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Opinions Sun, 26 Jun 2016

International Widows Day: Celebrating my mother, the widow who never gave up.

By Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng

When we got to Koforidua from Ahafo Kenyasi with the plan of going to visit Dad at Hospital, we entered the family house and rushed to the room where they said Mum was sleeping.

I woke her up and asked her we should go to the Hospital and see the Dad; I hurriedly asked her the next question every naïve 11 and half year old boy would’ve asked; Maa, people are saying Dad is dead is it true? Squatting by her on the mat, she responded without opening her eyes and gave us the answer that has never been erased from my mind.

Mum said, “If he’s dead, God will take care of us waii”! Paa Kwesi my young brother who was 8 years then, rushed in and told me he just saw Dad’s picture on the wall, I went out and it has been taken off. That was Dad’s funeral poster.

My young mother started the painful journey of widowhood just like that, after the cold hands of death snatched a 38year old promising gentleman from his young wife and three vulnerable kids.

I was 11, Paa Kwesi was 8 and Lawrencia was just 1 and half.

Promises made by some family members and family friends to take good care of us are yet to be honoured after 16 years of Dad’s heavenly choir journey.

Mum started hawking iodated salt from community to community. She forced us to join her on weekends and on vacations because that was the only way we could survive. I added selling of iced water and Kerosene to my duties to pay our school fees.

Mum made sure we never stayed out of school even if when we owed school fees, she will either go to the school and beg for more days or tell us to concoct a story that will make the Accountant have mercy on us.

Those were the days when mum will cook rice at 4pm and tell us to wait till 6pm before we take the food for the fear of we eating early and getting hungry before bed time. There was nothing we could do done to wait in anger.

One thing Mum never did was to go begging not even from her Church for our fees or daily bread but God really provided just as she said when Dad passed away. Paa Kwesi had to be taken off the private school we all attended to a public school because Mum couldn’t afford his Junior High school fees in a private school.

My heroine, as I called her, had to sell most of her precious cloth for me and my brother to enter Senior High school! She came back crying that, people bought the clothes at ridiculous prices but she had no option.

She added the sale of Corn and Cassava dough to the Salt business all ina bid to help make life comfortable.

One morning, during my Senior High school days, I went to her room for my transportation to school, not knowing she was sobbing uncontrollably; she told me what she had was only half of my transportation and that I’m not going to get pocket money too! I took the money and walked from home to pick a trotro to school and how I survived that day only God knows.

Request from some Relatives and family friends who wanted us to stay with them were turned down by her because she didn’t want to burden them with our problems.

Mrs. Cecilia Owusu a.k.a Sister Nana Yaa have been very instrumental in all the departments of our lives.

Whenever it’s Father’s Day, I celebrate some great men who have turned my life around but always wish my Heroine a ‘Father’s Day’ too because she has carried more than her shoulders could carry as a woman.

She has done her best and God through Angels on earth is also doing the rest.

She has seen it all in life and whenever we meet we recollect some of our difficult days, we laugh and glorify God. I have dared never to let Mum suffer and what I pray for her is long life with good health.

Join me celebrate my first love, and the Yaa Asantewaa who never gave up on us when the war of poverty and neglect came staring.

Mrs. Cecilia Owusu a.k.a Sister Nana Yaa of Obuasi Nkamprom, I, Paa Kwesi and Lawrencia will forever love and pamper you.

I salute all other widows world wide.

The writer can be contacted on agyenfra43@gmail.com.

Columnist: Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemfra