I was only eight years old when my gramps summoned me in the living room way past my bedtime for a little chat. Why am I making this a really big deal? My pops was a military man. Theoretically that is, since he wasn’t marching or leading any battalions out to war and most definitely didn’t have medals of prior combats. No. My grandpa was cut off from a totally different fabric of power and might. He had a stature that greatly commanded respect within the first few seconds of meeting him. A gait worthy of accompanying any leader in inspection of a guard of honor. A voice that bellowed and resonated across a room, you definitely couldn’t miss it nor afford the luxury of not paying any attention to him while he spoke. He was a perfectionist at best. Never missed a chance of reminding us that he had to sweat blood, wine and water to get to where he was and have all he had. Yes, my old man was a lover of fine things. Now back to my story…
I was shaking with trepidation as to what I might have done or worse yet not done. There was no telling as to what lay ahead of me and I was walking blindly into it. My grandfather loathed fear, cowardice and every other synonym one could come up with but on that fateful night I reeked of all that and some little ounces of urine on my pajamas. The elephant in the room wasn’t hard to miss even though back then my punitive brain couldn’t fathom the reality of an actual elephant inside my pops living room. I mean, how in God’s earth would it even get past the front door and my pops bazooka??
You may wonder what I’m doing at his place and not in my parent’s house, yet I haven’t said it was during the holidays. Well, let me highlight some of that for you. Remember the militia description earlier? Our lives had to follow a system and that system had an absolute administrator who called the shots and stakes on the blueprint that was our lives. My grandfather. Yeah, shocker, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He chose the schools we went to, programs on the TV we were allowed to watch and even that was with some bit of supervision. Life in town wasn’t a viable option for him so we schooled in “shags” and only during the holidays did we go to see our parents living in the big cities. Pretty neat huh? Good grades for all of us weren’t optional indicators on our term reports but a must accomplishment so it was up to us get them and even a harder task to maintain them. There was no luxury of pouting in his house. If you wanted that new toy at the book store you had to earn it with months of hard labor pouring in your books. To cut the long story short, because of him we are not stupid morons and liabilities to our parents and country at a large perspective.
Now, keep up with me here. This is my story and his is for another day. Over an expensive bottle of wine, oxford shoes and history books.
Where were we? Yes, the elephant in the room.
It seemed a tad bit odd to me that he just couldn’t look me in the eye when he started talking and I couldn’t comprehend a word he was saying due to fear of my unbeknownst misdeed. I was standing so far from him to avert his piercing eyes or a flying hand connecting with a feeble part of my body that when he offered me a sit next to him, it took me by surprise so much that it took a nudge from behind to get me moving. Stage one complete. I hadn’t broken anything in the house or most of all any of his standing orders.
My grandmother left the room. Mhh…odd these adults just couldn’t look me in the eye.
My pops delved in this long explanation about heaven and love and finding peace finally after a long battle and to me it was all gibberish or (“finding good in every mess” mantra) a good C.R.E lesson. He just seemed not to find the words that I would probably understand. After a long, long struggle with words and actions and too much patting in the back, pops finally passed his message as calmly as he could.
My mama had gotten a new job and the coolest part was that she had gone to a whole other world. Worst part was that I was never going to see her again.
Yeah, that’s how my little brain assimilated the news, which put in black and white would translate to mean that my mum had passed on. That was thirteen years ago and a million questions after. Of course the whys and how’s were there and still are to date but am a big girl now and if there’s one thing mama emphasized loud and hard was that big girls don’t cry. I don’t wear my I-lost-my-mum tee no more so please, refrain from throwing a pity party for me here.
Flash forward to twenty fifteen and death still exists people. As malicious, conniving and cruel as ever. Two years back and it cruelly took my pops too…he had, just like my mum, gotten a better job.
So you probably wondering why write this ten plus years later. Seeking sympathy and affection maybe? I have tried writing this story all my life and for some reason I just couldn’t get the perfect heading for it. I, too, turned out to be a little bit a perfectionist as my pops. I also wasn’t ready to let go and move on. Death had snatched and brutally deprived me of the joys of being a kid to my mum and to her the chance of raising up a little girl into a woman and watch as I conquered the world. The crazy, childish letters that I wrote to her were the only conversations she and I had, a platform that kept her on the loop of things happening in my world, and my active imagination tried to picture her in her new work uniform and what she really did but the dazzling light of heaven made it really hard for me but, oh well, it’s all in my head.
So I wrote this as a way of finally letting her go. Me moving on. This action was triggered by a scene that happened before my eyes. The struggle of breaking news to a little child that her mummy or daddy had accepted to take up a new job and that it meant that they couldn’t see each other as much as either party liked. Guardian angels hovering in the vast expanse of the blue skies looking after their sweet children. Well, some of us can be little devils but you get where am going with this.
Finally, I can now breathe. Smile even. This isn’t just for me but for all those kids like me who have lost a parent(s) or anybody who has lost a loved one. There is no love lost, just the opportunity of taking up a better job. A divine one at best. Our guardian angels.
To my dear mama and to you too pops, you were my faith, hope, trust and a whole lot of magic and pixie dust.


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