“It’s a lie; I know it’s a lie! He can’t die, he is too kind hearted to leave, too young to ascend to heaven, and he hasn’t even started pursuing his dreams. No! It’s a lie!” as I yell frantically to no one in particular.

I remembered how my grandmother passed away in her hospital bed while my father held her hand for the last time; when she mumbled something to him and his face carried too much melancholy that I left the room. I don’t know what she said to my father but she said something. I was certain to cry from the image of a son standing by his mother’s death bed holding her hand gently as she slowly loosened her grip from life and slipped into eternity. I wanted to hug my father and tell him that there was no better time than now and that she had held her breath for him, she had waited to bid him farewell before she departed but I was too young to say that to my father, I didn’t want to see him cry.

I was at peace with her leaving nonetheless; she had come to bid me farewell in my sleep on the morning of her passing, but I never spoke about it. I remember her clearly in her old age, standing at the edge of my bed; she stared at me in my sleep for a while before she raised her hand and told me she was about to leave. I didn’t cry that day, I had known about her departure before my family knew, my heart was at peace because she had said her goodbyes to me. Although, I was shocked at how she knew how to find me, how she knew it was me? She had been blind for most of our lives so that gesture was miraculous, that was when I began to believe in the impossible.

Her passing to me was rest, I only cried when her casket was lowered down into the soil on the day of her burial. When the priest said, “Mmu mmung”

I felt as though my heart was torn apart and a piece of myself was brutally broken from me and the pain was unexplainable and destructing; I tried hard to hold back the tears, I really did but they came running out like a tap that had been left opened during water cuts in a dry garden - I wept. I wanted to fall to my knees and curse the soil for taking her from us, I wanted to open up a portal to the spirit world and ask the departed why they summoned her into their universe. I wanted to open the casket and hug her one last time. For that moment I forgot that her passing to me was her resting peacefully finally. The final image I had of her was the ground opening up to receive her and the thought of never being able to touch her hand was devastating.

*This is an extract from Psych Ward Blues by Hazel Fasaha Tobo.