Roses aren’t always red
And neither is the world picture perfect
I wish she knew then
What I now know
Life as we expect; can be likened to the various colors of roses. Radiant, pleasant, rich and without any ugly disorder. Just like red roses, the classical but unfailing expression of intense appreciation and feelings towards a loved one. It naturally makes the recipient feel loved, perfect and most importantly, beautiful. White roses, the distinct depiction of innocence, charm and an exquisite declaration of new beginnings in weddings.
Unfortunately, life isn’t always as fragrant, colourful or as charming as roses. Certainly, it is as delicate as it’s petals but hardly prepares you for the next season. You hope for the best but plan towards the worst. However you tend to plan when you have a glimpse of what might or could happen. Isn’t it?
You see, my childhood was anything but a magnificent white mansion sited in a highbrow location in Lagos. It was simply basic but fused with laughter, mischief, discipline and the expected scrutiny from my beloved mother. At that point, my world was like a pretty rose garden. Tender, consistently cared for and frequently groomed by the sturdy hands of the woman who nursed me for as long as it was needed, my mum.
But at the impressionable age of 17, the vibrant colours began to fade when mummy took ill. I returned from boarding school and noticed she no longer looked the same. She was pale and often; very tearful. She spent more time than usual in the bathroom, leaving it with a strong smell of antiseptic. As expected, I was confused and asked my dad what was wrong with her but he couldn’t bring himself to tell me the truth. He probably felt I wouldn’t understand and hoped she would get better.
One morning, after my mum had taken time to have her unusually long bath, I made up my mind because I needed answers. Were my parents getting a divorce? Did my mum catch my dad cheating on her or did something terrible happen to my siblings? I had just concluded my final exams so happened to be the only child at home. For some bizarre reason, the bedroom door was ajar so I slowly pushed it and stepped into my mother’s bedroom. I can never forget what I saw!
My mother was crying as she dabbed what was left of her blood clot and dangling right nipple. The breast was inflamed and looked sorely bruised. I didn’t know what to think or say but I could tell she was in pain. It was obvious she was very ill and needed urgent medical attention. I asked if she had seen a doctor but she said no. I was shocked and asked why and her answer still remains as vivid as the very day we had this conversation. She said her sisters advised she would die if the infected breast was cut off. She said my father had pleaded with her to see a doctor but she refused and preferred to wait on God.
That was my mum for you, quite stubborn and always had the final say. She blatantly refused to see a doctor and insisted on attending healing sessions at a peculiar church in Ikorodu, Lagos. Subsequently the cancer spread to other parts of her body and a clear indication that a miracle hadn’t manifested. After much persistence and a drastic deterioration in her condition, she was flown to England where she received treatment but it was too late.
The cancer had done grave damage and left my dearest mum paralysed from waist downwards. My parents returned home and tried to put up a brave face but I could tell the sunshine had disappeared and very unlikely to return. Weeks later, she passed away. Leaving my dad to painstakingly assume the role of both parents, an extremely strenuous responsibility and almost impossible to execute. My sister selflessly took the bull by the horns and became our mother while my dad continued to do his very best as a single parent. No manual but just God’s grace.
I on the other hand, took on the role as the cook and cleaner of the home and what a culinary disaster! The soups and stews were always half cooked with pieces of beef that were more of a tedious chore than a delight to chew. I simply didn’t know where to start and who to turn to. My dad was patient and never complained, I was no cook but still his child.
Twenty two years on and I had to do the needful even though I was exceptionally fearful. It was a day I wished would never come but it did. My first mammogram and wasn’t sure if it would be the last. During my most recent visit to the doctor’s, I was advised to have an annual check up based on my family history. The only consolation in my troubled mind was that I wouldn’t be the only anxious individual in the waiting lounge. The old, young, athletic or even fervent christian women might be waiting to know their fate.
As I was asked to come in for my examination, I prayed to return home the same way I left but at the same time I still needed to consider the worst. If something unusual was detected, what would be my next move? How much time would I have left? Should I tell my father? I was asking myself questions but not getting any answers so I summoned up a little bit of courage and listened to instructions from the technologist.
(Sighing with relief) Soon it was all over and I was in the clear. I wasn’t exactly ecstatic but very thankful because I still had time to do the most important and relevant things in life. To live and spend time lovingly with God, myself, family and every other necessity. Life is getting shorter by the minute and sometimes brought to an abrupt end for those who are no longer here.
I never got to say goodbye but memories of you; remain striking, deep and softly sculptured as the velvety petals of a beautiful rose.
Roses aren’t always red
And neither is life picture perfect
I wish ‘mummy’ knew
What I now know.
Culled from http://woman.ng/