My phupho, my dad’s sister, passed away this morning. She had suffered with ill health for the majority of her life and if there is anything positive at all to take away from this, it is that she is no longer in pain. But she leaves behind two children, aged only 21 and 17 whose lives have been turned upside down in a heartbeat.
She was one of the most gentlest women I have ever known. She was never physically strong but she was a fierce mother.
We found out yesterday that she had been taken to the hospital and that things were looking bad. However this had happened several times before and we all prayed that she’d get through it again. But everyone’s body has a limit and she reached hers.
My family is stricken; the grief in my house is palpable. Today has just been a blur of tears, tissues and phonecalls, so many phonecalls. My dad is the rock of our house who always keeps a level head and he’s just broken. I can’t even look him in the eye; it hurts me to see him like this. My mum has been alternating between stories of my phupho and heavy choking sobs. And me. All I keep hearing in my head is her voice saying ‘Aliya beti (child)’ the way she used to. I find some comfort in tears but then a little while later someone says something and the grief hits me again like a tidal wave.
The only thing I pray for this New Year is that my phupho rest in peace and that God gives the rest of us strength.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon
“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”