Friday, October 8, 2010
For my late Mama Harriet (Hattie)
October is a special month to me. One thing that comes to mind during this month is BREAST.
October is a sad month too! I lost my mother to breast cancer in September, 2005 a month before this one which goes out to those that lost their lives to breast cancer, those that continue surviving with it and to create awareness to those that have not taken the step to get tested.
I have mourned and continue to mourn the loss of my mother, the only parent I knew, one that stood by me no matter what, one who denied herself so many things to see the people around her smile. One who represented the stigma faced by single mothers in society who were and still are looked at as whores, husband snatchers and all! One who quietly screamed out the problems violence and marital rape experienced by married women. Losing the ‘best mother in the world’ was not something I looked forward to, at 24!
She was a gentle but firm soul that brought warring families and communities together. She brought us up in a way no parent would. She introduced important subject such as sex and cunt to me while I was a very little girl. She told me to find out what my cunt looked like, she told me all about condoms and men. I never had reason to experiment with men because the 'best teacher in the world' had taught me! She is the reason I have come this far.
She was the voice of strength that resonated within very dark corners of our village, the community. She was a heart where many found solace. She had the right words to say at the very right time they were required! She was a strict parent who found balance in friendliness and standing firm by her word. Punishment befell any of us that went contrary to the required. She did this in a re-affirming way and none of us had reason to develop hatred or feel discriminated.
Mama Harriet is a name that is constantly mentioned in Meru Central District by those she dearly loved..her neighbors…friends of friends…patients…families…enemies!
Watching mama slowly fade away, sponging her face and body every morning of everyday of her life in hospital, watching her fight so hard to stay alive…fight for life…fight to keep breathing and see us through school were memories that I will take to my grave!
Walking on the streets of Nairobi, seeing images of mama ahead of me and hurrying to meet them has become a comfort that she is not really gone…just walking beside, before, above and below me…watching over me…speaking to me! Inspiring me…
The best way I could mourn my Mama’s loss is to remind us to get tested. The fact that you do not engage in sex with men does not mean that you are out of trouble Woman. Most of us smoke, that is one other potential risk, let us go for those pap smear tests. Let us DIY (do it yourself) at home. We will be glad we did it! I love you guys!
Rest in Peace Mama!
Your daughter K8