I’m well aware today is a busy day and the kasapooley (talkative) in me promises to make it snappy. I am standing very close to you Mama, and it’s like you can’t see me like that (but I understand). Lemme cut to the chase.
Where do I even start? Honestly, today’s post won’t have a proper structure but let’s see how it goes. I initially wanted to write an ode but all the praise-worthy words in my vocabulary have failed me.
In the beginning
I’ve known you to be diabetic for close to a decade and I never understood why. The ignorant me couldn’t understand how your sugar-free lifestyle landed you here. Sh*t happens; scrap it-Life happens.
Because of the condition, I saw you frequent Tema General Hospital for treatment. At a point, we had to save space for your injection needles and insulin bottles in the refrigerator. Lest I forget, the name Dr Tsikata was always on your lips. When I’m free later this year, I guess I need to visit him.
First visit to Tema General Hospital
In June 2016, I had the first panic attack of my life (pardon my alarmist behaviour) when Araba and I woke up one Saturday morning to find you almost lifeless on your bed.
Mummy, that day it “overed” me (I don’t know the English translation for that phrase). Please use heaven’s WiFi to read how I captured the scene from Tema New Town to General Hospital’s OPD. Promise me you won’t laugh plenty. Lol. This is the link.
Subsequent visits to Tema General Hospital
Making trips and getting admitted at General (how you preferred to call the hospital) wasn’t news at all. Abnormal levels (low or high) of sugar (glucose) in the blood and insufficient production of insulin were a frequent sight.
But your very last admission to General was a peculiar one. I saw pain I had never seen or experienced before. The rest of the story is history.
Seeing you today
Seeing you today, resting peacefully and looking extra beautiful makes me so calm. Some of us can’t grieve; but it’s not because we’re wizards or too hard-hearted to show emotions (I’ll share more about that another time).
I bear no grudges against people who saw you sick for hours and ignored giving you medical attention; I can’t even litigate against a crop of nurses somewhere in Ghana whose negligence occasionally led to complications.
My young mind registered every single pain; the restless moments, the unconsciousness and your silent mumblings to your maker. Lemme end it there before I evoke tears from the Daughters of Eve in my entire family line
So, I am happy for you my sweet lady and very much at peace.
My sisters too have “some shout-outs”
A story is told of a merchant who got buyers from far and near congregating at her small stall to buy her wares; many also stood in the queue to take a cue; her magic formula was simply service. That merchant spoken about happens to be our mother, the same one whose remains are before us now.
I once told my cronies a story about how you taught us many business lessons we could never have learnt in any business school. Let me explain. As a shop keeper, you understood the principle of making minimal profits and selling volumes within the shortest possible time. That lesson, I later learnt, was called economies of scale but mummy had demonstrated that to us long ago.
You were a mother and a friend to all, a compassionate businesswoman, devout Christian, highly reserved and an easy-going person. Ama Bea, you lived the bulk of your days attending to clients while humming to gospel tunes that played on the radio. Your love for radio is a discussion for another day.
You exemplified the expression “Blessed are the peacemakers”, “Blessed are the meek” and “Blessed are the pure in heart” in all your dealings. It comes as no surprise that you managed your shop for over 37 years and never had a misunderstanding with any of your clients and neighbours in Abonkor, the Tema New Town suburb where you lived and plied your trade.
Mama, the health care practitioner
We are reminded of the many healthy choices you adopted thanks to your constant listenership to Oheneba Nti Beremah. Here and now, I can hear your soft-spoken voice churning out pure Fante phrases like ‘otiden’, to wit, ‘how do you do’; ‘edzidzi a’, have you eaten? or ‘Oheneba says don’t eat this’.
We all recall the joy on your face when your last born, Araba got married last December and saw a similar glow when your granddaughter, Efe Agyapomaa Forson was outdoored in January 2020. Looking back, those memories will forever warm our hearts and spark smiles on our faces.
Clearly, we know the journey won’t be easy but we trust the good lord and the upbringing you and our father gave us, to keep us going. We are confident that any global stage our talent and good deeds will take us, all three of us standing here will be a testament that you lived a fulfilled life and it rubbed off on us.
Auntie Bea, as you were affectionately called, local enterprise and/or the business landscape in Tema New Town won’t be the same without you. Church and family won’t be the same without you. And we, your children and your close associates won’t be healed of this void in a long while.
Thank you, Mama, for your friendship. Thank you ‘Kabiyesi’ for making sure we had the best education and lacked nothing that was within your means to provide; we can’t stress that point enough -; thank you our beautiful mother.
John 5:28-29 says “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who do good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practised vile things to a resurrection of judgement.”
Till we meet again Ama Bea, da yie ena pa.
Dear Mama, I lied when I said this was going to be my last letter to you. Please look forward to many more pen moments; for I am willing and able to share my triumphs, travels, nostalgia and all the gist here on earth.
Please keep your phone always charged and connected to the wifi in Heaven.
Your Only Son,
Paa Kwesi Forson