Today I decided to buy a bouquet of flowers for my mother. It isn’t her birthday, that is over four months away, neither is it Mother’s day but since the year began I have wanted to do this, except I keep procrastinating..waiting for when I ‘have money.’ Turns out, it shall never be enough so I decided to just go ahead.
Ironically, this is not even about her but the events leading up to this post have a connection.
I saw a flower about two weeks ago as Bob( the florist) made an arrangement for my friend.It caught my eye and I decided it shall be among my favourites. I saw it again last week when I asked for it to be included in Hermione’s flower selection after she gave birth to her beautiful baby Kyle but it only occurred to me to ask what it is called today.
The name? Well, gerbera daisy it is. They come in different colours as you can see and come from the family of sunflowers( I thought they looked a lot like sunflowers so I asked Monsieur Google and he said ‘duh!’..but for me I still patted myself on the back anyway:)
This flower reminded me of a special person in my life. It isn’t unintentional that I mention mum because I would never have met this friend without her..and she has been there for my family in ways that can’t be put to words even by the greatest of poets(T.S.Elliot, Shakespeare, John Keats and your friends,I mean no disrespect:p)
I have known her for over six years now and I am sure that even if life separated us by distance, she would still forever hold a special place in my heart. She is my pretty flower.
For years, my mother has had to suffer from one ailment after another ranging from a back problem that culminated into an operation to remove discs a.k.a discectomy, high blood pressure, arthritis and most recently antiphosholipid syndrome, a condition that took away almost 90% of her sight.
Through all this pain, weakness, medication and every other predicament that comes with ill health, this pretty flower was right by her side. When none of the children were home or dad was at work, this daisy remained. Patient.supportive.present.
It was quite difficult because after the operation mum could not bend to do anything. Pick a remote, carry a basin, hug a little child. All those things we take for granted. She couldn’t.
I watched often in agony but almost always, she had that Daisy to hold her hand.
My grandfather got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but it was caught late. From the first day he came home to live with us, before we even knew that he would have uncontrolled bowel movement or that he would need to be spoon fed like a child, my sunflower was there. She nursed him, followed him when he disappeared from home and generally watched over him while somehow managing to do all the other household chores. Mum and I often sat down to just talk about our admiration for her.
Eventually, we got a gentleman to help with ‘Papa’ as we fondly called him. She still remained with us up till his demise,uncomplaining.caring.loving.
One Sunday that has remained engraved on my mind for almost two years has been replaying in my mind lately. Mum and I went to Church as we usually do. She likes to sit at the front and I am usually at least 4 rows from the front. This time, she went ahead of me as always and I took my usual seat. However, when she got there, all the seats were occupied. She turned around and I started to beckon so she would notice me as I still had unoccupied space next to me.
It took her several seconds to notice me but she finally did. The mass ended and we went home.Nothing extraordinary there.
Later that evening, my sunflower quietly told me what mum had said. ” Today I failed to see my own daughter when she was right in front of me, what other things shall I miss when I become completely blind.” I walked away quietly. I wept for the most part of that night.
Thoughts of her not seeing my siblings and I at our weddings or not being able to recognise her beautiful grand daughter’s eyes, tripping on a stair case all tormented me.. I did the only thing I could. I prayed.
I had my frequent bouts with sickness too, from migraine attacks to tummy complications. She took care of me, made sure I ate and smiled with me back to good health.
Notice I am mentioning our lowest of times? Well, they aren’t the only ones. She has been there through the good ones too.
She cooks a mean feast and has been responsible for the constant guests that come home. Okay, I lie. We have been responsible for those but her hospitality and culinary skills definitely play a part in keeping their smiles on.
She always has a meal ready and will sweep one up promptly for those impromptu house calls. No matter how exhausted she is, it does not reflect on her attitude. Why or why doesn’t she give a course on customer care to all this country’s receptionists..sorry erm I meant ‘front desk managers’,hairdressers, shop attendants, etc.
Everyone who visits and stays at our home is compelled to leave her with a present because she is just that lovable and as a result her closet is quite impressive with labels many people, including myself have never owned..and yet all she says is “Esther abantu nga banjagala, katonda mulungi” ( Loosely translated-Esther people really do love me, God is good)
Speaking of God, she recently became more staunch in her belief for God and wakes up at about 3a.m daily to pray. Sometimes she wakes me up and I mumble some gibberish as I bargain with sleep. She doesn’t have much of an Education but reads her English Bible and even quotes scriptures sometimes. Such is the power of this awesome man we have for a father. *high five*
I often speak to her for long hours as she tells me her dreams and I complain about my work load or reminisce about time spent with the kids. We talk about everything.
I loathe soap operas and it gets worse when they are translated but I sit and watch them with her, often chipping in when ‘Maria Clara’ pisses me off. That is what true love is about, no?:p
This sunflower left to start her own business a year ago and we were very proud of her. It was one of those bittersweet moments;We knew we wanted her to stay but were elated that she was taking a step towards independence.It didn’t work out as planned and when she told mum this, the natural choice was to welcome her back home with open arms.
It is a decision we shall not regret,that I am sure of.
So today, I sat here thinking about her and how when she first came home she was simply a maid but now I find it difficult to refer to her using the word. She is my friend, she is my family and now my sunflower, gerbera daisy to be exact.
Her name is Monica by the way..and she is amazing:)