Despair was very present. Mom just lay there – helpless. “Should we call in our resident priest sir?” said the nurse with what looked like pity in her eyes. “Who does this nurse think she is? Why does she allow pity creep through her soul, when she is just a mere witness to life’s unfair treatment?” my thoughts in acrobatic furry. “I live in a country awash with deities and not a single one lends me its ear? If Nana Nyame will not respond, will Asaase Yaa let my mother rot in her bosom?” I felt a tear run down my cheek. “What is this? Where are you from?” In a state of madness, I asked my wet fingers. Seemingly staring at what looked to be my body’s response to the tragedy that lay before me – grated and shook, Mama was slipping into the abyss.
“Could you please point me to your chapel” I asked the nurse in the calmest voice I could muster. The chapel was tiny. Very tiny but looked very potent. A single candle was lit in front of the altar. The room felt heavy. A hollow room it was, yet full of presence. The nurse left me to my will and as soon as I heard the door shut, sorrow welcomed me. A tsunami of emotions: fear and tears waved me to the ground. Desperation surfed on both heels. It presented itself in a set of careless whispers.
“You told me you will be there for me. You told me You never fail. You told me you love me. Or should I say loved? I know I am not perfect. But today, Your perfect creation lies on her death bed in this hospital gasping for life. Why are You taking away Your Angel from me? Why not me – the bruised one? Now who will guide and comfort me? She has served You diligently and You repay her like this? How is this fair? How are You being fair right now? Have You been lying to her… to us this whole time?” the tears felt like hot water on my cheeks. My head had developed a pulse of its own. It ached as much as my heart did.
I heard the door of the chapel open. It was the cleaning lady on her usual morning rounds. “Are you ok sir?” she asked in the calmest voice. “I can come back later. I don’t mind” she sounded apologetic. “Yes I am fine, thank you” I said in my croakiest voice. “Please proceed with whatever you have to do.” I wiped away the tears. “Do you think God loves us all like they say?” I asked solemnly as she wiped down the huge cross behind the candle at the altar. With a look of shock and as if I had spoken of heathenish things, the cleaning lady in a very reprimanding voice… “Sir, no matter what is bothering you, just know that your ways are not His ways. Sometimes, He takes us through the toughest of situations to prepare us for the battles ahead. In every battle there is collateral damage. But don’t let that let you lose your faith. Believe in His master plan and He will show you His steadfast love. Love he shares equally among us all.” The cleaning lady continued to clean. She broke into hymn. I guess she figured that would calm me. But her clichés did nothing for me. “Then why is He taking her away?” I asked, whimpering. This time staring her dead in her eyes. With a smile on her face “Sometimes, God recalls his Angels back to heaven because their work here on earth is done. It doesn’t mean the devil won’t use that opportunity to test your faith. That one is a testy one. And he will make sure he uses all means available to him to make every Angel’s departure from earth very hard for them and their family. A cunn…”
The nurse rushed in, instantly interrupting us. “Sir, you need to come with me” she said, this time not with pity in her eyes, but a certain blankness that made my heart sink. I followed her solemnly and with fear pulsing through my blood; my heart, a thumbing mess. Over my mother’s bed stood the priest they spoke of, the resident doctor and a bible clutched to mother’s heart. “We are sorry, but we tried everything we could. We did our best.” The doctor said, in his best version of what sincerity was. That didn’t stop my body from quaking. A resounding shake of anger possessed me. Tears flowed, words bellowed, I was on the floor. Uncontrollable, inconsolable, my rock was diminished – my mother was dead. Her heart had failed her. Faith had failed her.
Where is my silver lining?
I woke up from my dream saying this. Sweating bullets – my pillow taking each hit. I looked over my shoulder, and there she lay, her drip still in place. Mom was breathing fine. Her bible was open by her side. A huge sigh of relief. My sigh transpired into a whisper. A repetition… “Dear God, where is my silver lining…?”