenacity and strength and resolve of character. You are fully aware of the inherent beauty in the promise of the life ahead of you. You choose to be a prisoner of hope. You understand that depression did not break you, it broke you open. You know that you are not here inspite of the challenges, you are here because of the challenges. You know that “we must all meet our moment of truth in this thing called life. Nobody is invincible; no plan is foolproof.” You are unstoppable, not because you have failures or insecurities or doubts but because you soldier on despite them. You still know, in the grand scheme of things, you are blessed despite the speed bumps along your journey. A journey that sometimes seems to be guided by a broken compass. A road to redemption that sometimes seems to have no GPS.

You understand that depression teaches you empathy and suicidal ideations teach you to appreciate each moment you almost didn’t have. You are slaying a demon that can’t be seen —feels like you have been through a fight but you have no punches, kicks or head butts to show for it yet you feel painful aches.

You have felt the paroxysm of pain. You have learnt that it doesn’t get better; you only get stronger. You know that you are in it for the long haul; maybe until you find your yellow brick road to healing. You must keep feigning strength until it’s inked in your bones.

You would rather be a burning passion than a perfectly put together coward.

Your glitchy mind and patchwork heart are worthy. And so are your sharp edges and missing parts.

Chase your calling, sis.

Standard
Death, Mental Health

GOD BLESS THE DEAD

Today.

In memory of our angel baby, my nephew, born sleeping. He was the most ethereal of them all; perfect even in death. It just dawned on me how I hoped and prayed he would not just be our rainbow baby but my birthday twin or at least my zodiac twin. I’m eternally grateful he actually turned out to be my zodiac twin. My little sag baby.

Also in memory of our other angel baby, my beautiful niece, born sleeping too, a year ago. She was the most dainty baby I ever laid eyes on. Born endowed with a headful of black curls and perfect caramel skin. So graceful in her deep sleep!

And also in memory of our yet another angel baby, also perfect on so many levels because God does not make mistakes. Our guardian angel, the baby we carried but never met.

In memory of our angel babies. In memory of all the babies we carried but never met. In memory of all the babies we held but could not bring home. In memory of all the babies we brought home but did not stay. In memory of all the little angels too perfect for this tainted earth.

God bless the dead.

Standard